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Mikhail Gorbachev called on Prime Minister Vladimir Putin not to seek a third term as president next year.

He told the Moscow Echo radio: “I would advise Vladimir Putin to leave now. He has had three terms: two as president and one as prime minister. Three terms – that is enough.”

Mr Gorbachev, 80, has been virulently critical of the elections that took place on December 4. Soon after the poll he said that the results of the poll should be annulled and new elections held due to “numerous falsifications and rigging.”

"The results do not reflect the will of the people," Mr Gorbachev said at the time. "Therefore I think they [Russia’s leaders] can only take one decision – annul the results of the election and hold new ones."

The former president was considering attending the march in central Moscow today, to which thousands ventured. He was, however, unable to appear but passed his greetings to the protestors.

The Telegraph, "Mikhail Gorbachev Calls for Putin to Resign"