Interfax: Udaltsov plans to consolidate Left Front, urges left forces to nominate sole presidential candidate
MOSCOW. Aug 10 (Interfax) – Prominent leftist Russian opposition leader Sergei Udaltsov, who served four years and six months in a penitentiary for organizing mass disturbances, plans to revive the Left Front organization and work toward consolidating leftist forces, including those in parliament, to nominate a sole candidate in the 2018 presidential elections.
“The nearest objectives that I see for myself include making the leftist movement, primarily the non-parliamentary one, as active as possible, which is precisely what Left Front did,” Udaltsov said at a press conference on Thursday.
Udaltsov said he would seek to consolidate all small leftist organizations, including through reforming Left Front. To this end, he said he plans to meet with various leftist organizations within the next few days and call a conference in the fall.
Udaltsov said also he is determined to maintain “close interaction with parliamentary leftist parties” and also with European and U.S. leftist organizations.
Leftist forces in Russia, both parliamentary and non-parliamentary ones, should consolidate and nominate a sole candidate in the presidential elections in 2018, he said.
“In my view, this should be a fresh face, I hope that they find the wisdom to hold primaries and nominate a fresh and strong candidate, a younger one. I am not talking about myself, I have a conviction for a grave crime, which hasn’t been expunged, and so I don’t have such ambitions,” he said.
Udaltsov said he would try to persuade Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov and A Just Russia party leader Sergei Mironov to heed his arguments.
“There is a need for a third force in Russia, a leftist patriotic one, not pro-Western but critical toward the authorities,” he said.
Udaltsov said he was also willing to cooperate with other opposition forces, including those belonging to the liberal opposition and ‘sensible nationalists’.
Udaltsov said also he was determined to have his conviction overturned and receive compensation. “We will dispute [the conviction] till a victorious end, including through our courts, and will seek both compensation and absolute acquittal,” he said.
“A lot of the Bolotnaya Case [convicts] have appealed to the European Court, there is now a judgment on Yaroslav Belousov, and I believe the same judgments are going to be given regarding Leonid Razvozzhayev and me,” he said.
Udaltsov, the coordinator of the Left Front, who was earlier convicted for organization of mass disturbances, was freed from a penitentiary in the Tambov region on August 8, having served his full prison term.
The Moscow City Court ruled on July 24, 2014 to sentence opposition members Udaltsov and Leonid Razvozzhayev to four years and six months in prison each for organizing mass disturbances on Bolotnaya Square in Moscow and plotting more disturbances in other parts of Russia.
[featured image is file photo]