Former chess champion Garry Kasparov and other prominent liberals launched a new anti-Kremlin movement in Russia on Saturday.
The organization, called Solidarity after the victorious Polish anti-communist movement, aims to unite the country’s dysfunctional liberal forces and encourage a popular revolution similar to that seen in other ex-Soviet countries.
By PAUL SONNE, Associated Press Writer
“We are fighting for victory because we have something to say to our people and something to offer them,” Kasparov said at the founding congress Saturday in a Moscow-region hotel. “On this very day, we are in a position to take stock of past mistakes and act differently,” he said.
Opposition leaders Garry Kasparov, the former chess champion, left, and Boris Nemtsov, right, attending the founding congress of a new opposition movement called ‘Solidarity’ in Khimki, outside Moscow, Saturday, Dec. 13, 2008.(AP Photo/Mikhail Metzel)
With a parliament now dominated by Kremlin-friendly parties, Russia’s liberals have found themselves marginalized. Yabloko and SPS, the two main democratic parties to emerge after the collapse of the Soviet Union, lost their State Duma representation in 2007 after failing to garner at least 7 percent of the vote.
Much of the Russian public has lost faith in liberal democracy, which remains associated with the chaos, poverty and corruption that emerged in Russia under President Boris Yeltsin.
“One of the tasks of the Solidarity movement is to rehabilitate those basic principles that, unfortunately, for a significant or even overwhelming portion of our fellow citizens, have become associated with failure, misery or reduction of freedom,” Kasparov said.