BERLIN — As Russia gets ready for another round of elections whose outcomes are in little doubt, Mikhail Gorbachev, the Soviet Union’s final leader, condemned on Tuesday what he called “imitation” democratic institutions in his country and he said that Russia’s current leaders should not expect to maintain support forever.
Twenty years after Gorbachev presided over the dismantling of the Soviet Union, he has become increasingly critical of Russia’s government. Since Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin announced in September that he planned to move back into the presidency, the country’s top job, Gorbachev’s criticism has only grown.
“We must ensure that all democratic institutions really function, not as an imitation, as is now the case. The parliament, justice, the courts,” Gorbachev, 80, said in an interview in Berlin in his foundation’s office just steps from the once-walled-off Brandenburg Gate.
Russia will elect its parliament Dec. 4. In March, it will pick a new president. And although Putin’s United Russia party will undoubtedly retain legislative power, “it could happen that before the presidential election the situation could shift somewhat,” Gorbachev said.