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Mar 05,2008
Gorbachev calls for swing to democracy
by UPI

MOSCOW -- Mikhail Gorbachev, the leader who presided over the end of the Soviet Union, said Tuesday that Russia needs a more democratic electoral system.

In an article in Rossiiskaya Gazeta, Gorbachev urged the return of direct elections for governors, which President Vladimir Putin abolished in 2005. He said that Putin's efforts to consolidate power in the Kremlin could slow Russian efforts to grow and modernize.

Gorbachev's comments came in the wake of Sunday's presidential election, won in a landslide by Dmitry Medvedev, handpicked by Putin. While several candidates were on the ballot, no serious opponents were allowed to run.

"Strong power alone is ineffective, as popular support is also important," Gorbachev said. "Putin had sensed what the people wanted -- revival, stability and statehood -- and gave these things to them. Now more complex problems are in the offing, and a different level of feedback between state and society is needed."

Copyright © 2008, by United Press International. All Rights Reserved.

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Russia's autocrat by The San Diego Union-Tribune posted on Dec 14,2007

Medvedev sworn in as Russian president by UPI posted on May 07,2008

Gorbachev: Protests make matters worse by UPI posted on Apr 17,2007

Observers doubt Russian elections fair by UPI posted on Mar 03,2008

Putin: Not tempted by third term by UPI posted on Feb 14,2008

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