The Democratic Party of Russia, run by a prominent spin doctor, became the first political party to obtain legal status under the radically eased rules of party registration in Russia.
On Friday, the party received the necessary paperwork from the Justice Ministry, which handles party registration, the Democrats’ press office said in a statement.
“We’re…already preparing for the October elections” in the regions, party leader Andrei Bogdanov was cited as saying. He added that the party would not support the grassroots street protests ongoing in Moscow.
Earlier this week, the Justice Ministry also registered the Republican Party of Russia, which was banned in 2007, but this was done on a court ruling and formally not under the new rules.
The Democratic Party becomes the ninth entrant to the playing field of party politics in Russia, but 172 more are pending registration, according to the Justice Ministry’s website.
The Kremlin reformed party legislation in response to mass street protests that followed the widely contested parliamentary elections in December.
However, the reform, signed into law by then-President Dmitry Medvedev earlier in May, upheld a ban on election blocs, which prompted critics to accuse the Kremlin of trying to fracture party politics.
The Democratic Party of Russia, founded in 1990, was merged in 2008 into The Right Cause, a liberal party widely seen as the Kremlin’s attempt to sweep the liberal vote.
The Democratic Party was revived in early 2012 by Bogdanov, former head of the Right Cause who was ousted from leadership as part of a struggle within the party.
Bogdanov has been active on the political scene in Russia since the 1990s, helping create numerous minor parties that abounded at the time. He also ran for president in 2008, winning 1.3 percent of the vote.