By Ria Novosti
Ex-Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev is welcome to join but not head the grassroots protest group League of Voters, the organization’s founders said.
Chiming in on the anti-government protests that spawned the League of Voters, Gorbachev, 80, said on Thursday he would agree to become the leader of the group if invited.
“Mikhail Sergeyevich, there’s nothing to head, the League has a horizontal structure. But we’re glad to have you onboard, welcome,” blogger Rustem Agadamov, a co-founder of the organization, wrote on his Twitter later in the day.
He was echoed by another co-founder, journalist Sergei Parkhomenko, who said “there’s no job as the head of the league.”
Gorbachev can help attract funding for the group, talk to press or just work on his own projects under the League’s brand, Agadamov said.
The League of Voters was founded by 16 prominent public figures after the parliamentary elections in December, which critics say were rigged. It was instrumental in organizing mass anti-government rallies that followed the vote, and is working to prepare monitors for the upcoming presidential elections.
Gorbachev has mostly refrained from criticizing the government during the two presidencies of current Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in 2000-2008, but has increasingly attacked the Kremlin in recent months, accusing it of fostering political stagnation. He has, however, not allied with protesters before.