Putin and cronies conceited, says Gorbachev

Mikhael Gorbachev, the former Soviet leader whose meeting with US President Ronald Reagan in Geneva in 1985 led to the end of the Cold War, has sharply criticized current Russian leaders Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Medvedev, calling them conceited for their remarks that they will decide between them who will run for president in 2012.

Putin, who stepped down after two terms and who helped his protege move into the job, is widely expected to run again. But Gorbachev says the Russian people should be deciding this and he is quoted by AP/Moscow Times as saying at a news conference that “It’s not Putin’s business. It must be decided by the nation in the elections, by those who would cast ballots.”

He also called for an investigation following remarks by a court spokesperson who says the judge had a verdict forced on him in the politically hot Khodorkovsky oil company case.