Sergei Udaltsov, a prominent Russian opposition activist who was released on August 8 after nearly five years in custody, has vowed to revive his dormant Levy Front (Left Front) movement and hold new protests.
But at a news conference in Moscow on August 10, Udaltsov said that some opponents of President Vladimir Putin are too pro-Western and that he would not support Alexei Navalny, who is seeking to run for president in March.
"I love my country and I am a patriot, although I am against the current government."
Udaltsov was convicted of organizing "mass disorder" over a May 2012 protest on Moscow’s Bolotnaya Square that erupted into violence.
Demonstrators and police blame each other for the violence, which led to the prosecution of dozens of protesters on charges rights activists say were trumped up.
As he has before, Udaltsov accused the authorities of responsibility for the clashes, but he alleged that some opposition leaders might have cooperated with the authorities to incite the violence. He did not provide evidence to support that claim.
Udaltsov, 40, said that he continued to oppose Putin but will not back Navalny’s bid for the presidency. He said leftist opposition groups should propose a single candidate.
Putin has said he has not decided whether to seek a fourth Kremlin term, but he is widely expected to run and win.
More than 10,000 people have been killed since April 2014 in the war between Kyiv’s forces and the separatists, who hold parts of Ukraine’s Donetsk and Luhansk regions.