Mikhail Gorbachev at a concert in his honor in Moscow this February (epa)
August 15, 2006 -- Former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev has called on Russians to pay heed to President Vladimir Putin's opinion when they elect a new leader in 2008.
In an interview published today by the Russian daily "Nezavisimaya gazeta," Gorbachev said it was "important to hear who the president will name" as his preferred successor.
The Russian Constitution requires Putin to step down after the end of his second term, in 2008.
Russia Beyond 2008
President Putin is mulling his political future (epa)
THE 2008 QUESTION: President Vladimir Putin's second term of office ends in the spring of 2008. Since the Russian Constitution bars him from seeking a third consecutive term, this event threatens to present a crisis in a country that has a history of managed power transitions. Already, Russian politics are dominated by the ominous 2008 question. RFE/RL's Washington office hosted a briefing to discuss the prospects of Putin seeking a third term. The featured speakers were RFE/RL Communications Director Don Jensen and political scientist Peter Reddaway of George Washington University.