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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

NSF Splits, Faction Forms Party

Leading members of the National Salvation Front said Wednesday that they have split from the organization in order to create a viable political party to challenge President Boris Yeltsin.

The breakaway group expects to lose none of the strength it enjoys as part of the largest single voting bloc in Russia's legislature, according to Natalya Ilyina, a member of the executive board of the Russian National Union.

"I am not afraid of losing votes in the parliament because a new opposition group will define more strictly its ideas, and over all that will help us to gain more votes in parliament", she said.

After a Congress last weekend, the alliance's two most prominent leaders, Sergei Baburin and Nikolai Pavlov, said they were taking their faction - Russian National Union - out of the Front.

Established in October 1992 and at one time outlawed by Boris Yeltsin, the Front has united 60 movements and four parties around the goal of overthrowing the president and his market reforms.

Sunday's split raises questions over how much power the Front's alliance of neo-communists and nationalists will continue to wield.

But the breakaway leaders argued on Wednesday that their influence could only increase. By shedding extreme communists and nationalists, they said, they would be able to create a more manageable base for a viable political party.

According to Pavlov, a new viable political party should avoid mistakes of the Front in order to win the next presidential elections.

"Many reasonable people dissatisfied with Yeltsin's current policies don't join the Front because of the extreme communist ideas that dominated it", said Pavlov.

Noting that there remain only two years until the next presidential elections, Pavlov said the new opposition party would stress the revival of the Russian state.