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Gorbachev: Russia needs new leaders

Former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev on Saturday called for a new supreme authority in Russia and warned of the danger of a dictatorship.

"We need to draw up a new policy, form a new team, find new formulas to stop the country from collapsing even more," Gorbachev told France's TF1 television in an interview from Moscow. Gorbachev was barred from leaving Russia after refusing to testify at the trial of the outlawed Communist Party.

"What is required is a supreme council, created on a legitimate juridical basis and not by the whim of (Russian President) Boris Nikolayevich Yeltsin . . . the men that Russia needs and whom it trusts," Gorbachev said. Asked if he was referring to himself, the former Soviet leader replied: "It will be up to Russia to decide. I am not seeking any office."

Gorbachev said he did not fear arrest. Mikhail Poltoranin, Russia's information minister and deputy prime minister, had accused Gorbachev on Friday of seeking a political comeback in a Bolshevik-style coup. But Gorbachev said: "That's crazy. It's political schizophrenia."

The former Communist leader was forced to resign after the breakup of the Soviet Union.