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Russia's Liberals Plan Anti-Kremlin Coalition

Grigorii Yavlinskii was among today's speakers (file photo) (CTK) 12 December 2005 -- Russian liberal politicians and human rights campaigners, gathering for an annual congress today in Moscow, called for uniting the nation's fragmented opposition.

The second annual All Russia Civic Congress was held on Russia's Constitution Day. The Russian Constitution was adopted in a referendum on 12 December 1993.

Lyudmila Alekseeva, head of the Moscow Helsinki Group, a human rights organization, said the gathering is intended to resist what she called "the continuing attack on human rights...that are guaranteed by the constitution."

Several speakers at the congress called for setting up a broad coalition in time for the 2007 parliamentary election.

Union of Rightist Forces (SPS) leader Nikita Belykh said that "the leaders of pro-democracy parties, or the potential leaders of pro-democracy parties, intend to unite and participate in the next parliamentary election as a united democratic party."

Other speakers at the congress included Grigorii Yavlinskii, the leader of the liberal Yabloko party, and former Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov.


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