Install

Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Liberals Cool on 'Pear' Party

The latest effort by leading liberals to form a united front against President Vladimir Putin ended without agreement, with liberal parties Yabloko and the Union of Right Forces, or SPS, rejecting a proposal to set up a new party.

Liberals from Committee-2008: Free Choice, including chairman Garry Kasparov and Duma Deputy Vladimir Ryzhkov, said they had failed to persuade Yabloko and SPS in a closed-door meeting late Tuesday to form a new liberal party with new leaders.

Yabloko officials rejected the idea, sticking to their position of inviting liberals to join their party. Yabloko leader Grigory Yavlinsky said he was prepared to rename his party Grusha, or Pear, if liberals would unite around it, Russian media cited journalist and Committee-2008 member Viktor Shenderovich as saying after the meeting.

"It is difficult to organize a new party, and -- what's more -- we cannot tell our 80,000 members that we are closing down the party," Yabloko deputy leader Sergei Mitrokhin said Thursday.

SPS deputy leader Boris Nadezhdin agreed by telephone Thursday that it was better to unite around well-known parties than set up a new one.

Mitrokhin complained that SPS was seeking "to use Yabloko's name but not its social-liberal ideology."

Irina Khakamada, who leads the Our Choice party, said she was holding talks with Ryzhkov and Kasparov, as well as with Yabloko and SPS. "The most important thing is ... not to lose anyone on the way," she said.