MOSCOW, Dec. 24 (UPI) -- Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev slammed Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin for his reaction to anti-Kremlin protests.
International observers of Russia's recent parliamentary election have raised serious concerns about the fairness of the vote charging ballot box-stuffing and election fraud. Tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets in Moscow and other cities again on Saturday to demand a re-run of the election.
Putin has had a dismissive attitude toward protesters and even likened their white ribbons to condoms, The Daily Telegraph reported.
"This is shameful. And embarrassing. I, for example, am ashamed," Gorbachev, 80, said Friday.
The last leader of the Soviet Union has become increasingly critical of the Kremlin. Until recently, he mostly shied away from direct criticism of Putin.
"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," he said.
Gorbachev also had harsh words for Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, saying his response to accusations of election fraud earlier this month was detrimental to his career.
"He said he had no complaints or doubts about the elections. And with that, Dmitry Anatolyevich I think pulled the curtain down on his career," he said.