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Europe

Three Kremlin-Friendly Parties Merge in Russia

Three Kremlin-friendly opposition parties, which failed to win seats in the Russian parliament in 2007 elections, have formed a new liberal party called Just Cause. They have have their eye on the next poll in 2011.

Kremlin

The new party hopes for a stronger chance in the next national election

At the party's inaugural congress on Sunday, Nov. 16, the initiators said the move had been discussed with the Kremlin, according to Moscow radio broadcaster Echo Moskvy.

The party had been formed with the help of the Kremlin, but not by the Russian government, said Leonid Gosman, deputy chairman of the Union of Just Forces (SPS).

The SPS and its two allies, the Democratic Party and the Citizens' Force, disbanded to to form the new union.

Representatives of other Russian opposition parties criticized the move, saying the new party would be too close to the Kremlin.

The agreement to disband did not proceed without conflict. Russia's leading liberal politician Boris Nemtsov as well as Maria Gaidar, daughter of the former Prime Minister Yegor Gaidar, protested the move.

The SPS was co-financed by former oil magnate Mikhail Khodorkovsky until his imprisonment in 2003.

The Democratic Party at its founding in 1990 was the single political alternative to the Communist Party. After the fall of the Soviet Union the party lost most of its support.

The Citizens' Force was founded in 2004 under the name Free Russia.

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