Russian protest movement risks split: activist

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Russia's nascent protest movement behind recent mass rallies risks a split unless its diverse members agree on a common strategy, a prominent opposition activist warned on Thursday.

"We need to structure ourselves a bit, because at the moment everyone is pulling for his side," Sergei Udaltsov told Moscow Echo radio station a day after he was released from police detention.

"Maybe once, twice, everything went well spontaneously, but after that there is a risk that the authorities will start playing us off against each other and pulling us apart."

Two huge rallies in Moscow protesting against alleged vote-rigging in December's parliamentary polls won by Vladimir Putin's United Russia party brought together diverse political forces, including liberals, nationalists and communists.

Udaltsov said the diverse groups should agree on strategy ahead of March presidential polls in which Putin will stand for a third term and on dealing with authorities, warning that "any separate talks cause huge harm to the movement."

The 34-year-old Udaltsov, a lawyer by training and the coordinator of the radical Left Front movement, was freed from police detention late Wednesday after serving a 10-day sentence for taking part in an unsanctioned demonstration.

© 2012 AFP

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