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Gorbachev sees Russian democracy far off: biographer Taubman

Gorbachev sees Russian democracy far off: biographer Taubman
From Reuters - November 6, 2017

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, celebrated in the West for championing democracy and helping end the Cold War, sees little chance Russia will turn from czarist-reminiscent, strongman government anytime in coming decades, the U.S. author of a new biography said on Monday.

Pulitzer Prize-winning William Taubman interviewed Gorbachev, now 86, eight times for his Gorbachev: His Life and Times and said in the Reuters Global Markets Forum online chat room that Gorbachev was widely disliked in Russia.

Here are edited excerpts:

Question: How do Russians now see Gorbachev, who was popular in the 1980s?

Answer: He is widely despised in Russia. People blame him for the collapse of the USSR, loss of its empire, the economic crash that accompanied the collapse, and also for seeming to be (to them, at any rate) a weak, indecisive leader.

Q: Why does Russian President Vladimir Putin ignore Gorbachev, even as he memorializes much Russian history?

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