Committee 2008

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The "2008 - A Free Choice" Committee, launched on 29 January 2004, was an umbrella organization of the Russian democratic opposition. It was formed in response to the failure of Yabloko and the Union of Right Forces to gain any seats in the 2003 elections to the State Duma, and to the growing authoritarianism of President Vladimir Putin who was re-elected in March 2004 with over 70% of the votes cast.[1]

The Committee's goal was to ensure free and fair presidential elections in 2008. Putin was due to step down as President, after serving two terms, and the Committee intended to work against the election of the Kremlin's chosen successor, whoever that might be. The chairman of the 2008 Committee was Garry Kasparov; the original signatories of the 2004 declaration were Mikhail Berger, Vladimir Bukovsky, Alexander Golts, Igor Irtenyev, Vladimir V. Kara-Murza, Yevgeny Kiselyov, Julia Latynina, Dmitry Muratov, Boris Nemtsov, Sergei Parkhomenko, Alexander Ryklin, Victor Shenderovich, and Irina Yasina.[2] Others who joined later were politicians Vladimir Ryzhkov and Irina Khakamada.

The Committee was short-lived, holding its last meeting in summer 2005. A number of its members subsequently helped to set up the United Civic Front and the much broader Other Russia coalition (2006-2010) which were actively engaged in protest activities in 2007 and 2008.

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