Former Soviet leader threatens more protests if the Russian prime minister does not ‘change the way things are’

Miriam Elder

February 9, 2012

Gorbachev, who called on Putin to step down as protests against his rule grew in December, said the powerful prime minister could face a sustained popular uprising against his rule similar to those seen in Arab capitals.


“He has exhausted himself,” Gorbachev said during a lecture at a Moscow university on Thursday. “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 first called for Putin to resign after tens of thousands of Russians took to the streets in mid-December demanding new elections in the wake of a contested parliamentary vote. As the 4 March presidential election approaches, protesters have turned their attention to preventing Putin’s return to the Kremlin.

Speaking to Russia’s Dozhd (Rain) TV earlier this week, Gorbachev, 81, said he did not foresee a violent crackdown on Russia’s protesters, noting that Putin and his advisers had too much to lose. Gorbachev oversaw the collapse of the Soviet Union and the violent crackdowns on public protests in some of the empire’s republics.

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