Mixed fortunes this week for Russia’s political opposition. Eduard Limonov’s Other Russia was refused registration as a political party by the Justice Ministry, denying it the chance to participate in the 2011 parliamentary elections as planned (no raised eyebrows there). Meanwhile Boris Nemtsov, it seems, has been exculpated of resisting arrest at the last Strategy 31 rally (which won him 15 days in prison) by a special commission, headed by Novaya Gazeta Editor-in-Chief Dmitri Muratov, who resigned from Moscow City council in response to the New Year protest crackdown. Whether this will have any impact whatsoever on the authorities’ take on opposition activism is an entirely different matter. The Washington Post takes a closer look at the indefatigable Kremlin foe’s post-jail plans:
Out of jail, Nemtsov is pushing ahead, organizing a new People’s Freedom Party with democratic allies Vladimir Ryzhkov, Mikhail Kasyanov and Vladimir Milov, and planning to nominate a presidential candidate this spring.
There is little chance they can get the party registered, and they will not appear on television screens. “I don’t see any political future for him or for them, at least for now,” said Klyamkin. “I cannot see how they can get into the elections.”
Nemtsov emerged defiant. “The main goal was to destroy my character andthe will to continue my opposition,” he said in an interview, “but theyfailed.”
Nemtsov says they will use the Internet to get their message out and crisscross the country distributing one million copies of what he calls modern samizdat, a pamphlet outlining the ways that Putin is destroying the country.
Nemtsov said the West should forget polite talk and pursue sanctions, not against Russia but against its corrupt circles of officials. The United States, he said, should drop Cold War era measures like the Jackson-Vanik amendment that imposes trade sanctions. “That only provokes anti-American feeling,” he said.
Instead, he said, Congress should adopt a Support Russian Democracy Act, listing the officials responsible for human rights violations, freezing their assets and banning them from entering the country.
Read the entire article here.