One month ago, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin easily won a six-year term as president, despite vigorous rallies by activists opposing his candidacy. Does his victory mean the end of Russia’s opposition movement? Not likely, it seems. On Wednesday, barriers to registering a political party in Russia dropped sharply - from a requirement to collect 40,000 supporters' signatures to just 500. And with that came a wave of new parties hoping to garner votes. Russia will now have its Party of Love and Party of Beer Lovers. Voters will be able to choose between the Party of Subtropical Russia and the Party of Social Networking Sites. And the Ten Commandments Party and a movement called Kind People of Russia also lined up to register.

Mark Feygin, long an activist for an unregistered political group, says he and his friends are  going to form their own party. He has not chosen a name yet, but says it will be a libertarian free-market party. Coming as Moscow’s temperatures finally push above freezing, this political thaw reflects one of three promises for reform that President Dmitry Medvedev made in December to protesters demanding more democracy.