Mikhail Gorbachev's Sadness

So how did you manage to win her heart?

With my sympathy. We went for walks hand in hand - we held hands throughout our lives, it became our habit. I thought that I was so lucky to have found her, and she thought that it was she who was lucky to have found me. We never finished this argument.

Did you ever give Raisa any reason for jealousy?

I had fans and she had fans too. Do you think that we never argued? Oh, we sure did. But we had love and we were never bored with each other. When our daughter grew up, we always kept together.

Your elder granddaughter recently got married. Do you feel sad about it?

I was leading her to the altar, and when we came up to the groom, I shook my index finger at him, giving him to understand that he should take care of my girl. Tears came to my eyes. I did not want to give my granddaughter away, in spite of the fact that she had chosen a very good man.

Would you rather have a great-grandson or a great-granddaughter?

It makes no difference to me. Yet, I grew up surrounded by women, so having a girl seems better for me.

Don't you think that your elder granddaughter got married at a young age? She is still a student.

My wife Raisa and I were also students when we got married. I do not think that one has to become stable in life, to settle financial issues, and then make a family. We led a poor life. It was very difficult sometimes.

When we finished at our universities, we did not have a place to live for several years. We got a normal apartment when I became the first secretary of the party's city committee. Our income was not large - we did not live, but fought for our living until we turned 40. However, we understood and supported each other.

What are your sources of income at present? I do not mean precise sums, of course.

I have my pension, fees for my lectures and books.

Do you have a car of your own?

Yes, I do. I have one of my own and a state car.

Which car do you own?

A Hyundai.

Do you drive?

You know, I used to be a mechanic, so I knew all those things. However, when I became a politician, I was not allowed to drive for safety reasons.

I see. So, you can drive, but can you cook?

I like good meals. I can cook eggs, potatoes, blini. Yet, I do not do this. I always cook shashlik, though; I never allow anyone to cook it for me.

You had the experience of being betrayed. During the coup of 1991 you were betrayed by people that you trusted. Did you have a wish to take revenge upon them?

No, I did not. On the other hand, such things should not be ignored; they should be judged from a legal point of view, in particular. Unfortunately, we do not have such a practice in Russia.

Is it true that Boris Yeltsin and his team drank whiskey when you left your post?

Yes, but I had not yet quit at that time. I was going to my Kremlin office, and then some of my people called me and said that Yeltsin, Rutskoy and Khasbulatov were drinking alcohol in my office. However, I still have devoted people with me. They now work in my charitable foundation.

Mr. Gorbachev, what do you think was the major event in your whole life?

(Long pause) I think it was meeting my wife Raisa.

Mikhail Gorbachev was interviewed by Julia Arsenyeva

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Author`s name Michael Simpson