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Russian Opposition Activist Navalny Abandons Coalition With PARNAS

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny

Supporters of Russian opposition activist Alexei Navalny said they have decided to abandon a pre-election coalition with Mikhail Kasyanov's PARNAS Party, the RBC newspaper reported Wednesday.

Following a meeting of the Russian Democratic Coalition on Wednesday night, participants said no consensus had been reached on whether Kasyanov's party should continue to lead the coalition's ballot.

The Democratic Coalition is made up of several opposition groups: Alexei Navalny's Party of Progress, the People's Freedom Party (PARNAS), the Democratic Choice Party, the 5th of December Party and the Libertarian Party.

Ilya Yashin, deputy head of PARNAS, has called on Mikhail Kasyanov to participate in election primaries on an equal ground with other candidates in order to "prove his right for leadership and help move the coalition from the line of fire," RBC reported.

His proposal came after a film titled "Kasyanov's Day" was aired on state-run television channel NTV in early April — it included records of private conversations between Kasyanov and his closest associates.

However, the former prime minister has refused to budge and Yashin has announced that he will not participate in the coalition's primaries.

Konstantin Yankauskas, one of the founders of the 5th of December Party, said participants of Wednesday's meeting suggested a referendum be held to decide who should lead the coalition's ballot, RBC reported. Four of the political parties were in favor of a referendum.

PARNAS, however, decided to veto the proposal, Yankauskas said.

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