Gorbachev Interview: I Am Truly and Deeply Concerned – part 1

Published on Spiegel Online International, by Matthias Schepp and Britta Sandberg, Jan 16, 2015 (Photo Gallery).

In a SPIEGEL interview, former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev discusses the dangers of poor relations between Russia and the West in the Ukraine crisis, saying there is a danger that things could get worse. Germany, he says, has a significant role to play … //

… SPIEGEL: The Ukraine conflict is a personal one for you — and not just for political reasons.

  • Gorbachev: That is correct, and anything else would be strange. I am, after all, half Ukrainian. My mother was Ukrainian and my wife Raisa was too. I spoke my very first words in Ukrainian, and the first songs I heard were Ukrainian. The southern Russian region of Stavropol, where I come from and where I once served as party chief, had a partnership during Soviet times with Ukraine’s Donetsk region, where this terrible war is raging today. Back then we offered each other mutual help. We were friends and we lived in one state. Still, even today I have friends and relatives in Ukraine — as do most Russians.

SPIEGEL: As general secretary of the Communist Party, you fought for glasnost (openness) and perestroika (restructuring) in your country. Has everything that you pushed for during your political life fallen into ruin under Putin?

  • Gorbachev: I take an entirely different view. Glasnost isn’t dead and neither is democracy. A new generation has grown up in Russia under entirely different conditions – and it is much freer than in the Soviet Union. The clock can no longer be turned back. Nothing has fallen into ruin.

SPIEGEL: Yet Russian leadership is more authoritarian than it has been in a long time.

  • Gorbachev: What do you mean by “a long time”?

SPIEGEL: Since pre-Gorbachev times in the Soviet Union. There are once again limits on the freedom of opinion and the press, and elections aren’t free.

  • Gorbachev: Then we have the same view of things. Since then, I have become an old man and I have a long journey behind me. When I became a member of the Communist Party, I wrote an essay called: “Stalin, our war glory, Stalin inspires us, the youth.” Today I support those who fight against venerating Stalin.

SPIEGEL: Putin is limiting democracy, but a majority still appears to be satisfied with his leadership. Why? … //

… SPIEGEL: In a farewell speech before you left the Kremlin at the end of 1991, you emphasized the successes of your policies and said that no one living in neighboring countries needed to fear Russian troops any longer. Now, that fear is back.

  • Gorbachev: Unfortunately, we forget the things that history teaches us.

SPIEGEL: Whose fault is that?

  • Gorbachev: You’re asking me the eternal question of who is responsible: the wife or the mother-in-law (laughs). Seriously though: Russia and the West both bear responsibility, if to a different degree. No one has displayed an understanding for the seriousness of the situation.

SPIEGEL: Who carries the greater responsibility for the Ukraine conflict?

  • Gorbachev: Casting blame isn’t helpful in this highly dangerous crisis. But I do want to be clear about a few things. In November 1990, at the Conference for Security and Cooperation in Paris, the talk was of a new peaceful world order. George Bush, Sr. and I were especially active in promoting this. But nothing came of it — a demilitarization of politics didn’t happen. Instead, a dangerous winner’s mentality became widespread in America. I criticize this attitude every time I visit the United States. I remind people of how John F. Kennedy took a stand against the demonization of people in the Soviet Union and said that a true peace could not be a Pax americana, that peace could not be dictated by America. There is either peace for all or there is no peace.

SPIEGEL: Did America not emerge as the victor of the Cold War?

  • Gorbachev: Would America have been able to achieve these massive changes without Moscow, without us? No! We showed at the time what is possible if we work together: We solved regional conflicts, we achieved German reunification, the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Eastern Europe, nuclear disarmament. Unfortunately, America then started building a global empire, a mega empire.

SPIEGEL: When did America begin down that path?

  • Gorbachev: You know yourselves. When the Soviet Union fell, those who didn’t wish us well shed crocodile tears as they rubbed their hands together beneath the table. The Americans began by surrounding Russia with so-called rings of defense — NATO’s eastward expansion. NATO intervened militarily in the Yugoslavian civil war without the consent of the United Nations. That was a precedent-setting case. All that triggered a backlash in Russia. No Kremlin leader can ignore something like that.

(full interview text).

Part 2: Sanctions Are not an Instrument that Should Be Used.


