Russia’s two major opposition parties to unite?
"I am convinced that in the near future the two parties will merge on a social democratic basis," Sergey Mironov said in an interview with the Itogi weekly magazine on Monday.
The politician added that Communist party leader Gennady Ziuganov is not in the mood to negotiate the merger yet. However, the party’s rank-and-file and medium level functionaries favor the idea, according to Mironov.
Despite Mironov’s reasoning, some experts believe that the merger is unlikely.
“It is difficult to see the two coming together unless the Communists were quite desperate,” Tim Wall, editor in chief of the Moscow News newspaper told RT.
“I think that currently, with the economic situation being difficult, the Communists are actually getting quite involved in protests against job losses, cut backs – this kind of thing. They probably feel that the wind is in their sails a little bit and they are going to gain popularity,” he added.
In his interview in the magazine, Mironov also speculated that in the future the ruling United Russia party might undergo structural changes.
"I suppose that after 2011 (not earlier), when the Duma will have been elected for five years, the process of United Russia's split-up may begin with the end effect of two or three new parties emerging in its place." He added that his party ideology is most close to the 'social wing’ of United Russia.
Although at the party level Russia's political landscape can seem one-sided now, a unified leftist bloc could be the first step towards a two party political system such as in the US.