Speaking to a forum in Berlin amid the celebration of the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, he called on western leaders to de-escalate tensions and meet Russia halfway to mend the current rift.
“Taking advantage of Russia’s weakening and a lack of a counterweight, they claimed monopoly leadership and domination in the world. And they refused to heed the word of caution from many of those present here,” he said. “The events of the past months are consequences of short-sighted policies of seeking to impose one’s will and fait accompli while ignoring the interests of one’s partners.”
“Instead of becoming a leader of change in a global world Europe has turned into an arena of political upheaval, of competition for the spheres of influence, and finally of military conflict. The consequence inevitably is Europe’s weakening at a time when other centers of power and influence are gaining momentum. If this continues, Europe will lose a strong voice in world affairs and gradually become irrelevant,” he said.
“Despite the harshness of his criticism of the West and the United States in particular, I see in his speech a desire to find a way to lower tensions, and ultimately to build a new basis for partnership,” Gorbachev said.
Ukraine may have set the scene for the current confrontation, but it can also become a focus for reconciliation between Russia and the West, according to Gorbachev. He called for the parties to join forces and help Ukraine overcome the consequences of the civil war it is currently going through.
“Had such a mechanism been created, the worst scenarios of the Ukrainian events could have been averted.”