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Ryzhkov Quits RPR-Parnas Opposition Party

Published: February 12, 2014 (Issue # 1797)



  • Vladimir Ryzhkov cited RPR-Parnas support for opposition leader Alexei Navalny as one reason for his departure.
    Photo: Jurg Vollmer / Wikimedia Commons

Aleader ofRussias main liberal opposition party, RPR-Parnas, quit over theweekend with agroup ofsenior supporters ina move that some say could be beneficial tothe Kremlin andlead tothe partys dismissal.

Vladimir Ryzhkov handed his membership cancellation letter tothe other two party co-chairmen, Boris Nemtsov andMikhail Kasyanov, ata meeting ofthe partys federal council onFeb. 8, andabout 15 members ofthe political council followed him, media reports said.

Related: Putin Meets With Opposition

Ryzhkovs move came after astandoff with Nemtsov andKasyanov that lasted several months over their reluctance tonegotiate with theKremlin andtheir support ofopposition leader Alexei Navalny, who is known forhis links tonationalists.

Ryzhkov resigned after Nemtsov andKasyanov decided todismiss him as thepartys official representative to the authorities andapply sanctions tonine party members forcriticism ofNemtsovs andKasyanovs vehement opposition tocooperating with authorities.

This was adeclaration ofwar, acrackdown onme andmy supporters, there was no point intolerating it anymore, Ryzhkov told Vedomosti ina story published Feb. 8.

Nemtsov told journalists on Feb. 8 that theKremlin was definitely abeneficiary inthe whole story but said Ryzhkov was not aninstrument inthe hands ofthe authorities fordestroying RPR-Parnas, Kommersant reported.

Nemtsov andKasyanov fear that anumber ofthe partys regional branches may withdraw their membership following Ryzhkovs departure.

An apocalyptic scenario does exist: If too many regional branches leave theparty, we may just as well liquidate it, Nemtsov said.

Kasyanov told journalists onSaturday that theparty cannot hold on to its members byforce.

If someone wants togo after Ryzhkov, they can do it, he said, Interfax reported.

Calls tothe cell phones ofRyzhkov, Nemtsov andKasyanov onSunday went unanswered.

Political analysts onSunday seemed toshrug off thesignificance ofRyzhkovs departure, dismissing Nemtsovs statement that theKremlin might benefit fromthe rift inRPR-Parnas andnoting that thepartys role inpolitics was aminor one.

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