MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia needs a change of leadership and free elections to stop it sliding backwards 20 years after a coup that hastened the end of the Soviet Union, former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev said on Wednesday. At a news conference marking the anniversary of the failed 1991 coup by hardline communists who opposed his "perestroika" reforms, Gorbachev avoided direct criticism of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin but said more democracy was needed in Russia. "We need a change in the top leadership," Gorbachev, 80, said when asked who should be Russia's next president. "There comes a time when you have to get out of a rut."