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Russia Refuses to Register the Party of People's Freedom

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Russian Ministry of Justice Refuses Registration of PARNAS, the Party of People's Freedom

A new Russian political party, called the Party of People's Freedom, (PARNAS) was formed in December last year, with one of its primary goals being to overcome corruption.

Two movements, Democratic Choice and Solidarnost, the People's Democratic Union, and the Republican Party, an unregistered entity came together to create the new party.

The leaders of the new party are Boris Nemtsov, Vladimir Ryzhkov, Vladimir Milov and Mikhail Kasiyanov.

This week, when they tried to register the party, the Russian Ministry of Justice refused, effectively barring it from legally participating in Russia's upcoming Duma elections.

secretary of state
Secretary Clinton
Photo: State Dept.

Throughout Russia, there have been reports of pressure from authorities, designed to intimidate PARNAS supporters, prompting them to resign positions or disavow their signatures on required lists.

There may have been technical issues with the registration, but on the surface, the decision by the Russian Ministry of Justice appears inconsistent with Russia's international commitments and recent statements by Russian leaders.

US Secretary of State, Rodham Clinton said today "The right to hold free, fair, competitive elections is a universal principle that the Russian Government has repeatedly endorsed."

Secretary Clinton urged the Russian authorities to investigate the reports of irregularities in the PARNAS registration process to ensure that the procedures used to deny registration of the new party were consistent with Russian laws and international standards.

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