Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev speaks at the 2007 unveiling ceremony of the Raisa Gorbachev Institute of Pediatric Hematology and Transplantology in St. Petersburg, Russia. The bas relief depicts Raisa, his wife, who died in 1999.
You’d think that Mikhail Gorbachev, having stood at several key historical junctions in the not-so-distant past, might have a few thoughts about his time in office and the turns of events that happened since—and Soviet Russia’s last leader does. Here, he lets the BBC’s Brian Hanrahan in on some of them. —KA
Mikhail Gorbachev is remarkably serene about his record as the last leader of the Soviet Union.
He says he expected a different outcome, but he would do it all over again.
It was Mr Gorbachev’s policies that sparked the 1989 revolutions which swept away communism in Eastern Europe.
But Russia, too, went through a metamorphosis - and after the loss of the Soviet empire two years later, it was the Soviet Union itself that fell apart.
The result is that for many Russians, Mr Gorbachev’s years in the Kremlin remain bitterly contentious.