ROAR: Liberals “more successful” in uniting than left-wing opposition

The prospects of the attempt of some left-wing parties to create “the Russian Opposition” are being questioned by analysts and participants of the group themselves.

The new organization could involve parties not represented in parliament, including the Other Russia movement led by writer and politician Eduard Limonov, the Left Front and Russian United Labor Front (ROT Front) headed by Sergey Udaltsov and Mikhail Delyagin’s Rodina: Common Sense.

These parties have not been registered by the Russian Justice Ministry and the participants of the possible coalition are expected to issue a statement regarding regular denials of registration.

Limonov on Wednesday urged all opposition parties, including liberal democratic organizations, to unite into a new coalition. “The mass media are mistaken when writing about a certain coalition of left-wing parties,” he told Interfax.

The new group is being planned as a free union of opposition parties, including democratically-oriented parties,” he said.

Last week, four right-wing parties formed a coalition that will try to take part in the next parliamentary and presidential elections.

Analysts and media are skeptical about the prospects of the two coalitions, as in the past many opposition leaders have not been able to form effective unions.

This time, the “left-wing comrades lack accord” again, Novye Izvestia daily said. The meeting of the opposition leaders actually took place on Tuesday, Delyagin, head of Rodina (Motherland), told the paper. But he added that no decisions were taken regarding the creation of the coalition.

The discussion concerned “exclusively joint actions as a response to the denial of ROT Front’s registration,” he told the paper.

“There was a conversation about information support for ROT front which is being denied registration illegally,” Delyagin said. “After that, someone suggested creating the left opposition following the liberals’ example.”

The idea has to be discussed in all organizations separately, the politician said. However, after two hours reports emerged about the creation of the coalition, he noted, explaining it by the “inadequate reaction” of some participants of the meeting.

“I think it is impossible to speak about any coalition after such events,” he said. “It is also impossible to imagine a coalition with other left forces as they simply do not exist in the country.”

Rodina will refrain from concluding a political union with the left flank of the opposition, the organization’s press service said. It also stressed that during the meeting on September 21, leaders of the parties postponed decisions regarding the possible creation of such coalition for an indefinite period. Both Delyagin and Udaltsov insisted on the need to discuss the issue with “wide party masses,” the press service said.

Udaltsov is one of the organizers of unauthorized rallies called “Day of Wrath”, staged in front of the Moscow Mayor’s Office on Tverskaya Square to protest against the city government’s policies.

He also takes part in the rallies held on Triumfalnaya Square in the framework of Limonov’s opposition strategy. Both “formats” of actions are routinely banned by the authorities and their participants are dispersed by police.

However, Udaltsov told reporters on Thursday that the Moscow City Court has ruled that the rally held on March 20 was illegally banned by the Moscow government.

“This decision seems to be interesting enough in the context of the present conflict of the Kremlin with Moscow’s Mayor Yury Luzhkov,” website said. During the “Day of Wrath” rallies, opposition activists demand resignation of the mayor. The last demonstration was held on August 12.

Meanwhile, Udaltsov and his supporters protested against the mayor on Thursday, picketing the building of the Prosecutor General’s Office. The action “passed without detentions,” Udaltsov told reporters, calling it “the telling moment.”

At the same time, analysts doubt that opposition groups will be successful in joint actions. Their attempts to unite evidence that the political process has stepped up, said Mark Urnov, Dean of the Faculty of Applied Political Studies at the Higher School of Economics.

But their chances are unclear, Urnov told Interfax. It is easier for opposition activists to unite in left-wing and right-wing groups, he said, adding that they “cannot exist in one party.” But he said the two parties even if formed are unlikely to be registered, and “they will remain opposition outside the political system.”

Sergey Borisov,
Russian Opinion and Analysis Review, RT