Two liberal opposition parties merge in Russia

Two liberal opposition parties said on Saturday they merged in the wave of recent anti-Kremlin protests.

Updated: Jun 16, 2012, 22:40 PM IST

Moscow: Two liberal opposition parties said on Saturday they merged in the wave of recent anti-Kremlin protests.

Marginalised and fractured after Vladimir Putin`s 12 years in power, Russia`s liberals found themselves estranged from massive rallies that drew tens of thousands of Russians in recent months.

The People`s Freedom Party, also known as Parnas, said today united with Russia`s Republican Party, and said they would push the Kremlin to free political prisoners and hold parliamentary and presidential elections by 2013.
Parnas was formed in 2011 by three opposition leaders, including former Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov and former deputy premier, Boris Nemtsov. The party was barred from recent Parliamentary and presidential elections that ignited the protests. The Republican Party is led by former lawmaker Vladimir Ryzhkov. The party was dissolved on a technicality as part of Kremlin`s crackdown on opposition groups, and has re-registered this year.

Also today, police detained 10 opposition activists who rallied outside the Moscow headquarters of Russia`s top investigative agency, said Alexander Averin, of the banned National Bolshevik party.
They were part of the group of some 100 activist protesting the alleged death threat the top agency official made against investigative journalist from the independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta.

The alleged threat was made after the newspaper accused the agency of failing to punish the perpetrator of a 2010 killing of 12 people, including four children, by a gang in southern Russia.

The agency head has denied he had threatened the reporter.

PTI