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Russia

Gorbachev To Putin: Your Time Is Up

The 80-year-old former Soviet leader says Vladimir Putin's best days are behind him. Putin, Russia's current prime minister, is hoping to regain the presidency in next month's election.

Gorbachev will be 81 next month (Veni Markovski)
Gorbachev will be 81 next month (Veni Markovski)

MOSCOW – Less than a month before Russia's presidential election, former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev used a public lecture to both criticize the candidacy of Vladimir Putin and offer his services to monitor the vote.

Speaking at Moscow's International University, Gorbachev said Putin had done "some useful things' but that the current prime minister now the presidential frontrunner had "exhausted" his reserves of leadership of the country.

Instead, the 80-year-old Gorbachev said it was time to find "solid candidates' for the Duma, the Russian parliament, instead of appointments through nepotism.

A Nobel peace prize winner who served from 1985 to 1991 as the last leader of the Soviet Union, Gorbachev also said he was available to help run the Voters' League, which was set up last month to promote a fair election and monitor against fraud at the polls. It was the Voters' League coined the slogan "for fair elections," which was used at the rallies that brought tens of thousands out onto the streets last weekend.

"Yes, I would have agreed to head the League of Voters. If the situation does not change after the elections, we will go out into the streets," Gorbachev said.

The monitoring group said it had received a "strange letter" from Putin's team, requesting that it send a representative it could work with during the election campaign.

Last month, while in London, Gorbachev criticized Russia's electoral system, saying it needed a "major readjustment."

Read the full article in Russian by Maria Makutina

Photo - Veni Markovski

*Newsbites are digest items, not direct translations

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Society

Parenthood And The Pressure Of Always Having To Be Doing Better

As a father myself, I'm now better able to understand the pressures my own dad faced. It's helped me face my own internal demands to constantly be more productive and do better.

Photo of a father with a son on his shoulders

Father and son in the streets of Madrid, Spain

Ignacio Pereyra*

-Essay-

When I was a child — I must have been around eight or so — whenever we headed with my mom and grandma to my aunt's country house in Don Torcuato, outside of Buenos Aires, there was the joy of summer plans. Spending the day outdoors, playing soccer in the field, being in the swimming pool and eating delicious food.

But when I focus on the moment, something like a painful thorn appears in the background: from the back window of the car I see my dad standing on the sidewalk waving us goodbye. Sometimes he would stay at home. “I have to work” was the line he used.

Maybe one of my older siblings would also stay behind with him, but I'm sure there were no children left around because we were all enthusiastic about going to my aunt’s. For a long time in his life, for my old man, those summer days must have been the closest he came to being alone, in silence (which he liked so much) and in calm, considering that he was the father of seven. But I can only see this and say it out loud today.

Over the years, the scene repeated itself: the destination changed — it could be a birthday or a family reunion. The thorn was no longer invisible but began to be uncomfortable as, being older, my interpretation of the events changed. When words were absent, I started to guess what might be happening — and we know how random guessing can be.

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