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Medvedev 'being outsmarted' by Putin ­ Gorbachev

MOSCOW, August 17 (RIA Novosti) - Russian President Dmitry Medvedev is being outmaneuvered by his powerful prime minister, Vladimir Putin, former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev has said.

In the latest of a series of attacks on Putin, Gorbachev told The Guardian that the ex-KGB officer was stopping Medvedev implementing his much touted modernization plan.

"The modernization plan put forward by the president in the economy, politics and other spheres is good but the president's possibilities are limited," Gorbachev said. "He's being outplayed and outsmarted by Putin, I see.

"[Putin] thinks we should stick with the status quo," he went on.

He also said that Putin had failed to take advantage of Russia's windfall from high oil prices.

"Those opportunities were not properly used and managed. Of course, now the issue is that we are facing a tide of social problems that will define the country's future, education, healthcare and other things. If we are not able to address those problems successfully, there will be no modernization in Russia. We need a different program from Putin's," he added.

Gorbachev, 80, was speaking ahead of Friday's 20th anniversary of the hard-line coup that eventually led to the collapse of the Soviet Union and the coming to power of Boris Yeltsin.

"I was probably too liberal and democratic as regards Yeltsin," Gorbachev said of his arch-nemesis. "I should have sent him as ambassador to Britain or maybe a former British colony."

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