The Republican Party of Russia, founded by the recently assassinated Boris Nemtsov and currently co-chaired by former Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov, revealed the news in a joint statement with the Party of Progress, led by popular blogger and anti-corruption activist Alexei Navalny. They called for all opposition parties to “consolidate on a common platform of a rejection of lies, corruption and aggression,” which have been running rampant during Putin’s presidency. It is the only thing rallying them together, as the parties have little in common otherwise.
While the two parties don’t intend to merge, they will instead create joint lists of candidates and run together in regional elections this year in addition to parliamentary elections in 2016. A third party, Democratic Choice, has already joined their ranks, while other parties, in addition to citizens unaffiliated with any party, who are against the path that Russia is taking, are being strongly encouraged to join the movement.
Both founding parties have been targeted by the Kremlin, albeit indirectly. Putin still maintains that he had nothing to do with Nemtsov’s murder, amid allegations that Zaur Dadayev confessed to the crime as a result of being tortured. Navalny, on the other hand, has twice been convicted with embezzlement, charges that he denies, and has spent time in prison as a result. He is a prominent activist in the country, and is one of Putin’s biggest critics along with his new comrades in the Republican Party.
Many would be forgiven for running away fearful for their lives, but they remain to fight.