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One of the most prominent women in world politics – Baroness Margaret Thatcher, the British Prime Minister from 1979 to 1990, passed away in London on Monday. Russian newspapers publish many articles about her, and the Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper publishes an interview with the former USSR President Mikhail Gorbachev.
Mikhail Gorbachev when he was the head of the Soviet Union had to communicate often with her, and her last will was that he attended her funeral, the newspaper notes. Shortly after the news about Thatcher’s demise broke out, the newspaper called Gorbachev. It turned out that he is currently at hospital and speaks with difficulty. But he did not refuse to say a few words about this significant woman.
When asked about his friendship with Margaret Thatcher, the former USSR president said, “Well, this is not a friendship in the usual sense of the word when the friendship of young or old people, who are friends for many years is meant. We had something else among us – we worked together. I remember our first meeting in 1984. I told her then: “You need not bother to strongly oppose the Communist Party. I have no instructions from the Politburo to invite you to join the Communist Party!” There was laughter in the hall. And she started to laugh. And then we proceeded to a normal conversation.”
According to Gorbachev, they had many fierce disputes, arguments about nuclear weapons. But nevertheless they managed to reach understanding in this sphere. “She was also against the unification of Germany. I did not share her views in this sphere, not to mention the Falkland Islands, and more. And how she treated her miners!”
Gorbachev believes that Thatcher was a person of principle. “It was possible to talk seriously with her, and agreements were reached, they were solid!”
“But, to be honest, I did not always share her views. For example, there were times when she, being in a bad mood, was expelling a dozen of our diplomats from the country. Then I had to write to her that I was astounded by her actions: “I regret very much that you are putting in question our relationship, that you act like this, that you resort to such methods, I urge you to stop!” And she stopped the next day.”
“She has managed to resolve many problems for her country, but only for her own! It often happened without considering the interests of other countries and the world in general. I have never supported her in this and do not support now. For instance, Pinochet was among her friends and so on... Nevertheless, she is certainly a great politician,” concluded Gorbachev.
Thatcher’s active foreign policy is her achievement recognised by the overwhelming majority of Britons, the Novye Izvestia daily writes. The Iron Lady (by the way, she was for the first time called the Iron Lad by the Soviet newspaper Krasnaya Zvezda) was at the forefront of the struggle against communism and one of the first politicians in the West who predicted that Mikhail Gorbachev would be the “gravedigger” of the Soviet system.
“The answer to the question about Thatcher’s attitude to our country depends on the view on the dissolution of the USSR,” Director of the Centre for British Studies, of the Institute of Europe of the Russian Academy of Sciences Alexei Gromyko told the newspaper. “If it is regarded as a geopolitical catastrophe, it is probably possible to say that she was ill disposed towards our country. If for the fall of communism is good for us, then Thatcher was a positive character for us too.”