NBC News — Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin thursday accused the U.S. of encouraging protests over Russia's recent parliamentary election. Putin said foreign countries were spending money to influence political activities inside the country. The Prime Minister made his comments during a meeting with All-Russian people's front members in Moscow.
They were Putin's first public remarks about demonstrations over allegations that sunday's election was slanted in favor of the ruling United Russia Party. Putin said Secretary of State Hillary Clinton encouraged Kremlin opponents by criticizing the vote and called on law enforcement authorities to deal with the protests. Putin, Russia's current Prime Minister, is running for president in upcoming elections after an eight year presidency from 2000 to 2008.