The attack on the cartoonists’ office was a disciplined professional attack of the kind associated with highly trained special forces; yet the suspects who were later corralled and killed seemed bumbling and unprofessional. It is lik two different sets of people,” – Ron Paul, former US congressman about Charlie Hebdo, found on Tweets Zain Khan ‏@ZKhanOfficial, Jan 16 scroll down to the picture of Zain Khan:
What Videos Tell Us About Charlie Hebdo Paris Attack Gunmen, 4.42 min, uploaded by Sky News, Jan 7, 2015;
(See also: Ron Paul Institute is just asking: Was Charlie Hebdo attack a “false flag”? on Salon, by LUKE BRINKER, Jan 15, 2015: (The) Institute chaired by former congressman publishes column asserting U.S. may have carried out Paris attack);

Freedom Rider: Charlie Hebdo, Je suis white people, on Intrepid Report, by Margaret Kimberley, Jan 16, 2015: Don’t kill white people. After all is said and done, the Charlie Hebdo outrage, the hashtags, and the million person marches amount to that simple but very powerful dictum. In the eyes of the governments that do most of the killing on the planet and the corporate media who act as their scribes, there is nothing worse than targeting even a handful of white people for death …;

Policy shaped by power in world burdened by grief, on ZNet (first on al-Araby ), by Vijay Prashad, Jan 16, 2015;

Ruin Is Our Future, on Dissident Voice, by Paul Craig Roberts / January 16, 2015: Neoconservatives arrayed in their Washington offices are congratulating themselves on their success in using the Charlie Hebdo affair to reunite Europe with Washington’s foreign policy. No more French votes with the Palestinians against the Washington-Israeli position. No more growing European sympathy with the Palestinians. No more growing European opposition to launching new wars in the Middle East. No more calls from the French president to end the sanctions against Russia …;

Après la tragédie, les armes contre notre ennemi, dans politis.fr, par Le Yeti, le 12 janvier 2015: Après l’émotion et l’indignation compréhensibles, soulevées par l’attentat contre Charlie-Hebdo et ses tragiques prolongations, il est plus que temps de tenter de restaurer une paix civile ébranlée. Terrasser notre ennemi, d’accord, mais lequel et comment?

Social Security’s New Income Rules, on WSJ, by JENNIFER WATERS, Jan 11, 2015;

Tax assistance offered to qualifying parties, on globe gazeette, Jan 11, 2015;

A FRENCH SEPTEMBER 11TH? Who ordered the attack against Charlie Hebdo? on Voltairenet.org/en, by Thierry Meyssan, Jan 10, 2015: While many French react to the attack against Charlie Hebdo denouncing Islam and demonstrating in the streets, Thierry Meyssan points out that the jihadist interpretation is impossible. While it would be tempting for him to see it as an Al Qaeda or Daesh operation, he envisages another, much more dangerous hypothesis …;

EIN FRANZÖSISCHER 11. SEPTEMBER? Wer hat das Attentat auf Charlie Hebdo gesponsert? auf Voltairenet.org/de, von Thierry Meyssan, 8. Januar 2015;

UN 11-SEPTEMBRE FRANÇAIS ? Qui a commandité l’attentat contre Charlie Hebdo? on Voltairenet.org, par Thierry Meyssan, Jan 7, 2015: Alors que de nombreux Français réagissent à l’attentat commis contre Charlie Hebdo en dénonçant l’islamisme et en manifestant dans les rues, Thierry Meyssan souligne que l’interprétation jihadiste est impossible. Alors qu’il aurait tout intérêt à dénoncer lui aussi une opération d’Al-Qaïda ou de Daesh, il envisage une autre hypothèse, beaucoup plus dangereuse …;

New article on global labor theory, on ZBlogs, by Kim Scipes, Jan 7, 2015;

Activists Plastered the London Tube with Posters Telling People Their Jobs Suck, on VICE, by Charlotte England, Jan 5, 2015;

NEW YORK: The U.S. Basic Income Guarantee USBIG announces list of forty speakers for NABIG Congress, Feb. 26 – Mar. 1, 2015, on BIEN, Dec 19;

Special series – The Girls of the Taliban, 47.20 min, uploaded by Al Jazeera English, Dec 19, 2014: An insight into a girls’ school in Afghanistan which imposes an even stricter interpretation of Islam than the Taliban;

Fifty Years Ago: A Turning Point in Civil Rights, the 1960s and US Politics, on Truthout, by Ted Morgan, Nov 8, 2014;

in german: KenFM meint, 20.36 min, von marah posel am 5. November 2015 auf YouTube hochgeladen;

CHF-Euro-related Links:

Comments are closed.