Mikhail Gorbachev was “shocked and bewildered” by Russia’s battle with Ukraine within the months earlier than he died, his translator has stated.
Pavel Palazhchenko labored as the previous Soviet chief’s interpreter for 37 years and had spoken to him on the cellphone simply weeks earlier than he died on 30 August.
As a vocal critic of Vladimir Putin, Mr Palazhchenko stated that his former boss had been rendered distraught by the Kremlin’s deteriorating relationship with Kyiv.
Speaking to Reuters, he stated: “It’s not just the operation that started on 24 February, but the entire evolution of relations between Russia and Ukraine over the past years that was really, really a big blow to him.
“It actually crushed him emotionally and psychologically.
“It was very obvious to us in our conversations with him that he was shocked and bewildered by what was happening for all kinds of reasons.
“He believed not simply within the closeness of the Russian and Ukrainian folks, he believed that these two nations have been intermingled.”
The Kremlin stated on Thursday that Mr Putin wouldn’t be attending Mr Gorbachev’s funeral on account of conflicts in his “work schedule”.
He was pictured laying flowers on the late president’s open-casket coffin on Thursday.
Having eased tensions with the United States and been credited with serving to finish the Cold War, Mr Gorbachev’s overseas coverage technique was virtually the other of Mr Putin’s.
The late chief backed a protest motion towards Putin that adopted fraud-tainted elections in 2011.
Mr Gorbachev additionally criticised Mr Putin’s determination to return to the Kremlin for a 3rd time period in 2012.
The present president hit again by accusing the previous Soviet president of “abdicating” energy.
A 12 months later, Mr Gorbachev stated of Russia and Mr Putin: “Politics is more and more turning into an imitation of democracy. All power is in the hands of the authorities and the president.
“The economic system is monopolised. Corruption has taken on colossal proportions.”
Gorbachev-Ukraine relations difficult by views on Crimea
Although seemingly disgusted by the battle, Mr Gorbachev’s relationship with Ukraine was not easy.
In 2016 Kyiv banned him after he instructed The Sunday Times he would have executed the identical as Mr Putin in illegally annexing Crimea.
He instructed the newspaper: “I’m always with the free will of the people and most in Crimea want to be reunited with Russia.”
Mr Palazhchenko, who at 73 had stored in common contact with Mr Gorbachev and his daughter Irina, stated relations have been made troublesome by the truth that he nonetheless believed within the Soviet Union – regardless of its breakdown in 1991.
“Of course in his heart the kind of mental map for him and for most people of his political generation is still a kind of imagined country that includes most of the former Soviet Union,” he stated.
But requested whether or not Mr Gorbachev would have invaded Ukraine, he replied: “Of course I can’t imagine him saying ‘this is it, and I will do whatever to impose it’, no.”