Russia's beleagured opposition has launched an alternative national assembly which it says is aimed at restoring political democracy in the country.

The founding charter of the Other Russia opposition coalition calls for a return of power to the people and restoration of just rule.

About 400 delegates in Moscow Saturday elected a presidium which included opposition leader

of the United Civil Front and chess champion Garry Kasparov.

He led the opening session,

calling for unity in a fight to prevent what he termed a "national disaster."

Kasparov accuses the government of former President Vladimir Putin, who is now prime minister, of concentrating power in the Kremlin and of suppressing freedoms.

Others presidium members include another opposition veteran, writer Eduard Limonov,

leader of the banned Bolshevik Party, and former presidential economic adviser Andrei Illarionov.

A group of young protesters gathered near the assembly venue, carrying signs and distributing leaflets with slogans such as "No one elected you."

Some information for this story provided by AP.