News24

Gorbachev: Putin finished as leader

2012-02-09 16:29

Moscow - Mikhail Gorbachev said on Thursday that Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has "exhausted" his potential as Russia's leader and his inability to change the Kremlin's political system might prompt more massive anti-government protests.

Putin - who became prime minister after serving as Russia's president in 2000-2008 - is almost certain to become president again during the March election, despite recent opposition rallies that have been the largest protests Russia has seen since the Soviet collapse.

Gorbachev, a former Soviet leader, said of Putin: "He won't carry that weight. By now he has exhausted himself. Looks like that."

Gorbachev recently urged Putin to give up power and annul the results of December's fraud-tainted parliamentary vote, which triggered the rallies. The thousands of protesters also have joined Kremlin critics in accusing Putin's government of cracking down on dissent, limiting press freedoms and breeding widespread corruption in Russia.

"If he does not overcome himself, change the way things are - and I think it will be difficult for him to do that - then everything will end up on city squares," Gorbachev said of Putin during a news conference in Moscow on Thursday.

"We can't let it happen. We've already seen what happens on city squares," Gorbachev said, referring to the Arab Spring rallies in northern Africa and the Mideast.

Gorbachev served as the Soviet Union's president from 1985 until 1991, when the communist government collapsed.

He remains admired abroad, but he is regarded as insignificant at home and his comments are not likely to affect public opinion or threaten Putin's grip on power.

Comments
  • Fidel - 2012-02-09 16:56

    "He remains admired abroad, but he is regarded as insignificant at home and his comments are not likely to affect public opinion or threaten Putin's grip on power." Says it all really! The man has been bribed with international cudos, Flattery, Visits and trinkets.

      Glyn - 2012-02-09 17:53

      He is probably the ONLY Russian leader who was NOT bribed! Why do you think that he was pushed out?

      Fidel - 2012-02-09 18:14

      He was pushed out because he become soft, shaking at Reagan's finger waving.

  • Fred - 2012-02-09 16:57

    Of that there's no doubt. Russia's stance on Syria is the final straw. He's gone, and so are his neo-Soviet cronies.

  • Sasha - 2012-02-09 17:21

    Gorbachev should learn that his time of screwing up a country is finished. He should also learn to STFU!

      Fidel - 2012-02-09 17:42

      Gorbachev will go down in history as the most useless, coward and incompetent leader Russia has ever had, running close that drunkard Yeltsin.

      Glyn - 2012-02-09 18:08

      He was the only Soviet leader who had some guts. Made lots of mistakes but then that is better than shooting people, which was standard Soviet practice. Biggest mistake was to try to ban vodka! Bad move! Putin was probably the best man for russia ten years ago but i agree with Gorbachev that he has shot his bolt. Trouble is he is still very powerful. When powerful leaders are under pressure they get dangerous. Could get interesting. Check the anc behavior as soon as they lose the next 5% of the vote. They are getting desperate right now, check Zuma's speech tonight.

  • Nick - 2012-02-09 18:31

    Gorbachev was probably the wisest,eloquent and forward thinking leader that the SOviet Union ever had since its inception. He knew exactly what the Soviet people needed and had the strength,political will and most importantly the foresight to implement his reforms - perestroika and glasnost. The only reason these reforms did not run their course is because Yeltsin was in too much of a hurry to destroy the Soviet Union and the Communist Party. That led to the chaotic period in Russia where the economy went into freefall and we had the rise in the oligarchs who helped keep Yeltsin in power and also to the rise of Putin. Russia is today a nation held hostage to thieves,cronyists and mafiosso's. If Gorbachev was allowed to implement his reforms his way Russia would have been a much better place than it is today.

  • Fred - 2012-02-10 02:37

    Fidel, you're a bellwether for wrong thinking. You were wrong about Libya. You're wrong about Syria. You're wrong about Iran. You're wrong about Russia and China. I suppose it's a service to humanity to have people like you, to measure right-thinking against. But is it really who you want to be, a wrong thinker? :)

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