Mikhail Gorbachev accuses Russia of rolling back reform

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Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev has accused the Russian authorities of rolling back the democratic reforms he began in the 1980s.

In a speech to mark the forthcoming 25th anniversary of perestroika, he said the current government "wants to carry out its programme of modernisation practically without the people".

He criticised the ruling United Russia party, led by the Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, as "like the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, only worse" and accused authorities of creating a "monopoly of the party of power".

Gorbachev won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1990 for his efforts to bring about a peaceful end to the Cold War.

But he is widely disliked in Russia today for his role in bringing about the fall of the Soviet Union and for reforms such as his notorious anti-alcohol campaign.

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