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Tuesday, September 30, 2008
By Steven L. Taylor

Via the AP; Gorbachev to form new Russian party

Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev will join forces with Russian tycoon Alexander Lebedev to launch a new political party independent of the Kremlin, the billionaire businessman said on Tuesday.

[...]

The party will press for legal and economic reform and promote the growth of independent media, said Lebedev, who does not plan to bankroll the party himself but said it should be financed only from “non-state sources.”

He said the party favored “less state capitalism,” the development of independent media, itreform of the justice system and a stronger role for parliament, adding that it would take part in elections.

The party is likely to be called the “Independent Democratic Party” (the story notes that the name is “provisional”).

Certainly Russia is in need of strong, independent voices who are interested in promoting democratic development. One has to wonder, of course, as to whether the present political climate will allow such groups to function properly. The state’s treatment of Kasparov’s opposition party, for example, does not encourage one in this regard.

I would also note that it is interesting, if not ironic, for a former General Secretary of the CPSU to be allying with with a billionaire. Times do change…1

  1. Indeed, to my students, Gorbachev, let alone the USSR, are an artifact of the distant past. []
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3 Responses to “Gorbachev in Alliance to Form New Party”

  1. Western Man Says:

    An interesting development.

    If I were to name what was needed to successfully construct a new opposition party in The Sovie. . . err, Russia, I would list the following:

    1. Street Credibility – Gorbachev has this. He ushed in many popular changes during his tenure as General Secretary.

    2. A history of being able to stand up to Sovie. . . err, Russian political bullies. Gorbachev went up against powerful communist bosses when he ushered in Glasnost and Perestroika. He knows how to protect himself in the hostile Sovie. . . er, Russian political environment.

    3. A solid ideological foundation. Probabaly Gorby can come up with this.

    I give him a better chance at this than Kasparov had. Gorby is one tough hombre and smarter than the average Soviet.

  2. Buckland Says:

    He’s still alive?!!?

    Who knew?

  3. Barry Says:

    If I were Putin, I’d encourage a ‘loyal opposition’ party. Very thoroughly castrated, of course.


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