MOSCOW Less than a month before Russias presidential election, former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev used a public lecture to both criticize the candidacy of Vladimir Putin and offer his services to monitor the vote.
Speaking at Moscow's International University, Gorbachev said Putin had done some useful things but that the current prime minister now the presidential frontrunner had "exhausted" his reserves of leadership of the country.
Instead, the 80-year-old Gorbachev said it was time to find solid candidates for the Duma, the Russian parliament, instead of appointments through nepotism.
A Nobel peace prize winner who served from 1985 to 1991 as the last leader of the Soviet Union, Gorbachev also said he was available to help run the Voters' League, which was set up last month to promote a fair election and monitor against fraud at the polls. It was the Voters' League coined the slogan for fair elections, which was used at the rallies that brought tens of thousands out onto the streets last weekend.
Yes, I would have agreed to head the League of Voters. If the situation does not change after the elections, we will go out into the streets, Gorbachev said.
The monitoring group said it had received a strange letter from Putin's team, requesting that it send a representative it could work with during the election campaign.
Last month, while in London, Gorbachev criticized Russia's electoral system, saying it needed a major readjustment.
Read the full article in Russian by Maria Makutina
Photo - Veni Markovski
*Newsbites are digest items, not direct translations