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Posted: 3/12/2002 5:27:40 PM EDT
By VERENA DOBNIK The Associated Press 3/11/02 9:30 PM NEW YORK (AP) -- Mikhail Gorbachev says the Soviet communism he served most of his life was "pure propaganda." The former Soviet leader told a Columbia University audience on Monday that by the time he rose to power, with Soviet satellites in space, the ruling politicians "were discussing the problem of toothpaste, the problem of detergent, and they had to create a commission of the Politburo to make sure that women have pantyhose." Speaking in Russian, Gorbachev offered his views a decade after he helped topple this "unreal system" with reforms dubbed perestroika. Before that, he said, Soviet politicians operated with lies. "We, including I, were saying, 'Capitalism is moving toward a catastrophe, whereas we are developing well.' Of course, that was pure propaganda. In fact, our country was lagging behind," Gorbachev said. Change didn't come easily, either. Gorbachev said perestroika spun out of control after Boris Yeltsin took over in 1991. Instead of a gradual shift to democracy, Yeltsin promised Russians that they "would start moving toward paradise quickly, directly," Gorbachev said. "Well, we did move directly -- but into an abyss," with the economy collapsing and many former Soviet republics declaring independence, he said. "It is chaos that (Russian President) Vladimir Putin inherited. Chaos in the economy, chaos in the social sphere, chaos in the federation, chaos in the army, chaos everywhere."
Link Posted: 3/12/2002 5:28:18 PM EDT
Now, Gorbachev said, Putin must create new economic incentives. "Today is our last hope. If it fails, we could see a very difficult situation in Russia," Gorbachev said. The former Soviet leader said his Moscow-based Gorbachev Foundation is making a contribution by developing ties between Russian and foreign high-tech companies. He said such business would help slow his country's "brain drain." Gorbachev's speech, titled "Russia: Today and the Future," was part of the annual W. Averell Harriman Lecture sponsored by the Manhattan university's Harriman Institute. The academic center is devoted to the study of the Russian empire, the Soviet Union and the post-communist states. In the rotunda of the Low Library, Gorbachev began his speech by outlining his country's history, starting with the 1917 revolution that introduced communism as an ideal he himself espoused as a youth. Still, he said he feels "hopeful." "Putin has achieved a great deal," he said. And he said the new Russia has made progress by strongly supporting the United States twice in recent years -- after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and during the Gulf War. Earlier Monday, Gorbachev laid a wreath at the World Trade Center site to mark six months since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. "We will always remember the victims, and we will always be together," he wrote in Russian on a platform overlooking ground zero.
Link Posted: 3/12/2002 5:29:14 PM EDT
Hrmmm..... Go figure [rolleyes] Aviator [img]www.milpubs.com/aviator.gif[/img]
Link Posted: 3/12/2002 5:49:28 PM EDT
Once a commie always a commie. "Times might change, but rarely do the hearts of men." Who said that? It makes sense to me.
Link Posted: 3/12/2002 6:03:17 PM EDT
Their 6-7000 nukes aimed at us are just propaganda, also.
Link Posted: 3/12/2002 9:08:28 PM EDT
Bull! He still believes the same thing, but under new names: democracy and environmentalism.
Link Posted: 3/13/2002 7:08:01 PM EDT
He grew up in a vicious system, and undoubtedly always knew it was a lie. So now he can finally say so. We are lucky that he was the last General Secretary of the Communist Party (under the Soviet Union). Could have been much different.
Link Posted: 3/13/2002 7:16:19 PM EDT
No sh*t! waterdog
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