Putin reponse to protests 'shameful': Gorbachev
The last Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev said Friday he was ashamed of Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Medvedev's career was over, in a stinging rebuke to the Russian ruling duo over their response to protests.
Gorbachev's criticism came in an interview with the opposition Novaya Gazeta paper -- which he part owns -- on the eve of a new wave of protests over the outcome of fraud-tainted December 4 parliamentary polls.
"This is shameful. And embarrassing. I, for example, am ashamed," Gorbachev said in reference to a television appearance last week in which Putin compared the white ribbons worn by Russian protesters to condoms.
"I feel tied to Putin in the sense that at first, when he came to power, I actively supported him everywhere -- both here and abroad. And now look."
Former KGB agent Putin and Medvedev -- suspected of more liberal leanings when he replaced his mentor as president in 2008 -- have both dismissed the fraud allegations and linked protests to shadowy funding from the West.
The vote saw their ruling United Russia party narrowly retain its majority despite allegations of widespread voter irregularities in Moscow and ballot stuffing across other regions of Russia.
The so-called "ruling tandem" intend to swap jobs after March presidential elections in arrangement where Medvedev is to become Putin's prime minister.
But Gorbachev said Medvedev had lost his credibility as a politician by refusing to question the election results.
"He said that he had no complaints or doubts about the elections. And with that, Dmitry Anatolyevich I think drew the curtain on his career."
Saturday's protests in Moscow are expected to draw tens of thousands of people under a broad call for new parliamentary elections and an end to election fraud.
Medvedev convened the first session of parliament this week.
© 2011 AFP