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AFP, December 8, 2003

Gorbachev warns Russia's leaders against "Soviet Communist-type situation"

Former Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev on Monday deplored the defeat of Russia's reformist pro-business parties in parliamentary elections and warned against single-party domination leading to a "Soviet Communist-type situation."

Commenting on results that saw the Union of Right Forces (SPS) and Yabloko parties virtually eliminated from parliament in a nationwide poll Sunday, Gorbachev said he "would have preferred the entire spectrum to be represented in the State Duma (lower house)," the Interfax news agency reported.

SPS and Yabloko both failed to break through the five percent threshold that allows them to secure a share of half the chamber's 450 seats, and are likely to win only a handful of the remaining 225 seats determined on a single-member basis.

With 90 percent of the ballots counted, results Monday indicated that the pro-Kremlin United Russia party could win an absolute majority in the lower house of parliament.

Gorbachev warned that "if (the house) is one-sided, this could lead to big mistakes" and warned that "a Soviet Communist-type situation must be prevented."

The former Communist leader attributed United Russia's success to "a certain tendency to the consolidation of society" and to "the enormous role of the use of administrative levers."

"This of course was largely achieved by the president (Vladimir Putin) who mobilised resources to support United Russia," he noted.

However "United Russia must think carefully, ... and serve as a pillar for the president," he said.

Gorbachev, who resigned as president in December 1991 as the Soviet Union collapsed around him, has voiced cautious support for Putin's policies, while issuing occasional warnings on human rights, social and environmental issues.


See also:

State Duma elections 2003

AFP, December 8, 2003

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