The formation of the latest coalition among the Russian opposition seems to have inspired little other than cynical pessimism. The men behind it — Mikhail Kasyanov, Boris Nemtsov, Vladimir Ryzhkov and Vladimir Milov — are reasonably prominent, and seem potentially capable of working together, but nobody seems to hold out much hope for them.
BBC Monitoring reports Stanislav Belikovsky talking on Echo Moskvy, with understandabe cynicism:
The so-called pro-democracy forces are uniting for the 127th time. We still see the same figures, and it is at least too early for them to start looking for supporters the very next day, or at least to demand loyalty. At first they need to produce results: register their party, form its list (of candidates), and at least enter the parliamentary campaign with this list, not to mention subsequent actions in the form of putting forward a single candidate (for the presidential election). [via JRL]
Meanwhile a pundit interviewed in Russia Today has this to say:
Nemtsov and Ryzhkov will fiercely criticize Putin, as well as Medvedev to a lesser degree. They are also going to bash the ruling United Russia. Chances are the administration might need just that. After all, if there is no conflict in a play, there is no action. A play without “bad guys” always flops with viewers. This is why “bad guys” may come in handy. If they are registered, the election campaign will go like this: they will bark at Putin, while others will bark at them. They will be the sort of whipping boys, which is good for them as well, as it attracts more attention. A party like that would give an edge to the entire campaign. Their worst enemy will be the Yabloko party, as this is a matter of survival for Yabloko, which currently monopolizes the liberal flank.
I don’t think that today anybody in the United States believes that these people can become a serious political force. I think that there are fewer Americans who believe in that than members of our own administration. I also think that at the moment Russia’s present rulers who will continue to stay in power are suiting the United States.