Moscow: The last Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev on Friday said he was ashamed of Vladimir Putin and
Dmitry Medvedev`s career was over, in a stinging rebuke to the
Russian ruling duo over their response to protests.
Gorbachev`s criticism came in an interview with the
opposition Novaya Gazeta paper -- which he part owns -- on the
eve of a new wave of protests over the outcome of
fraud-tainted December 4 parliamentary polls.
"This is shameful and embarrassing. I, for example, am
ashamed," Gorbachev said in reference to a television
appearance last week in which Putin compared the white ribbons
worn by Russian protesters to condoms.
"I feel tied to Putin in the sense that at first, when he
came to power, I actively supported him everywhere -- both
here and abroad. And now look."
Former KGB agent Putin and Medvedev -- suspected of more
liberal leanings when he replaced his mentor as president in
2008 -- have both dismissed the fraud allegations and linked
protests to shadowy funding from the West.
The vote saw their ruling United Russia party narrowly
retain its majority despite allegations of widespread voter
irregularities in Moscow and ballot stuffing across other
regions of Russia.
The so-called "ruling tandem" intends to swap jobs after
March presidential elections in arrangement where Medvedev is
to become Putin`s Prime Minister.
But Gorbachev said Medvedev had lost his credibility as a
politician by refusing to question the election results.
"He said that he had no complaints or doubts about the
elections. And with that, Dmitry Anatolyevich I think drew the
curtain on his career."
Saturday`s protests in Moscow are expected to draw tens
of thousands of people under a broad call for new
parliamentary elections and an end to election fraud.
Medvedev convened the first session of Parliament this