Mikhail Gorbachev has launched his most blistering attack yet on Vladimir Putin's regime. The last Soviet leader, speaking at a press conference ahead of his 80th birthday, described Putin's Russia as a sham democracy, the Guardian reports. "We have everything—a parliament, courts, a president, a prime minister and so on," he said. "But it's more of an imitation."
Gorbachev slammed Putin's and President Dmitry Medvedev's comments that they would decide between them who would run for president in 2012, saying the remarks showed "incredible conceit" and the ruling United Russia party reminded him "of the worst copy of the Communist party." He predicted that the party's current dominance will eventually backfire: "The monopoly ends in rotting and hampers the development of democratic processes," he said. (Read more Vladimir Putin stories.)