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Gorbachev blasts Kremlin 'managed' democracy in Russia

Friday, 22 May 2009 - 5:50pm IST | Place: Moscow | Agency: PTI
Gorbachev said that up to that moment the elections in the country were "virtually an act of mandatory approval of the list (of candidates) compiled by the authorities".

Calling for a "serious reform" of the election system in Russia, former Soviet Union president Mikhail Gorbachev has said the present form of democracy "managed" by Kremlin in the post-Communist era has virtually restored the monopoly of the ruling party in the country.

"The electoral system has undergone immense revision in the interests of a particular party and in the interests of the authorities," the Father of the Soviet 'Perestroika' reforms said without naming prime minister Vladimir Putin or president Dmitry Medvedev.

Recalling the first democratic elections twenty years ago when the Communist party had lost its power, Gorbachev said that up to that moment the elections in the country were "virtually an act of mandatory approval of the list (of candidates) compiled by the authorities".

"Today I think, we are again returning back to the same thing," he said at a round table conference on the 20th anniversary of the first democratic elections of the Russian parliament.

Kremlin's policy of a "managed" democracy has resulted in the virtual monopoly of United Russia Party, which comprises of former Communist Party and Young Communist League functionaries and is headed by prime minister Putin, he said.

"Before our eyes a step-by-step monopolisation of the political system is taking place". 

Expressing concern over the ongoing financial and economic crisis, he, however, said that authoritarian approach was required in such situation.

"I think it would be a mistake to transform it into a 'common approach'. Concerning the crisis, there is a need for a reliable system of feedback to resolve it, which can be provided only by the democratic institutes," he said.

Criticising the formation of a special commission by Medvedev to prevent falsification of history, Gorbachev said the move can tarnish his reforms and blame the "rampant democracy" as a factor for the Soviet Union's collapse.

"The Glasnost (openness) simply gave the people an opportunity to speak out what they think and this forced the authorities to think differently," Gorbachev said in defence of his reforms.

Following the reform process initiated by Gorbachev, the ex-USSR was collapsed in 1991, liberating the Eastern and Central European countries and burying the decade-long Cold War between East and West.




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