Former Soviet Union President Mikhail Gorbachev raised eyebrows this week while promoting his new book “After the Kremlin.” The 83-year-old told The Daily Mail that Russian President Vladimir Putin “thinks he [Putin] is second only to God.”
“He has started picking up the same illness which I suffered from earlier – self-confidence,” states Gorbachev in the Daily Mail’s report, further warning Putin: “Don’t get a big head. That is what ruined me.”
Gorbachev lamented that former KGB spy Putin avoids substantial one-to-one meetings with the elder statesman.
“I need to participate, and I will. Nobody will shut my mouth, even though people wanted me to emigrate,” stated Gorbachev, who warned earlier this month of a possible new Cold War.
His ‘God complex’ comments aside, Gorbachev praises Putin in his book as “acting in the interests of the majority,” by solidifying Russia since taking office.
The ongoing crisis in Ukraine did not escape commentary from Gorbachev who made his feelings on the subject heard:
“Crimea was Russian, and most people in Crimea voted in favor of joining Russia,” said Gorbachev. ”I supported this move from the beginning, and I am half-Ukrainian…It might not be a scientific fact, but we are the same people.”
Those statements contradict the Western view of the Ukraine situation. The United States and its allies see the annexation of Crimea as illegitimate. Vice President Joe Biden implied during talks with Ukrainian President Poroshenko that Russia risks “rising costs and greater isolation” if cease fires are repeatedly ignored.
Talks Friday between German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Putin on a solution in Ukraine ended with no agreement. According to the Daily Mail, Merkel left the G-20 discussions “rattled,” which is a strong sign of deteriorating Germany-Russia relations.
- Gorbachev to tell Putin about his conversation with Merkel (rbth.co.uk)
- Gorbachev To Discuss Merkel’s Views With Putin (rferl.org)
- Former Soviet Leader Mikhail Gorbachev: Putin Sees Himself As ‘Second Only To God (warnewsupdates.blogspot.com)
- Gorbachev believes West accepts Crimea’s reunification with Russia (en.itar-tass.com)
- Gorbachev urges the West to accept reality about Crimea (english.pravda.ru)