Gorbachev criticizes United Russia ideals

Feb. 20, 2009 at 2:13 PM
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MOSCOW, Feb. 20 (UPI) -- The United Russia Party shouldn't be attempting to foster a one-party system in Russia, former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev said Friday.

Speaking at a Moscow university student meeting Friday, Gorbachev spoke out against Russia's dominant political party and criticized attempts to lessen the powers of alternate political groups, RIA Novosti reported.

"We will never again return to being a single-party (state), though they will try to pull us in that direction," Gorbachev said of United Russia.

The former Soviet leader did have kind words for United Russia leader, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, saying the Russian official was among the country's best politicians.

RIA Novosti said Gorbachev also spoke about the economic crisis facing Russia and how the crisis compared with previous troubles.

"Today we have a similar situation to that in 1986 when I came to power," Gorbachev said. "Then the United States, Saudi Arabia and a few other countries decided to squash us using oil prices, which fell to $10 per barrel and led to the Soviet Union losing two-thirds of its income."

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