In an exclusive Newsmax interview, former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev says the U.S. officials who claim Russian democracy has all but disappeared should be fired and “replaced by normal people.”
Gorbachev acknowledged, however, that occasionally “there is backsliding” in his country’s ongoing effort to develop democratic institutions.
Gorbachev’s remarks came during an exclusive 45-minute, sit-down interview with Newsmax Editor and CEO Christopher Ruddy. The interview was conducted at the Moscow headquarters of the Gorbachev Foundation, which supports peace efforts and humanitarian causes around the globe.
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Gorbachev granted Newsmax the exclusive interview to discuss his remembrances of former President Ronald Reagan, a man he described as a "friend and partner." The full interview detailing Gorbachev’s efforts to end the Cold War with Reagan will air around Feb. 6, the centenary of Reagan's birth.
[Please Note: You can receive a free copy of Newsmax magazine's "Reagan 100" February edition with President Gorbachev, historian Douglas Brinkley, and many others — Click Here Now.
During the interview, Gorbachev reacted strongly to WikiLeaks disclosures that indicate some U.S. officials believe democracy has disappeared in Russia.
“I believe that the democratic process that started with perestroika [restructuring], and on which we have done a great deal, we have moved forward — but sometimes there is backsliding. Yes, sometimes this does happen.
“But we do have freedom of the press,” he insisted. “We do have freedom of speech in our country. And therefore we are speaking out, we are able here in this country to criticize what worries us."
The former Soviet premier's concerns about Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin appeared to have been tempered since he rebuked the current government in October.
"I am afraid that they have been saddled with this idea that this unmanageable country needs authoritarianism,” Gorbachev told The New York Times in that interview, referring to both Putin and his handpicked president, Dmitry Medvedev. "They think they cannot do without it.”
In the exclusive interview with Newsmax's Ruddy, Gorbachev focused his ire on U.S. diplomats.
“And therefore I wouldn’t use the kind of language that these so-called diplomats use in characterizing nations and peoples,” Gorbachev said. “I think that such diplomats should be replaced by normal people.”
That reaction appears to be in line with Putin’s recent venting of his displeasure with the WikiLeaks disclosures during a CNN interview with Larry King. He accused U.S. diplomats of “arrogance” and “rudeness.”
In the exclusive Newsmax interview, Gorbachev also was asked about secret cables that indicate the United States and its NATO allies have agreed on a military plan to protect Poland and the Baltic nations from Russia.
Could a second Cold War be looming? Ruddy asked.
“I would suggest that you don’t jump to conclusions, that you don’t scare people,” Gorbachev said, bristling. “Some people certainly would like to fuel the talk of danger. The military-industrial complex actually lives on that. They get billions and trillions of dollars worth of military contracts.
“Therefore there are people who want this kind of thing. But I think that a country that cannot grow without an arms race, that’s not a normal country,” he said.
Gorbachev expressed confidence that, in the end, “healthy and reasonable judgment” will prevail over the “erroneous thinking” reflected in the WikiLeaks cables.
As the remarks of Gorbachev and Putin indicate, it is increasingly apparent that the WikiLeaks disclosures have dealt a serious blow to U.S. foreign policy efforts.
On Sunday, Democratic Sen. John Kerry, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told “Meet the Press” that the WikiLeaks data dump has done “real damage” to U.S. foreign relations.
[Editor's Note: Get a free copy of Newsmax magazine's “Reagan 100” February edition with President Gorbachev, historian Douglas Brinkley, and many others — Click Here Now.
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