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Union of Right Forces

The Democratic Choice of Russia (DCR) coalition-building efforts came to fruition with the formation of the Union of Right Forces (SPS) coalition on the eve of parliamentary elections in 1999. On May 26 and 27, SPS held its founding congress as a registered political party.

One of the leaders of the Just Cause political movement, Boris Nemtsov trained as a radiophysicist and graduated from Gorky (now Nizhny Novgorod) University in 1981. He subsequently held various positions at the USSR Academy of Sciences. In 1991, he joined in the defence of the Russian parliament during the August attempted coup. He was rewarded with his appointment first as Yeltsin's special representative, and then as governor of Nizhny Novgorod between 1991 and 1997.

Having supported Yeltsin in the 1996 presidential election, Nemtsov was appointed First Deputy Prime Minister and minister for fuel and energy in March 1997. He lost office when Kiriyenko, his close associate, was sacked from his post as Prime Minister following the August 1998 financial crisis. Once considered a potential successor to Russia’s first post-Soviet president, Boris Yeltsin, Nemstov became an opposition politician and fierce critic of Putin.

Nemtsov, erstwhile co-leader of the Union of Right Forces (SPS), headed an SPS committee charged with forging a permanent alliance among democratic opposition forces. News of the appointment came 28 January 2006, just a day before GOR officials charged Nemtsov's former business partner, Igor Linshits, President of the Neftyanoy Bank, with illegal business practices and money laundering. Nemtsov said the campaign against Neftyanoy was a clear warning from the Kremlin to avoid engaging in political activities.

Nemtsov, a former Governor of Nizhniy Novgorod and Deputy Prime Minister during the Yeltsin era, had long been associated with liberal economic policies and democratic politics. Nemtsov left the Duma, Russia's Parliament, in 2003. He also served as an advisor to Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko following the 2004 Orange Revolution and has been an outspoken supporter of Belarus opposition leader Aleksandr Milinkevich.

The announcement in September 2007 that Russia's Union of Right Forces (SPS) would take part in "Dissenters' Marches" marks the final step in the party's rapid evolution from a "constructive opponent" to total opposition. The administration had blocked funding, setting a "Berlin wall" between the electricity giant United Energy Systems (UES), whose top officials held leading positions in SPS, and the party. Regional businessmen formed the base of the party's support. In debates and public comments, the party hammered the administration on corruption issues and the emergence of a cult of personality around Putin.

SPS was the third most successful campaigner with a total income of $27 million, as of the end of October 2007. After subtracting the required $15 million ruble deposit for those parties not currently sitting in the Duma, SPS had a war chest of $12 million, placing the party in fourth place behind YR ($80 million), LDPR ($72 million) and the KPRF ($20 million). However, SPS's funds dwarfed those of SR and Yabloko, whose held $6.5 and $4.25 million respectively.

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Page last modified: 18-09-2016 13:23:45 ZULU