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Mikhail Gorbachev

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About Mikhail Gorbachev

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  1. Khrushchev's secret speech at the XXth Party Congress caused a political and psychological shock throughout the country. At the Krai Communist Party committee I had the opportunity to read the Central Committee information bulletin, which was practically a verbatim report of Khrushchev's words. I fully supported Khrushchev's courageous step. I did not conceal my views and defended them publicly. But I noticed that the reaction of the apparatus to the report was mixed; some people even seemed confused. I am convinced that history will never forget Khrushchev's denunciation of Stalin's personal
  2. Europe is indeed a common home where geography and history have closely interwoven the destinies of dozens of countries and nations. Of course, each of them has its own problem, and each wants to live its own life, to follow its own traditions. Therefore, developing the metaphor, one may say: the home is common, that is true, but each family has its own apartment, and there are different entrances too. The concept of a 'common European home' suggests above all a degree of integrity, even if its states belong to different social systems and opposing military-political alliances. One can ment
  3. In March-April 1985 we found ourselves facing a crucial, and I confess, agonizing choice. When I agreed to assume the office of the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union Central Committee, in effect the highest State office at that time, I realized that we could no longer live as before and that I would not want to remain in that office unless I got support in undertaking major reforms. It was clear to me that we had a long way to go. But of course, I could not imagine how immense were our problems and difficulties. I believe no one at that time could foresee or predict
  4. I remember well the winter evening when Grandfather returned home (after being arrested by the KGB). His closest relatives sat around the hand-planed rustic table and Pantelei Yefimovich recounted all that had been done to him. Trying to get him to confess, the investigator blinded him with a glaring lamp, beat him unmercifully, broke his arms by squeezing them in the door. When these 'standard' tortures proved futile, they invented a new one: they put a wet sheepskin coat on him and sat him on a hot stove. Pantelei Yefimovich endured this too, as well as much else. Those who were imprisoned
  5. As a child, I still found vestiges of the way of life that was typical for the Russian village before the Revolution and collectivization. Adobe huts with an earthen floor, and no beds at all: people slept either on planks fixed above the stove or on the pech (the Russian stove), with sheepskin coats or rags for a cover. In winter, the calf would be brought into the hut from the freezing cold. In spring, hens and often geese would be brought inside, there to expedite hatching. From a present-day point of view people lived in wretched poverty. The worst part was the back-breaking labour. When o
  6. Ronald Reagan was a statesman who, despite all disagreements that existed between our countries at the time, displayed foresight and determination to meet our proposals halfway and change our relations for the better, stop the nuclear race, start scrapping nuclear weapons, and arrange normal relations between our countries. I do not know how other statesmen would have acted at that moment, because the situation was too difficult. Reagan, whom many considered extremely rightist, dared to make these steps, and this is his most important deed.
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