Mikhail Gorbachev, the last Soviet leader, was shocked and bewildered by the Ukraine conflict in the months before he died and psychologically crushed in recent years by Moscow’s worsening ties with Kyiv, his interpreter said on Thursday.
Pavel Palazhchenko, who worked with the late Soviet president for 37 years and was at his side at numerous U.S.-Soviet summits, spoke to Gorbachev a few weeks ago by phone and said he and others had been struck by how traumatised he was by events in Ukraine.
“It’s not just the (special military) operation that started on Feb. 24, but the entire evolution of relations between Russia and Ukraine over the past years that was really, really a big blow to him. It really crushed him emotionally and psychologically,” Palazhchenko told Reuters in an interview. [Continue reading…]
Former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev is set to be buried Saturday in a ceremony falling short of a state funeral that will not be attended by Russian President Vladimir Putin or top international leaders.
The relatively low-key funeral reflects the Kremlin’s uneasiness about the legacy of Gorbachev, who has been revered in the West for ending the Cold War but despised by many at home for the collapse of the Soviet Union and the ensuing economic meltdown that plunged millions into poverty.
Putin privately laid flowers at Gorbachev’s coffin on Thursday because of what the Kremlin described as the president’s busy schedule that would prevent him from attending the funeral. [Continue reading…]