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United Russia team flies to Kaliningrad after huge protest rally

© RIA NovostiThe Kaliningrad standoff
The Kaliningrad standoff - Sputnik International
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Members of the ruling United Russia party led by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin are in Russia's Baltic exclave of Kaliningrad to discuss the reasons for a recent massive anti-government demonstration.

Members of the ruling United Russia party led by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin are in Russia's Baltic exclave of Kaliningrad to discuss the reasons for a recent massive anti-government demonstration.

The rally was initially planned as protest against transport tax and utility hikes in Russia's western exclave, but grew into a more general large-scale anti-government protest involving opposition parties.

Police say 6,000 people attended the rally, while organizers put the figure at 10,000. A number of the demonstrators called for Putin to step down, while others held banners saying "United Russia - united against Russians."

"MPs have arrived in the westernmost part of Russia to see the situation on the ground," a party statement said, adding that the delegation, led by United Russia senior official Sergei Neverov, would hold talks with local authorities.

The Kommersant business daily said several local administration officials faced dismissal for underestimating the scale of the rally. Local parliamentary speaker Sergei Bulychev was among those who could be affected, the paper said.

The Kaliningrad standoff coincided with an unusual clash between the United Russia and Sergei Mironov, the head of parliament's upper house and the leader of the A Just Russia party.

Mironov, whose small party has been traditionally loyal to Putin and President Dmitry Medvedev, incurred the wrath of United Russia on Monday when he said in a television interview he did not fully agree with Putin's policies.

Senior United Russia members said they were planning to demand Mironov's resignation.

KALININGRAD, February 4 (RIA Novosti)

 

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