Moscow: The last leader of the Soviet Union,
Mikhail Gorbachev on Wednesday launched a stinging attack on Russia`s
ruling elite, claiming the Kremlin had banned him from setting
up a political party.
In an interview with Novaya Gazeta newspaper ahead of his
80th birthday on March 2, Gorbachev said he wanted to set up a
social democratic party but the Kremlin`s chief ideologue
Vladislav Surkov warned it would not be registered.
"With my friends, I have an idea to set up a party. When
Surkov found out, he asked: `Why do you need this? In any
case, we are not going to register your party`," Gorbachev
Surkov, Kremlin first deputy chief of staff, is credited
with creating the centralised power system that has marked
Russia under the rule of Vladimir Putin as well as coining the
phrase "sovereign democracy".
"I replied: we will create a movement," Gorbachev said.
"And we created it. But a movement is not a party and does not
take part in elections. We need to have a social democratic
party that does not depend on the authorities."
He accused the ruling class in Russia of showing
indifference to its people and also lashed out at billionaire
Roman Abramovich who has built up his fortune while staying
well away from politics.
"They (the ruling classes) are rich and debauched. Their
ideal is to be something close to Abramovich. I scorn this
idea. I am ashamed of this rich debauchery. I am ashamed for
us and the country."
Two decades after the collapse of the Soviet Union,
Gorbachev remains a figure more admired in the West than in
Russia, where many still blame him for triggering the collapse
of a world power.