Russia risks six 'lost years' under Putin, says Gorbachev
Russia risks six lost years when Vladimir Putin returns to the Kremlin if he does not undertake wholesale change of its political system, the Soviet Union's last leader Mikhail Gorbachev said Monday.
Gorbachev wrote in a commentary for the Novaya Gazeta, which he part owns, that the decision for Putin to stand for the presidency in 2012 elections instead of incumbent President Dmitry Medvedev was wholly expected.
But he said that the current situation in Russia was "not simple" and was at an "impasse".
"It will be his mistake if the future president leaves everything without changes, thinks only about how to stay in power and tries to keep the old team -- who are the ones to blame for how things are," Gorbachev wrote.
"We can assume that there will be no movement forward if there are not serious changes along the lines of a replacement of the entire system."
"Without this we could lose six years. I think that the future president needs to think about this very seriously."
Putin on Saturday accepted a proposal by Medvedev that he should stand for president in elections in March 2012 that he is almost certain to win and would give him a new six year mandate.
© 2011 AFP