Several people involved in anti-corruption projects launched by blogger and Russian opposition figurehead Alexey Navalny have filed with the Justice Ministry to set up a new political party, Vedomosti daily reported late on Wednesday.
The organizing committee of the new party, named People's Alliance, includes the head of Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Fund, Vladimir Ashurkov; the coordinator of Rosvybory project launched by Navalny to monitor elections in Russia, Georgy Alburov, and independent deputy of Yekaterinburg City Duma Leonid Volkov.
On Tuesday, Navalny was charged with embezzlement and ordered not to leave Moscow, the Investigative Committee said. The blogger said he was initially accused of causing one million rubles (around $30,000) in damage but now the charge has been redefined as “acting in criminal collusion” and the figure was upped to 16 million. Navalny’s lawyer, Vadim Kobzev, said his client does not believe he has done anything wrong.
Ashurkov emphasized that People’s Alliance will be independent from Navalny but the party’s leaders will take into account all of the experience acquired during work with him.
Ashurkov, who is also a former top manager of Alfa Group - one of Russia's largest privately owned investment groups, will engage in organization questions and will persuade public persons to join the party. He said he believes Peoples’ Alliance will take part in the 2013 regional elections. The party’s main source of income will be members’ contribution - several thousand rubles per month.
In early April, the Kremlin eased requirements on the creation and operation of political parties. Under new rules, the signatures of 500 people are needed to register a party - down from 40,000 that had been required in the past.