Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin accused the United States on Thursday of instigating the demonstrations that have roiled the country after flawed parliamentary elections last Sunday. Putin’s ruling party, United Russia, received 49.54 per cent of the vote in the election, enough to preserve its majority of seats in the lower house, but far below previous results. The vote was also mired in fraud allegations. After thousands of people took to the streets in protest, U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton expressed “well-founded” concerns about the conduct of the voting process. Putin retorted by saying that Clinton’s comments amounted to a signal that set the tone for more opposition.