MOSCOW Former Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov on Sunday denounced a decision to bar him from running in a March 2 election for president, saying it showed that Russia was sliding towards dictatorship.
"The country has stepped onto the slippery slope towards thievish totalitarianism," Kasyanov said in a statement e-mailed to news agencies after the decision of the Election Commission was announced.
"Violence and dictatorship are the main ideas of this regime," he said, adding that he was in no doubt that President Vladimir Putin took the decision to bar him from the vote.
"This system, like the U.S.S.R., does not allow any improvement from within or from without," he said. "Despite its seeming durability it will inevitably collapse under the weight of its own vices and crimes." (Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge, editing by Richard Balmforth)