Russia: opposition wants to strengthen position before G-8 summit

The organizers of the "Other Russia" conference, which will be held before the July summit of the Group of Eight industrialized nations in St. Petersburg, said their event would allow opponents of President Vladimir Putin's policies to discuss how to combat the Kremlin's tightening control over politics, the economy, and the mass media.

Gary Kasparov, a former world chess champion who has become an outspoken critic of Putin's policies, said the conference would work on the assumption that Putin would attempt to stay in power after his second term expires in 2008. Putin is constitutionally bound to step down, but many of his critics worry he could find ways to cling to power.

The conference would also include representatives of the entire spectrum of the political opposition, as well as representatives of the other G-8 member nations, the organizers said.