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Ex-Putin Ally Kasyanov Plans Opposition Party Before Election

Mikhail Kasyanov, a former Russian prime minister who served under then President Vladimir Putin, plans to create an opposition political party to challenge the dominance of Putin’s United Russia party in parliamentary elections next year.

“Our main purpose is to change the existing political course and offer all Russian citizens equal opportunities,” Kasyanov told reporters in Moscow today.

The Party of People’s Freedom for a Russia Without Lawlessness and Corruption expects by April to gather the 45,000 signatures it needs to register with the authorities and take part in elections to the State Duma, Russia’s lower house of parliament, scheduled for December 2011, he said.

Kasyanov, 53, ran the government during most of Putin’s first presidential term. He then briefly led a loose opposition coalition called the Other Russia with Garry Kasparov, a former chess champion. Kasyanov left the group in July 2007.

Kasyanov is joined in the planned party by Kremlin critics Boris Nemtsov, a first deputy prime minister under former President Boris Yeltsin, and Vladimir Ryzhkov.

The party will put forward a single candidate for the presidential election in 2012, Nemtsov said.

Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov wasn’t immediately available for comment when contacted by Bloomberg News on his mobile phone.

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