With just six months to go before parliamentary elections in Russia concerns about the state of democracy in the country and the freedom of opposition groups to campaign are being voiced again.
On Wednesday night US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said she was “disappointed” by the Russian Justice Ministry’s refusal to register the Party of People’s Freedom, one of whose leaders is Boris Nemtsov:
“The thing is that the regime is deadly afraid of the opposition. During the years of Vladimir Putin’s rule no opposition party was registered, on the contrary, dozens of parties were banned.
They authorities have actually made a major political mistake. Now the country and the world knows that our elections are nothing but a farce,” he said, speaking on Echo of Moscow radio.
While Nemtsov was a prime minister under Boris Yeltsin, another PPF leader, Mikhail Kasyanov, was one of Putin’s former prime ministers. They have said they will not appeal against the decision as they consider it “pointless”, adding it is “impossible to work with this regime within the bounds of the law.”