Putin 'killed' Russian democracy: opposition leader
Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has killed democracy in Russia and put in place a mafia state, opposition leader Boris Nemtsov said on Wednesday.
Nemtsov, a former deputy prime minister of Russia, compared Putin to a younger version of Hosni Mubarak, the Egyptian president ousted last week after three decades in power.
"Putin looks like a young Mubarak. He believes that his future will be better than Mubarak's future. I don't think so," said Nemtsov, who was speaking at a press conference at the European Parliament.
"Putin killed the democratic state in Russia. He built a corrupted mafia state but he killed the democratic state," added Nemsov, who served as deputy premier under president Boris Yeltsin.
"It is absolutely visible and everybody knows it."
Implying that Putin was the man in charge of Russia, Nemtsov took a shot at President Dmitry Medvedev, saying he is "not a real president" and joking that in reality he is a "famous Russian blogger."
Invited by the Green bloc of the European Parliament, Nemtsov said Putin's visit to the European Commission next week showed that "a lot of people" in Europe were playing "realpolitik" by putting aside their values for economic interests.
Noting that Russia is a member of the Council of Europe and Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, he said the problems with freedom of speech and the judicial system in Russia were not just domestic issues.
"It is not a problem only for Russia but for every countries of the Council of Europe, every countries of the OSCE," he said.
© 2011 AFP