Gorbachev Advises Putin to Step Down

World | December 25, 2011, Sunday // 12:42|  views

Last Soviet Union President Mikhail Gorbachev (R) is shown speaking with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev (L) during their meeting at the Gorki residence outside Moscow, Russia 02 March 2011. EPA/BGNES

Current Russian PM Vladimir Putin better not run for President in March 2012, given he has stayed in power for very long, said former Soviet Presidenet Mikhail Gorbachev.

"I would advise Vladimir Vladimirovich to go now. He has 3 mandates on his record: 2 presidential and 1 as a PM - so that's enough," said the last President of the USSR in an interview for the Echo of Moscow Sunday.

Ever since December 4 parliamentary elections, Russia has been gripped by nationwide protests against what some saw as violations at the elections.

The ruling United Russia party, chaired by Putin, won absolute majority by getting close to 50% of the vote - still far below the 68% received at the previous elections.

In September, Vladimir Putin had announced intentions to run as president again in March, opening the way to to more, 6-year terms.

Current President Dmitry Medvedev has said he is considering taking up the prime ministerial position after presidentiail elections.

This swap of power has also irked some Russian voters, who have seen it as a contribution to indefinite extension of power for Putin and his circles.

"Thinking back, 20 years ago, when the Soviet Union was falling apart, I went on and submitted my resignation," recalled Gorbachev Sunday.

He argued that Putin must now act in a similar way, seeing the popular discontent.

Just Saturday,  as many as 120,000 protesters were reported to have gathered on a massive rally in Moscow, alongside thousands of others in other Russian cities.

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Tags: Mikhail Gorbachev, Putin, Vladimir Putin, elections, protests, Russia, Moscow, Soviet Union, USSR, Dmitry Medvedev, president, United Russia


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