Sunday 4 September 2022

Gorbachev on Putin’s wars

Vladimir Putin repeatedly blamed Gorbachev for failing to secure written commitments from America that Nato would not be expanded eastward, but such commitments would have been made to the Soviet Union, a country that ceased to exist on Christmas Day 1991.

The fact remains that James Baker did give this assurance in very certain terms, as Jack Matlock, the American Ambassador to the Soviet Union at the time, recalls in an article well worth reading, published just before the invasion this year arguing that American policy precipitated the crisis. 

'After the fall of the Soviet Union, I told the Senate that expansion would lead us to where we are today.'
Mr. Gorbachev supported Mr. Putin’s war with Georgia in 2008, which Georgia started (pace Wikipedia), and his invasion and annexation of the Crimea in 2014, condemned American behaviour towards Ukraine but disagreed with the invasion of Ukraine in February.

"It really crushed him emotionally and psychologically," said his former aide Pavel Palazhchenko, in an interview with Reuters days ago.  

1 comment:

  1. Jack Matlock said in February:

    'Although President Obama initially promised improved relations through his “reset” policy, the reality was that his government continued to ignore the most serious Russian concerns and redoubled earlier American efforts to detach former Soviet republics from Russian influence and, indeed, to encourage “regime change” in Russia itself. American actions in Syria and Ukraine were seen by the Russian president, and most Russians, as indirect attacks on them.

    'And so far as Ukraine is concerned, U.S. intrusion into its domestic politics was deep, actively supporting the 2014 revolution and overthrow of the elected Ukrainian government in 2014.

    'Relations soured further during President Obama’s second term after the Russian annexation of Crimea. Then things got worse during the four years of Donald Trump’s tenure. Accused of being a Russian dupe, Trump passed every anti-Russian measure that came along, while at the same time flattering Putin as a great leader.'