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Medvedev rebuffs Gorbachev's warning of 'Egyptian scenario' in Russia. Who's right?

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Gorbachev has grown increasingly outspoken about Russia's vulnerabilities to Egypt-like unrest, warning in the past that Russia could collapse without sweeping democratic reforms. He describes Russia as a throwback to Soviet times, with muzzled media, sham elections, a Potemkin parliament, a Kremlin monopoly of power, and a corrupt ruling party that's a "bad copy" of the former Soviet Communist Party.

In a Moscow press conference Monday, Gorbachev slammed the political system built by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin as an elaborate fraud. "We have everything – a parliament, courts, a president, and a prime minister, but these all are to a great extent just an imitation," he said. In another interview he said that Russia's democratic facade is a "cover for arbitrary rule and [official] abuse ... society has been broken, it's accepted the falsehoods."

Russia is heading into an intense political season, with regional polls next month, elections for a new Duma (parliament) in December, and a presidential vote in just over a year from a field that has not yet declared a single candidate.

Recent regional elections have looked so unfair and blatantly stage-managed that even Medvedev criticized them, although – in what seems to be a pattern with Medvedev – he took no further steps.

Democracit reform needed, says finance minister

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