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New Russian Party Meets Ahead Of Regional Polls

The founding conference of A Just Russia in Moscow in October 2006 (ITAR-TASS) February 26, 2007 (RFE/RL) -- A new political party called A Just Russia is holding a congress today in St. Petersburg, RFE/RL's Russian Service reported.

A Just Russia was formed in October as a merger of the nationalist Motherland Party, the Party of Life, and the Party of Pensioners.

MORE: Coverage in Russian from RFE/RL's Russian Service.

Chairman Sergei Mironov said the party today began drafting its program for State Duma elections due in December.

Mironov, who is the speaker of the upper house of parliament, said the program will focus on improving living standards through social reforms.

He said he believes his party will break the "monopoly" of the ruling Unified Russia party.

Mironov, however, is a staunch supporter of President Vladimir Putin. Critics say A Just Russia is only a nominal opposition force.

(with material from Interfax, ITAR-TASS)

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Listen to the complete discussion (about 42 minutes):
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