Gorbachev sets up Russia movement

Other News Materials 21 October 2007 08:40

(BBC) The leader of the former Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev, has founded a new political movement in Russia.

Mr Gorbachev told the founding congress of the Union of Social-Democrats that its mission was to fight against "negative tendencies" and corruption.

He said it supported President Vladimir Putin's efforts to reform Russia.

The new movement will not take part in general elections in December, which are expected to be won by the United Russia party, backed by Mr Putin .

"We are fighting for power, but only for power over people's minds," Mr Gorbachev told the 200 delegates gathered in Moscow.

Among the issues the movement would focus on, he said , were lack of real political debate, pressure being put on non-governmental groups and high levels of corruption.

A statement said that "the potential for free democratic choice and political competition is being limited... This is why social-democrats are uniting to fight for the values of freedom and fairness."

The congress elected the 76-year-old as the movement's leader unopposed.

Mr Gorbachev's far-reaching reforms of the Soviet system accelerated the collapse of communism in the 1980s.