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Navalny Vows Russian Opposition Will Unite For 2016 Elections

Russian opposition leader Aleksei Navalny speaks during a news conference in Moscow on April 22.

Russian opposition parties, led by anticorruption activist Aleksei Navalny, have vowed to close ranks in order to contest the 2016 parliamentary elections amid an intensifying Kremlin crackdown.

Navalny told journalists in Moscow on April 22 that he and other opposition leaders had agreed to form a united front of opposition parties ahead of the 2016 vote.

The announcement comes after Navalny and his Party of Progress joined ranks last week with the political party of slain Kremlin critic Boris Nemtsov in a bid to form a democratic alliance and overcome years of bickering.

Navalny said opinion polls showed an enormous number of Russians who are not represented in parliament are "dissatisfied" with the policies of Russian President Vladimir Putin and his allies.

In December, Navalny received a 3 1/2-year suspended prison sentence on embezzlement charges that he says were politically motivated.

Navalny is not eligible himself to run for a parliamentary seat.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AFP