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Gorbachev: Putin rolls back democracy

Sept. 5, 2009 at 10:08 AM

MOSCOW, Sept. 5 (UPI) -- Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev says Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has rolled back democracy, allowing corruption to flourish.

Speaking to Saturday's Times of London, Gorbachev said that while he supports Putin as the country's most popular leader, he criticized Russia's election system and upbraided the prime minister for not making better efforts to convict the killers of Kremlin critics such as journalist Anna Politkovskaya and dissident spy Alexander Litvinenko.

"I've been saying for some time that the election system needs to be changed," Gorbachev told The Times. "I have also been saying that there's been a lot of talk about fighting corruption but there is no real fight against corruption. We have seen these terrible tragedies when journalists have been killed ... some of the highest profile crimes have not been solved. And I say that I doubt that everything possible has been done to solve those crimes."

Gorbachev also praised U.S. President Barack Obama, The Times said, comparing his efforts to revive the American economy with his own Soviet "perestroika" (or rebuilding.)

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