Following the dreadful murder earlier this year of Boris Nemtsov, two opposition parties in Russia have agreed to unite ahead of parliamentary elections in 2016.
RPR-PARNAS, the party founded by Mr Nemtsov and an ALDE Party member party since October 2008, will join forces with the Party of Progress, led by activist and blogger Alexei Navalny.
In a statement issued on 17 April, they called on the public and civic forces "to consolidate on a common platform of rejection of lies, corruption and aggression, suppression of economic and civil liberties and for building a democratic state in our country."
Mikhail Kasyanov, co-chairman of RPR-PARNAS and a former Prime Minister of Russia, said the parties would form an alliance rather than merge. "We expect that our movement will continue and other opposition parties will join us," he said. They would begin by running together in regional elections due to be held in 2015 before the full parliamentary elections due in 2016.
YABLOKO, another ALDE Party member party in Russia, reacted positively to the news although it will not join this alliance.
Speaking to “Interfax” on Friday, YABLOKO leader Sergei Mitrokhin said: “I have a benevolent attitude. It’s their decision. We wish them success.” He noted that there wouldn’t be such a party in Russia which could unite all the democratic opposition forces, saying: “It’s impossible. Very different people call themselves democrats. Democracy is too general a term and is quite attractive in order that someone could try to hide behind it. We support political hygiene.”