A Just Russia party leader Sergei Mironov on Saturday called on his party members to dissociate themselves from the anti-Putin protest movement.
“Each member of the party should make today a simple choice – either he belongs to the social-democratic party or takes the side of those dreaming of liberal revenge or seeking nothing but unrest,” Mironov told a party conference.
He said that “the party’s reputation and brand should not be used for shady political experiments” and blamed the party’s connections with street protests for its failure at the October 14 regional elections.
“Russia today is pregnant not with a revolution but with a desire for changes,” Mironov said adding that A Just Russia, which has the third biggest faction in the Duma, has never backed the demands to destroy the existing power institutions.
However, another prominent A Just Russia member Gennady Gudkov, who joined the ranks of the street-based opposition movement, said he disagreed with the party leader.
“We should be proud of having four prominent party members in the [opposition’s] coordination council,” said Gudkov, who was ousted from the State Duma, the lower house of parliament, in September.
According to him, A Just Russia, which is widely viewed by analysts as a Potemkin parliamentary opposition faction with no genuine desire to challenge the status quo, will gain more support if people see that the party “is not talking but fighting.”
Gudkov's son Dmitry and Ilya Ponomaryov, State Duma deputies from the A Just Russia party, are also leaders of the protest movement.
Several lawmakers have so far quit A Just Russia faction in the State Duma. Earlier on Saturday Vladimir Parakhin announced his decision to leave the faction to become an independent deputy, joining seven others who broke ranks last May by voting to confirm Dmitry Medvedev as prime minister.