Moscow: Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev says Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has "exhausted himself" as Russia`s leader and his inability to change the Kremlin`s political system might prompt more massive protests.
Putin, who was president in 2000-2008, is almost certain to win the upcoming election in March despite recent opposition street rallies, Russia`s largest since the Soviet collapse.
Gorbachev said Thursday that if Putin does not change the system he built "everything will end up on city squares."
Gorbachev recently called on the Kremlin to annul the results of the December parliamentary election that triggered the rallies.
Gorbachev, whose 1985-91 rule ended with the Soviet collapse, remains admired abroad but is regarded as insignificant at home.