Mikhail Gorbachev, who died this Tuesday at the age of 91, was prohibited from entering Ukraine as a result of the strong support he gave to the annexation of the Crimean peninsula by Russia in 2014. On the other hand, his position had recently become more ambiguous in relation to to the war in Ukraine, the attempted invasion of the neighboring country ordered by Vladimir Putin to try to stop the rapprochement with Europe of what was the origin of the Russian world -Kiev-. Gorbachev claimed a few weeks ago to feel “disappointed” by the situation with Ukraine.
It was told last July by a journalist from the Russian Forbes franchise, Alexei Venediktov, after seeing the former president of the USSR. Already with kidney disease that has ended up costing him his life in an advanced stage, Gorbachev gave his only clues about his position in relation to the war in Ukraine. Because publicly it was not manifested in the first person, so the testimony of this journalist is the only one that has been known about it. And, he says, Gorbachev was “disappointed” at how things turned out in the Ukraine.
Moreover, his opinion of Vladimir Putin had fallen several points lately, according to the same journalist. According to him, Gorbachev thought that all his “political, not economic” reforms are being “destroyed” by Putin. «Gorbachev brought freedom, religious freedom, of the press, of private property. What else was I going to think now?” said Venediktov, who also worked at Echo of Moscow, an independent radio station critical of the Kremlin that was forced to close in March of this year.
Much clearer was Gorbachev’s position on the annexation of Crimea in 2014. The referendum that the Russians then called on the peninsula “corrected a historical error,” argued Gorbachev, a defender that this territory legitimately belongs to the Russian Federation. Crimea was granted in 1954 by then Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev to Ukraine when Russia and Ukraine were both regions of the USSR. “If earlier Crimea was incorporated into Ukraine according to Soviet laws, that is, according to the laws of the Party (Communist of the USSR), without asking the people, this time the people corrected that mistake,” Gorbachev assured. Ukraine’s reaction was to ban him from entering the country.
Precisely in the Crimea is where Gorbachev had his dacha, his summer home. It was there that he was kidnapped and held by members of the KGB during the 1991 coup, after which the communist regime would come to an end.