The Federal Registration Service has refused to register Great Russia as a political party.
Some analysts had been predicting that Great Russia, founded earlier this year by Dmitry Rogozin, the former leader of Rodina, is a nationalist party, would be capable of winning the 7% of the vote required to give it a presence in the Duma. Others have noted that, if it were to do this, it would draw votes away from nationalist parties already in the Duma and, allegedly, already under the Kremlin’s thumb.
No specific reason has been given for the decision by the FRS. An anonymous spokesman said there were several reasons for refusing to register Great Russia, but Andrei Savelyev, the party’s Chairman has pointed out an interesting inconsistency:
In rejecting the application, the service ruled that the party’s charter violated the law on political parties, Savelyev said.
He pointed out, however, that Great Russia’s charter was absolutely identical to that of A Just Russia, a pro-Kremlin party that was successfully registered earlier this year.
A little embarrassing for the Kremlin, if true, although I suspect that the official reason won’t actually refer to this.
The story has only really broken today – the only English language report I could find was in the Moscow Times – but I’m curious to see whether the Western media get riled up about this case. Probably not, given that the party being denied registration doesn’t exactly fit with Western ideals of what an opposition party should be…
(Note: the Moscow Times link above is likely to vanish behind their firewall in a day or so).