The Guardian has a most fascinating exclusive interview with Mikhail Gorbachev, the former paramount leader of the Soviet Union, on his role in the fall of the empire two decades ago.
Towards the end of the interview, Gorbachev brushed off suggestions that he should have followed China’s lead by starting with economic instead of political reforms:
“In the Soviet Union nothing would have happened if we had done that. The people were cut out, totally isolated from decision-making. Our country was at a different stage of development from China and for us to solve problems we had to involve people.”
“Do you think the Chinese will be able to avoid the same hard choices at some point in time? There will be a moment when they will have to decide on political change and they are already nearing that point.”
Among his greatest regrets, said Gorbachev was “[t]he fact that I went on too long in trying to reform the Communist party.”
“I now think I should have used that occasion to form a new party and should have insisted on resigning from the Communist party. It had become a brake on reforms even though it had launched them,” he adds.
Read the full interview here.