MOSCOW - Former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev said Tuesday recent opposition protests in Moscow and St. Petersburg do nothing to advance stability in Russia.
The so-called March of Dissent rallies that saw at least 420 people arrested in the country's two largest cities were counter-productive, Gorbachev told the Novosti news agency.
"Somebody wants to complicate the situation in the country and push for instability," Gorbachev said. "We must learn our lesson, and tell those who arouse fear in society that it is unacceptable."
The 76-year-old Gorbachev is now head of a socio-economic and political think tank, and said current Russian President Vladimir Putin "has done a lot to turn the country towards modernization."
With regard to the recent U.S. State Department report critical of democracy and human rights in Russia, Gorbachev said criticism should be considered, but not made to be the final word.
"It is always possible to find reasons to criticize," Gorbachev said. "The United States could also be criticized."
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