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Putin 'castrated' democracy in Russia — Gorbachev

MOSCOW, August 18 (RIA Novosti) - Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has killed off democracy in Russia, former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev said on Thursday.

Speaking to the BBC on the eve of the twentieth anniversary of the 1991 unsuccessful coup attempt that ultimately led to the collapse of the Soviet Union, Gorbachev said Russia had largely failed in its attempt to build democracy.

"Putin and his team are for stability, but stability kills development and results in stagnation," Gorbachev said.

"The electoral system we had was nothing remarkable but they have literally castrated it."

The comment was the latest in a series of attacks on Putin by Gorbachev.

Gorbachev, 80, told The Guardian earlier this week that Putin was obstructing President Dmitry Medvedev's attempts to implement a modernization program.

"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."

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.

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