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Europe

Kasparov, Kremlin Critics Form Solidarity Movement

Russian opposition politicians and Kremlin critics Garry Kasparov and Boris Nemtsov founded a new political party named Solidarity in Moscow Saturday, Dec. 13.

Kasparov speaking at the founding ceremony

Opposition leader Garry Kasparov said it was impossible to reform the current government

Representatives of various social groups would work together in the new democratic movement, Ekho Moskvy radio reported.

The traditionally splintered Russian opposition has been trying to unite against what it sees as an increasingly authoritarian Kremlin.

Kasparov said he was "very optimistic" about the movement, which is aimed at challenging the government of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. Critics have accused Putin of undermining democracy in Russia.

"It is impossible to reform this regime," Kasparov said. "Our first goal is to dismantle Putin's regime. This is the only way to restore freedom and political competition in the country."

The party, which plans to present its manifesto in the spring, does not have any official status.

More than 300 opposition politicians from 45 regions took part in the meeting to form the party, Russian media reported.

Members of several organizations, citizen movements and parties, including members of the liberal Yabloko Party, were represented at the convention.

"For the first time in Russian history, a true democratic movement which unites thousands of people is being formed here," founding member Vladimir Milov told the gathering. "Solidarity is still far from political success, but should not be underestimated."

After a difficult year of preparation, the movement would expand Russia-wide, Milov added.

Saturday's convention aimed to set out the movement's "basic principles," former world chess champion Kasparov said.

The original Solidarity social movement was started in Poland in 1980 and led strikes in the Gdansk's shipyards that helped peacefully topple the communist regime in Poland.

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