Opposition Agrees to Unity Talks

Representatives of the liberal opposition signed a resolution Saturday aimed at uniting their forces.

The resolution was signed at a St. Petersburg meeting that included former world chess champion Garry Kasparov, leaders from the opposition Union of Right Forces and Yabloko parties, and human rights activists.

The unification resolution says, in part, that "only the establishment of a powerful force, capable of consolidating the support of millions of Russians with democratic views, can change the situation in the country." The opposition leaders also agreed to hold a nationwide congress of democrats this fall.

"We confirmed our intention to create a united democratic opposition by the end of 2008 and that is extremely important," said Boris Nemtsov, a co-founder of the Union of Right Forces.

The leader of the St. Petersburg branch of Yabloko, Maxim Reznik, arrived late to Saturday's meeting because he was being questioned on charges of hitting a police officer last month, Kasparov.ru reported.

The questioning was scheduled for Saturday morning, when the meeting was scheduled to begin. Reznik claims the charges are politically motivated.

The meeting was briefly disrupted by 10 young people who claimed that they had not been paid for participating in an opposition rally, Fontanka.ru reported. The young people appeared to be activists from a pro-Kremlin youth movement, it said.