The Russian Justice Ministry has formally restored registration of the liberal Republican Party of Russia, allowing it to participate in elections, the ministry said in a statement on Thursday.
The party, currently headed by opposition politician Vladimir Ryzhkov, was created in 1990 and banned by the Supreme Court in 2007 as part of the Kremlin’s broad campaign to weed out Russia’s political party scene, which then numbered dozens of entries.
The Republicans persevered unofficially, joining in 2010 the Parnas group, another unregistered party that became the main vehicle for the country’s anti-Kremlin liberals.
However, in January, the party successfully appealed its ban in the Supreme Court, whose decision to restore official registration of the Republicans – a prerequisite for participation in any elections nationwide – was now formally carried out by the Justice Ministry.
The Republicans will decide on Saturday on the day of their next congress, party official Vladimir Romanov said.
The restoration of the Republicans comes hot on the heels of a broad reform to liberalize political legislation, introduced by the Kremlin in the wake of this winter’s mass street protests and expected to usher in dozens of new political parties.
There are only eight parties in Russia at the moment, including the Republicans, but 171 more have applied for registration with the Justice Ministry as of last week, according to the ministry’s website.