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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Gorbachev Quits Party Leader Post

Former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev has resigned as leader of the small Social Democratic Party of Russia after falling out with its chairman, Samara governor Konstantin Titov.

Gorbachev announced his resignation at a meeting of the party's political council in Moscow Saturday after "losing political and human faith" in Titov, a source in the party quoted Gorbachev as saying.

The source said that Gorbachev praised the initial progress made since the party's registration in 2002, but then attacked Titov's behavior ahead of last year's State Duma elections, Interfax reported. During the run-up to the December elections, "intrigues emerged, some project, which boiled down to Titov trying to privatize the party," the source quoted Gorbachev as saying.

SDPR failed to either collect the required 200,000 signatures for the December 2003 elections or pay the 37.5 million-ruble ($1.25 million) fee to get on the party list ballot.

Despite his resignation, the former Soviet leader decided to stay on in the party, but warned that the SDPR will not "develop properly" if his criticism is not heeded. SDPR's next congress in September is expected to confirm Gorbachev's resignation.

Gorbachev would only confirm his resignation when asked by Interfax to comment on the event.

Titov responded to Gorbachev's criticism Sunday by noting that all but two members of the 29-member political council voted for the resignation.

Titov said his differences with Gorbachev were "more personal than public" and said the SDPR will focus on coordinating its activities with the Party of Social Justice and the next Duma elections in 2007.

Gorbachev plans to attend former U.S. President George H.W. Bush's 80th birthday party on June 12 in the United States, Interfax quoted Gorbachev's aide Vladimir Polyakov as saying.

Bush asked Gorbachev, 73, to sky-jump with him to mark the event, but Gorbachev declined. "Gorbachev said he'd rather greet Bush on the ground, with flowers," Polyakov said.