On the eve of the 30th anniversary of USSR disintegration, former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev on Friday stressed the importance of continued dialogue amid tensions between Russia and the US.
Russia’s Interfax news agency carried a written interview with the 90-year-old Gorbachev, one day before the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Soviet Union, reported NHK World.
Many people in Russia blame Gorbachev for the collapse of the USSR. In a survey released by an independent polling firm on Friday, 63 per cent of respondents expressed regret over the dissolution, reported NHK World.
Gorbachev said the Soviet Union’s demise should not be blamed on his policy of perestroika, or restructuring, stressing that it allowed people to enjoy many rights and freedoms, such as those of speech and assembly.
The world’s first socialist country maintained one-party rule by the Communist Party from its foundation in 1922.
Gorbachev resigned as president of the USSR on December 25, 1991, ending its 69-year history.
In the interview, Gorbachev said that without his relations with Western leaders, including personal ties, the Cold War, the arms race and regional conflicts around the world could not have ended, reported NHK World.
Gorbachev also referred to the current international situation. He said serious talks on nuclear weapons and European security have finally begun, adding that it is necessary to expand the agenda and continue the dialogue even in difficult times.
Russia stands accused of allegedly deploying troops near the Ukrainian border in preparation for an invasion. Moscow has repeatedly denied those accusations, pointing to NATO’s military activity near Russia’s borders, which it deems to be a threat to its national security. Russia has also said it has the right to move forces within its own sovereign territory as it sees fit.
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