Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has signed a law that is meant to ease registration of political parties.
But some opposition groups have dismissed it as window dressing.
A memo posted on the Kremlin website says Medvedev signed a federal law "meant to liberalize requirements for the creation and working 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.
Parnas, a liberal democratic party that refused to attend the April 3 signing ceremony, said "there has been no step" toward political reform because "the executive power has all the instruments to limit people's rights to unite into a political party."
Sergei Udaltsov, leader of the Left Front movement, called the signing ceremony "a completely formalized, decorative event."
Based on reporting by AFP and ITAR-TASS