Youth Guard Activist Quits in Protest

In a rare display of disunity, a senior Young Guard activist has quit the pro-Kremlin youth movement, accusing it of "populism," imposing "authoritarian ideals" and "imitating real political activities."

"It's sad when something that you have put your hands, heart, time and talent into turns into an ugly monster," Alexei Radov, the group's top campaign planner, said in a statement.

Radov told Kommersant in an interview published Tuesday that many Young Guard members were disappointed after the State Duma elections, where they worked as volunteers.

"They promised us a lot in regard to the elections, and people haven't even been given the chance to become aides to deputies," Radov said.

In his statement, Radov criticized the Dec. 2 elections as a "farce" and a "parody of the citizens' expression of their free will."

Radov's cell phone was switched off Tuesday afternoon.

A fellow political council member with Young Guard, Andrei Tatarinov, called Radov's accusations toward the group "unfounded." Tatarinov, speaking by telephone, downplayed the importance of Radov's work with the group and said the former activist had been "displeased with his low salary."