Gorbachev’s translator: he was shocked by the war in Ukraine

Pavel Palazhchenko worked with M. Gorbachev, who left for Anapilin, for 37 years and accompanied him to many meetings of the leaders of the United States of America (USA) and the Soviet Union. A few weeks ago, P. Palazchenko spoke with M. Gorbachev on the phone – according to the assistant, he and other persons could not fail to notice how badly M. Gorbachev was traumatized war in Ukraine.

“He was dealt a very big blow not only by the (special military) operation that began on February 24, but also by the entire evolution of Russian-Ukrainian relations over the past few years. These events destroyed him emotionally and psychologically,” P. Palažchenko said in an interview with Reuters.

“During conversations with him, it was clear that he is bewildered and shocked by what is happening (when Russian troops invaded Ukraine in February). He believed that the Russian and Ukrainian peoples are not only close, but also mixed with each other,” P. Palazhchenko added.

As president, Gorbachev tried to keep the 15 republics of the Soviet Union, including Ukraine, within the Soviet Union, but failed as his reforms encouraged many republics to demand independence.

At the end of the USSR, Soviet forces used lethal force against civilians. Lithuanian and Latvian politicians remembered those events with horror after M. Gorbachev’s death and claimed that they still blamed him for the bloodshed.

As P. Palazchenko said, M. Gorbachev, who, according to him, tried to solve all problems only by political means, either did not know in advance about some bloody episodes, or “extremely reluctantly” gave permission to use force to “prevent chaos.”

M. Gorbachev’s approach to Ukraine was complicated and contradictory, P. Palazchenko pointed out, because he still believed in the idea of ​​the Soviet Union.

“Of course, he, like many politicians of his generation, still envisioned a country made up largely of the republics of the Soviet Union,” the aide explained.

But M. Gorbachev would not have started a war to restore the defunct state he led from 1985 to 1991, he believes: “I can’t imagine him saying, ‘That’s my goal.’ I’ll do anything to get him.’ No way.’

While Mr. Gorbachev believed it was his duty to show respect for and help Vladimir Putin, the former interpreter recalled that the president had publicly expressed his disapproval of Putin’s actions, such as his treatment of the media.

However, M. Gorbachev decided not to “comment” on the events in Ukraine and only in February approved a statement calling for an end to the hostilities as soon as possible and humanitarian issues to be taken into account.

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