From April 4 2012, it will be easier for new political parties to be registered in Russia, due to a bill passed by President Dmitry Medvedev.
Making the announcement to a gathering of opposition parties not represented in Russia’s parliament, as well as unregistered parties, Medvedev stated he wanted to follow a “modern path” like other countries which made registration requirements minimal.
New parties will only need 500 members, instead of the 40,000 needed before.
At the same time there was bad news for the supporters of jailed anti-Kremlin tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who will not be handed a presidential pardon.
Rejecting an argument from the businessman’s lawyers, Medvedev has decided anyone seeking a pardon must actually ask for clemency and show remorse for their crime.
Khodorkovsky was sentenced to 13 years and six months in prison for oil theft and money laundering – though he has always maintained his innocence.