Perestroika laid the groundwork for Putin's success in the office, according to Mikhail Gorbachev
It was perestroika that propelled Russia to a historic point of its history which makes impossible a return to the past, Mr. Gorbachev was quoted as saying by Swiss daily Tagblatt. Mr. Gorbachev agreed that perestroika was a dramatic event with some blunders in the process. The road to reforms is always a bumpy one. In his opinion, Russia will need more time to complete its transformation into a sustainable democracy. Despite all its flaws, perestroika was a breakthrough to freedom.
President Vladimir Putin put an end to chaos and established stability during his first presidency. Conditions for economic growth were put in place. Following his reelection last March, Mr. Putin delivered the President's address to the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation. The people were quite impressed by its contents. President Putin spoke about measures aimed at increasing incomes, pensions, and scholarships. He also spoke about modernization of manufacturing industry. He pointed out that Russia should use new technologies as a basis of its economic development in the postindustrial age. He raised extremely important issues relating to government programs for supporting small and medium-sized enterprises, and the fight against corruption and poverty.
According to Mr. Gorbachev, Vladimir Putin will secure his niche in history only if he persistently continues to carry out economic and social reforms. However, Mr. Gorbachev is very concerned about the policies of the present government.
Numerous flaws of the social reform for the replacement of in-kind benefits with cash payments sparked nationwide protests. The patience of the Russians has run dry, said Mr. Gorbachev referring to the rallies of pensioners that swept through the country in the last few months. Meanwhile, Mikhail Gorbachev is confident that Russia is not backsliding into totalitarianism. “Russia will never be a totalitarian state again partly because of perestroika”, as Mr. Gorbachev put it.
“I know very well what 'a president's team' stands for, I learned it from experience,” said Mr. Gorbachev. He believes that many of “the team” are only interested in making fast money during their time in office. “They should be thinking about Russia's future instead,” said he. “We should protect Mr. Putin from influence exerted on him by such people,” added he. Mr. Gorbachev also expressed concern over the state of the Russian media. In his opinion, these days it is difficult to get more or less complete and accurate coverage of the developments in Russia, especially if you watch the news on TV. Mr. Gorbachev is also concerned about some methods used by the Russian police and the judiciary.
The Ilyushin 20 (Il-20) military electronic reconnaissance aircraft of the Russian Air Force with 14 servicemen on board that went off radar screens off the coast of Syria was shot down by Syrian air defense systems over the Mediterranean Sea