Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev says Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has "exhausted himself" as Russia's leader and that his inability to change the Kremlin's political system might prompt more massive protests.
Putin, who was president in 2000-08, is almost certain to win the upcoming election in March despite recent opposition street rallies, Russia's largest since the Soviet collapse.
Gorbachev said Thursday that if Putin does not change the system he built "everything will end up on city squares."
Gorbachev recently called on the Kremlin to annul the results of the December parliamentary elections that triggered the rallies.
The former leader made the comment while addressing students at the International University in Moscow to celebrate the institution's 20th anniversary.