Political parties are no longer allowed to publish their platforms in Rossiiskaya Gazeta, the government's official mouthpiece, until they have been registered by the Justice Ministry.
Previously, a party had six months after a founding congress to file for registration — a notoriously hard-to-achieve goal — while Rossiiskaya Gazeta was required to publish its platform within two months of the congress.
But a law signed by President Dmitry Medvedev has changed the rules, the Kremlin said Monday. Parties will have to submit the platform to the newspaper within 15 days after registration, and the daily will have to run the document within another 15 days, it said on its web site.
Sergei Udaltsov, leader of the opposition group Left Front, called the move a rollback of democracy.
"The democratization that all are talking about is not taking place," he told The Moscow Times. "Everything is being done to prevent the emergence of new parties."
The opposition groups Rot Front and The Other Russia used the legal loophole to have Rossiiskaya Gazeta publish their platforms earlier this year despite the fact that Rot Front, co-led by Udaltsov, was denied registration three times and The Other Russia has never applied.