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14 December 2010 

Russian opposition establishes People's Freedom Party

On December 13, the representatives of the Russian opposition established a People's Freedom Party at the Coalition of Democratic Forces Congress "For Russia without Arbitrariness and Corruption".

The new party was formed by a vote of 168 delegates of 51 Russian regions present at the congress.

Boris Nemtsov said that the party platform should be "very simple" and based on four principles – "a profound political reform, democracy, fight against crime, and establishment of European standards of living".

Mikhail Kasyanov said that the main goal of the Party of National Freedom is a democratic change of power in Russia. "Our goal is a turnaround by constitutional means. We must prevent the brewing revolutionary events, the smell of which is already in the air", stressed the politician.

"The 11 December events in the heart of Moscow have shown that the development of the socio-political situation in the country is following a most unfavorable scenario, moving in the direction of Russian revolt, senseless and merciless", says the statement adopted at the congress.

On September 16, 2010, the Coalition of Democratic Forces "For Russia without arbitrariness and corruption", based on the opposition movements Democratic Choice, Solidarity, Russian People's Democratic Union and Republican Party, was formed. The outcast politicians Mikhail Kasyanov, Boris Nemtsov, Vladimir Ryzhkov and Vladimir Milov became its leaders. By secret ballot held on Monday, they were elected co-chairs of the People's Freedom Party.

The congress delegates voted for the program and statute of the new party, and announced the creation of regional offices. In addition, the party's political council, consisting of 12 people, was elected.

The Party plans to file the documents for registration at the Russian Federation Ministry of Justice in mid-April 2011. Under current law, to register a political party at least 45,000 applications for membership in the party should be collected in 50 regions of Russia.

Kasyanov said that in case of refusal to register the political association the opposition "will continue to struggle within the coalition".

"If they do not register us, they will endorse the illegitimacy of both parliamentary and presidential elections", said, in turn, Nemtsov.

Milov, however, expressed confidence that the Justice Ministry would have to register the new party. "We will get registered and we will join the Duma. But if this does not happen, then we will get together to talk again", said the politician at the Congress.

The participants of the democratic coalition noted that in case of the successful outcome of the process of registration of the Party of People's Freedom "they are going to participate in all polls, including the presidential and parliamentary elections and the elections of regional authorities..

A representative of the organizing committee, Elena Dikun, said that the presidential candidate of the People's Freedom Party will be nominated in June 2011, at the congress.

The Co-Chairs of the new party said at the final press conference that they had proposed Mikhail Gorbachev and his unregistered Social Democratic Party of Russia to join them. Gorbachev, according to them, is still considering the proposal.

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