Former Soviet leader warns Russian president not to be a 'bighead' because 'that is what ruined me'Wisdom from one of the few great leaders of the 20th Century. I've always loved Mikhail Gorbachev. Russians will someday regret the way they've treated him. I have always LOVED Mikhail Gorbachev, because he helped to dismantle the Soviet Union, and to protect the entire world through that transition which could have been catastrophic. I also agree with his criticism of the United States and Europe. We were largely responsible for creating the conditions that led to Vladimir Putin's popularity.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia was wide open to friendship with the United States and Europe. Then their economy collapsed, the former Soviet peoples were plunged into dire suffering, and what did we do to help? Almost nothing. I was actually ashamed of the West. It was a huge mistake to do this to our eastern family who wanted our friendship, and more assistance to emerge from the chaos successfully, to have a free, market-driven economy. Instead, we continued to pour billions and trillions into more weapons and wars, and to move our weapons closer to Russia, after they felt betrayed.
I hope we're not doing the same to Ukraine. Our overall response to both Russia and Ukraine, must be far different than we've done in the past. So far, our response to Ukraine seems a bit better than what I would expect, but it isn't robust enough. And while protecting Ukraine, the West needs to assure Russia that we do not wish to have an adversarial relationship. It's ridiculous!
By Sebastian Whale
Mikhail Gorbachev has said Vladimir Putin thinks of himself as "second only to God" after complaining the Kremlin leader never seeks his advice.
The 83-year-old former Soviet leader made the comments as he launched his new book, After the Kremlin, in which he praises the former KGB spy for playing a major role in stabilising Russia and acting "in the interests of the majority".
However, Mr Gorbachev used the book launch to say: "He has started picking up the same illness which I suffered from earlier – self-confidence. Don't get a big head. That is what ruined me."
The former president said apart from a short meeting in June, Mr Putin's aides had repeatedly declined his offer to meet. Mr Gorbachev recently warned of the potential for a new Cold War 25 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall.
"I need to participate, and I will. Nobody will shut my mouth, even though people wanted me to emigrate. I don't want to leave, let those people leave," he added.
Joe Biden, the US vice president suggested on Friday that Russia faces "rising costs and greater isolation" if it continued to violate ceasefire agreements with Ukraine, after holding talks with President Petro Poroshenko in Kiev.
Mr Biden was visiting Ukraine on the first anniversary of the start of mass protests culminating in former President Victor Yanukovych relinquishing power. More than 4,300 people have died in eastern Ukraine since April.
Alongside respecting the ceasefire, Mr Biden said Russia should allow Ukraine to restore order over its own borders and remove "illegal military formations, military equipment and militants".
Prior to the vice president's visit to Ukraine, Russian officials warned the US against selling arms to the government in Kiev.
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