Gorbachev says 'little' left over democracy in Russia threatened by corruption

Written by: Anita Nair
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London, Dec 11 (ANI): Former Russian President Mikhail Gorbachev has said what little democracy is left in the country is under threat from corruption, and added that Vladimir Putin's time has passed.

In a hard-hitting article in a liberal newspaper he part-owns, Gorbachev favoured President Dmitry Medvedev at the expense of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

Commenting on which of the two men will run for president in 2012, Gorbachev said he backed Medvedev while openly criticising Putin's political legacy, The Telegraph reports.

"Starting roughly in 2005/2006 (when Mr Putin was president) the government took decisions that did not create the conditions to move forward but made it more difficult, practically impossible, even to raise acute issues," he wrote in the Novaya Gazeta.

"In the eyes of the people, the government's authority has increasingly become a tool for dividing spoils and putting pressure on people."

Though careful not to name Putin, he wrote that the primary task of his eight-year presidency from 2000-2008 was to hold the country together and restore law and order.

"You can argue about the methods he used and how successful he was but on the whole these tasks were completed," Gorbachev wrote.

"But as time passed the things that he had not managed to solve became obvious. In a word, the old agenda did not have answers to the thorniest problems in modern Russia," he adds.

Gorbachev said a new agenda was needed if stability and the minimal progress towards democracy was to be maintained.

He singled out appalling corruption and an arrogant inward-looking elite as being particularly worrisome. (ANI)

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