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Sunday 20 Aug 2017 | 08:55 | SYDNEY

Gorbachev at 80

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19 August 2011 12:13

There is just so much quotable stuff in this Spiegel interview with Mikhail Gorbachev (h/t AL Daily) that it's hard to know where to stop, but here are a few gems.

On perestroika:

SPIEGEL: Mr. Gorbachev, allow us to conduct an experiment.

Gorbachev: I don't participate in experiments anymore.

SPIEGEL: This one is completely harmless. Three or four reasons are always cited as to why your perestroika, the renewal of the Soviet Union, failed.

Gorbachev: Did you just say "failed?"

On the Communist Party:

I joined the Communist Party at 19, when I was still in school. My father had been on the front and my grandfather was an old communist -- and I was supposed to blow the whole thing up? Today I know that I should have done it. But the man sitting in front of you is not a so-called statesman, but a completely normal person. Someone with a conscience, and that conscience tortured me constantly.

On Yeltsin:

He was extremely infatuated with power, haughty and thirsting for glory, a domineering person. He always believed that he was being underestimated, and he constantly felt insulted. He should have been shunted out of the way and made an ambassador in a banana republic, where he could have smoked water pipes in peace.