Gorbachev: Behavior of Medvedev and Putin shows incredible conceit
An incredible conceit is how former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev described the behavior of President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. According to Gazeta.Ru, during a press conference in Moscow Gorbachev harshly criticized their approach to the 2012 presidential elections. I think its immodest when Putin tells someone that hell sit down with Dmitry Medvedev and decide wholl run for president. Thats an incredible conceit, Gorbachev said.
In his words, Its none of Putins business. Its the business of those who do the electing.
Russia is only halfway to democracy, because theres still so much that remains unresolved, Gorbachev said. I think we are no more than halfway. We have a parliament, there are courts, there is a president and a prime minister, but you know - these are but imitations, and their work is ineffective, especially the courts and the parliament, Gorbachev was quote as saying by Interfax. According to his evaluation, there now is a monopoly on power in Russia, and a monopoly rots and does not allow the development of the democratic process.
The former Soviet leader also criticized the ruling United Russia party. In his words, it reminds him of the very worst copy of the CPSU. It is unfortunate that todays leaders are not very modern, Gorbachev said. He did not rule out that eventually he and his colleagues at the Russian social democratic movement will start their own party. When we created the movement, we had with us people who could provide financial support. I think well grow the movement so that it becomes more powerful, and one on which you create a party, Gorbachev said.
Speaking about the Yukos case, Gorbachev said that in his opinion Natalya Vasilyeva, the assistant head of the Hamovnichesky court, was telling the truth when she described how Judge Viktor Danilkin determined the sentence in the second case "by taking dictation over the phone. I believe it. I believe her completely. I think this should be investigated. We need to find out who was this person (who dictated the Khodorkovsky and Lebedev sentences), Gorbachev said.
He added: Theres a lot thats embarrassing in the Khodorkovsky case. On the one hand, it seems that (Khodorkovsky and Lebedev) should be released. However, if they spilled blood while resolving economic issues, then someone has to answer for it. If not, one they have already served their sentences it will be too late. The most important thing here is that there is no fair legal assessment.
In early February, Gorbachev said that Putin is unlikely not participate in the 2012 presidential elections, in order that he may return to the Kremlin in 2018. Most likely he wont not take part in the presidential elections. Two terms are enough. Well, he had two terms, Gorbachev said in an interview with British television channel SkyNews. What will they do in the future? Perhaps he and Medvedev will swap again, joked Gorbachev.
In his own words - Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Novosti, June 24th, 2010:
Its always a great test for a politician. This is a difficult job, being president. Whoever from the very start suggests hes willing to serve two or three terms, thats usually somebody who either hasnt figured out what hes gotten himself into, or somebody whos not quite ready for this line of work.
Kasyanov: Russia will have a Tunisian script, not a Libyan one
In the case of mass protests, Vladimir Putin would not dare use force against rebels, said Mikhail Kasyanov, co-chairman of the Party of National Freedom (PARNAS). He predicts that in Russia events will evolve quickly into more of a Tunisian than a Libyan scenario. Theres a good chance that we can force Putin to implement the Constitution, said Kasyanov during a broadcast of Radio Echo of Moscow. He stressed that Putin is not a classic dictator.
Recent developments in North Africa have made the authorities understand the need for change, said Kasyanov. According to him, the unreliability of the Russian economic system, about which Deputy Prime Minister Alexei Kudrin now speaks openly, is now apparent to everyone. In recent speeches Mr. Kudrin spoke of the necessity of holding fair elections. Not everyone in the government thinks we need to tighten the screws, said Kasyanov. According to him, public sentiment has also changed, and everyone is sick of the current government.
If the upcoming parliamentary and presidential elections are once again imitative, the December riots on Manege Square could be repeated on a larger scale, warned the former prime minister.
The authorities cannot refuse to register the Party of National Freedom, said Kasyanov. At this time regional branches of the party are holding conferences. In order to register (for national elections), they are required to establish 57 branches with a minimum membership of 450 each. According to Kasyanov, the requirements of the improper and unconstitutional law on political parties will be fully implemented, and the government will be forced to register PARNAS.
Western leaders need to demand free elections in Russia, said Kasyanov. According to him, excessive pragmatism in (the Wests) relations with the Russian leadership hurts us all. Elected leaders of the West mustnt remain silent when the Russian government violates its international obligations, said the PARNAS co-chairman. When foreign politicians come to hug and kiss the a pre-ordained winner of the election its ridiculous and disgusting, said Kasyanov.
The Party of National Freedom was established last December. On February 5th, the Moscow branch of the party held its founding conference. Planned for the spring is the formation of regional offices and the submission of documents to the Justice Ministry. On April 16th, it will hold a mass rally to demand the registration of PARNAS.
The leaders of the democratic coalition signed an agreement on joint participation in parliamentary and presidential elections. They plan to nominate a single presidential candidate from among the co-chairs of the party: In addition to Kasyanov, there is Boris Nemtsov, a member of the Solidarity bureau, Vladimir Milov, the leader of Democratic Choice, and Vladimir Ryzhkov, the head of the Republican party of Russia.