Western partners’ refusal to take account of Russia’s views and interests is one of the main causes behind the current crisis in global politics, Gorbachev told Rossiyskaya Gazeta daily in an interview on Wednesday.
"Today we need to acknowledge that the European and world politics is in crisis. The unwillingness of our western partners to take account of Russia’s views and lawful security interests is one of its causes though not the only one,” the ex-Soviet leader said.
Western politicians used to applaud Russia, especially under the rule of Boris Yeltsin, but in fact paid no regard to it and its interests, Gorbachev went on to say.
He believes that Russia, Western Europe and the United States should give up the logic of reciprocal accusations and sanctions in their relations.
“I believe that Russia has already made this step when it refrained from retaliatory measures after the latest round of western sanctions. It’s up to our partners now,” the ex-president said adding the sides should give up sanctions against separate individuals in the first place.“How can you conduct a dialogue if you ‘punish’ the people in power who influence politics. It is necessary to talk to each other. It is an axiom which has been needlessly forgotten,” Gorbachev said.
The ex-Soviet president is convinced that Russia and the European Union will find points of convergence as soon as they restore their relations.
“The disunity between Russia and the European Union is damaging everybody. It is weakening Europe at a time when global competition is growing and when other ‘gravity centers’ of world politics are becoming stronger,” Gorbachev went on to say.
He urged world leaders not to be dragged into a new Cold War.
“Our common security threats have not vanished. New and extremely dangerous extremist movements such as the ‘Islamic State’ have emerged in recent years. Problems like environment, poverty, migration and epidemics are also aggravating,” Gobachev said adding that Russia and the West could re-find common ground in the face of common challenges.
“It is not going to be easy but there is no other way,” the ex-Soviet president emphasized.
Mikhail Gorbachev has urged the presidents of Russia and Ukraine to re-establish dialogue on concrete issues thus setting an example of reconciliation.
“It should be admitted that relations between Russia and Ukraine have been seriously damaged. We cannot allow it to grow into mutual alienation of our peoples,” the ex-Soviet leader said in an interview with the Rossiyskaya Gazeta daily to be published on Thursday. Gorbachev believes that Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart Pyotr Poroshenko should assume great responsibility and set an example of de-escalating tensions. “Who was right and who was wrong should be established later,” Gorbachev said adding that the most important thing was to bring life in the conflict-stricken regions in eastern Ukraine back to normal and leave the status problem aside for the moment.
“Here, Ukraine, Russia and the West could be of help- separately or together,” Gorbachev emphasized.
Ukrainians, according to Gorbachev, should do a lot to achieve true reconciliation so that every person could feel himself to be a citizen whose rights and interests are reliably guaranteed.
“The thing is not so much in constitutional or legal guarantees but in realities of everyday life,” the ex-Soviet leader said. He recommended that alongside with elections Kiev should also organize a roundtable meeting where all regions and layers of the population will be represented and where any problems could be raised and discussed.
Gorbachev who played the key role in the fall of the Berlin Wall is opposed to the idea of erecting anything like that between Russia and Ukraine.
“I am against any walls. Those who are planning this kind of ‘construction’ should think better of it,” the politician said in hope that eventually the Russian and Ukraine peoples would not quarrel. “We are too close in all respects. There are no insurmountable problems or differences between us. But a lot will depend on the media and intelligentsia,” Gorbachev said.
“If they are going to work for disunity and incite quarrels and conflicts - there will be trouble. We know such examples,” the ex-Soviet president concluded.