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Navalny Party Denied Registration Over Name

Alexei Navalny, founder of the "Fight Corruption Fund." Vedomosti

The Justice Ministry has denied registration to opposition leader Alexei Navalny's People's Alliance political party, citing the existence of another organization with the same name.

People's Alliance members said they were planning to meet with Justice Ministry officials on Tuesday to discuss the government's repeated rejections of their movement's registration requests, Itar-Tass reported.

The latest request, filed by Navalny's ally and head of his Anti-Corruption Fund Vladimir Ashurkov, has been shelved, along with registration requests by six other political movements, the Justice Ministry said in an announcement posted on its website.

The ministry cited a 2001 law, which, among other requirements, prohibits registering parties whose names constitute copyright infringement.

Navalny supporters founded their People's Alliance movement in late 2012, and have filed repeated requests for registration with the Justice Ministry.

The ministry has consistently turned down the petitions, prompting some observers to conclude that the supposed liberalization of party registration rules in 2012 was a sham. They argued that, though the ministry had registered a total of 74 parties so far, only one of them, RPR-Parnas, was an actual opposition party with no links to the Kremlin.

Navalny's supporters voted him as leader of their People's Alliance party on Nov. 17, 2013. The day after Navalny's election, another political party, called Native Country at that time and led by politician Andrei Bogdanov, filed a request with the Justice Ministry to have its name changed to People's Alliance, reported Monday.

The ministry approved the petition within 10 days.

The registration of the People's Alliance party headed by Bogdanov — an also-ran in the 2008 presidential election who received about 1 percent of the vote — seemed to have put a stumbling block to official recognition for Navalny's party under the same name.

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