Translated by Julia Rakhmetova and Rhod Mackenzie, via Russia Insider
Nikolai Starikov, a famous Russian historian, writer and politician, was interviewed by the popular AiF weekly on the occasion of the last Soviet President’s 85th Birthday.
At the start of perestroika, I was fifteen. In 1987 I entered an engineering and economic college. By the time I graduated, there was neither an economy, nor a chemical industry – the fields I studied in. Many people like me were forced to sell newspapers in suburban electric trains. I hardly can forgive Gorbachev for that.
Nor can I forgive him for the fact that several students among my classmates and from other classes died from drug overdoses; that some of my acquaintances were killed in ethnic conflicts that spread throughout the country; that others went on the bottle because they couldn’t find a job due to the ‘reforms’.
I also can’t forgive Gorbachev for withdrawing our officers from Germany to the middle of nowhere and leaving them homeless, nor for betraying our allies, beginning with those from Afghanistan and ending with Cuba.
Gorbachev destroyed the economic bloc we formed with our allies – the Comecon – transferring their ruble exchanges to USD. He disbanded the military and political bloc – the Warsaw Pact – which was absolutely unnecessary. Was he really so naïve as to believe that NATO would be disbanded as well after that?
Did the USSR experience in 1985 the problems that it didn’t have back to 1941? Why did we manage to resist back then, failing now? And how did China, which had the same development model as we but lagged far behind us, succeed in achieving fantastic results, while the USSR broke down? Saying, that the Soviet Union didn’t have any prospects is to deny reality.
Gorbachev didn’t fight to keep the USSR from falling apart, but to save his own influence. If not, as the legitimate president of the Soviet Union, controlling powerful secret agencies and the army, in December 1991 he could have had the three conspirators in the Belavezha Forest arrested. Instead, he announced his resignation…
So I don’t see anything positive in this person. And most people were disappointed in him by the year of 1991.
Originally appeared in Russian in Argumenty i Fakty.