In an interview published today in "Novaya gazeta," Mikhail Gorbachev said the October 11 local elections, which were swept by the pro-Kremlin United Russia party amid massive claims of vote rigging, have damaged trust in the country's political institutions:
Allegations of vote rigging in the October 11 local elections have been backed up in some cases by videotaped evidence.
Gorbachev's comments are the second high-profile attack on the election results.
The election sparked a brief walkout in the State Duma by three parties, the ultranationalist Liberal Democrats (LDPR), the Communists, and A Just Russia. Although, as we have written here and here, this appears to have been inspired more by inter-clan battles in the Kremlin that by any concern for democratic practices.
It is still unclear what motivated Gorbachev, who has been largely supportive of the current regime, to take such a forceful public stand.
-- Brian Whitmore