(dpa) - Activists from Russia's fragmented opposition met Saturday in St Petersburg in a bid to form a joint platform aimed at running in future Russian elections.
About 250 members of various liberal opposition groups around former chess world champion Garry Kasparov and ex-deputy premier Boris Nemtsov attended the one-day conference, the Russian Interfax agency reported.
"Of course, we will not be able to unify all democratic forces today," said Nemtsov, leader of the liberal Union of Rightist Forces (SPS).
The meeting was aimed at setting up an organizing group to prepare an autumn congress to unify democratic forces in Russia, he added. Efforts to unify Russia's liberal opposition have failed in the past.
Besides Nemtsov's group, the Saturday talks were attended by members of the Russian Democratic Party Yabloko, Kasparov's opposition movement as well as numerous human rights activists.
The organizers said they did not want to confront Russia's current political regime and do more than criticize the government. Instead, the opposition union wanted to participate in making Russia more democratic.
Police stopped supporters of the Young Guard close to the Kremlin from disturbing the conference, Russian media reported.
A number of leading Russian human rights activists announced they would support attempts to unify the Russian opposition. Among them was Ludmila Alexeeva from the Moscow Helsinki Group, one of Russia's most prominent human rights groups.
However, Alexeeva warned against high expectations for the conference as all attempts to unify the opposition had always ended in internal discord in the past.