The controversial founder of a pro-Kremlin youth group announced on Monday plans to form his own political party and said he no longer believed Russia's ruling party, United Russia, could improve its tarnished image.
The "Party of Power" will "make Russia a better place for the people of the future to live and work," Vasily Yakemenko said at a downtown Moscow news conference.
Yakemenko is the founder and first leader of the youth movement Nashi, believed to have been set up by the Kremlin in 2005 in response to fears of a Ukraine-style Orange Revolution in Russia, and is close to President Vladimir Putin. He has also been accused by Russian bloggers and journalists of being part of a criminal gang in the 1990s.
Nashi is said to have been behind several high-profile attacks on journalists in recent years, including prominent newspaper reporter Oleg Kashin in 2010, and has also been embroiled in a number of phone and e-mail hacking scandals.
But while he declined to say whether the new party was a "Kremlin project," Yakemenko admitted his latest pet was negotiated with the presidential administration.
"I agreed this political decision with the Kremlin, and I met with support there," he said at the conference broadcast by the state news channel Rossiya 24.
Yakemenko also said he wanted to see both opposition activists and Putin loyalists in the new party, saying the two "desired the same."
The ruling United Russia party, whose December parliamentary election victory triggered the biggest anti-government protests seen in Russia since Soviet times, could not muster support to win the next poll in 2016, he said. Other parliamentary parties also have "nothing to offer to young people," he added.
His party's program, Yakemenko said, will be "up for discussion."
"If people get together, they will decide for themselves who they are."
He also said that former President Dmitry Medvedev's much-vaunted campaign to modernize Russia was a failure.
"During Dmitry Medvedev's presidency, modernization remained but a dream. It was the dream of Dmitry Anatolyevich himself and several of his supprters, but it didn't reflect the interests of the majority."
Medvedev, who shifted to the position of prime minister after standing down on May 7, made modernization and the fight against corruption a cornerstone of his presidency, admitted in early 2011 that his campaign had seen "almost no success," confessing that the skeptics who had predicted he would fail were "absolutely right."