April 26th, 2012

Gorbachev on AMANPOUR: Russia is “an imitation of democracy”

Amanpour host Christiane Amanpour interviewed former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev for Thursday, April 26th in an interview that focused primarily on Russia’s complicated transition towards democracy,  his views on Vladimir Putin, and the role of Boris Yeltsin – and officials from the George H.W. Bush Administration – in the rapid dissolution of the former Soviet Union.  This is the exchange on President-elect Vladimir Putin and democracy:

AMANPOUR:  In fact, you’ve called Putin’s democracy or the current Russian democracy an “imitation democracy.”   Do you think that President Putin is committed to any kind of reform, and will the people’s voice be heard under his presidency?

GORBACHEV (through translator):  I said on the eve of the elections that if the president and his entourage in the future will just continue to try to fool the people with this imitation, that will not succeed.  People are protesting and people might protest in much stronger ways if he just continues his old ways.  I think it’ll be hard for him, given his nature, to do this, but there is no other way for him but to move toward greater democracy in Russia, toward real democracy in Russia, because there is no other way for Russia to find a way out of its dead end, in which it is now.

Amanpour airs weekdays on CNN International at 3:00pm with a replay at 5:00pm Eastern in the U.S.  and at 21:00 CET, with a replay at 23:00 CET.  This program will also be available via www.cnn.com/amanpour on Friday, April 26.  The full transcript of this program may be found here later today.