MOSCOW, March 30 (RIA Novosti) – New protests will hit Russia unless the country’s leadership fails to implement reforms, former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev warned on Saturday.
“The authorities have managed to beat down the protest wave but the problems remain. If nothing changes, they will escalate, which means that Russian society will make a new attempt to move to real democracy,” Gorbachev said during an open lecture at RIA Novosti in Moscow.
The protest movement emerged in Russia after the December 2011 parliamentary elections but suffered a decline after Vladimir Putin’s undisputed victory in the presidential elections in May 2012.
Gorbachev, 82, who has expressed sympathy with the Russian protest movement and criticized President Vladimir Putin on many occasions, said the Russian political system needs reforms and development, otherwise, stagnation is inevitable.
“Vladimir Putin’s second presidential term opened possibilities for the implementation of a new strategy but the leadership followed a different path. Nothing changed during Medvedev’s presidency,” said Gorbachev, whose perestroika and glasnost reforms eventually led to the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.