Two days after Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin won an unprecedented third presidential term, former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev has criticized the vote.
In an interview with Russia's Ekho Moskvy radio on March 6, the 81-year-old Gorbachev said the country's elected leaders should serve two five- or six-year terms, "and no more."
He also said he was "stunned" by what he called the mobilization of protesters bused into Moscow to celebrate Putin's victory even before final tallies in the contest on March 4 had been announced.
Gorbachev declined to say whom he had voted for, saying only that none of the candidates looked "acceptable" to him.
But he urged Russians not to indulge in "whimpering and disappointments," saying Russia was witnessing the beginning of a "new era."
With reporting by Interfax