Interview: Mikhail Gorbachev, Former Russian Leader

Democracy Is Not Under Siege In Russia, Gorbachev Says;

Cautions Putin Against Sliding Into 'Authoritarianism'



Apr 29, 2001, 01:00 ET from Newsweek

    NEW YORK, April 29 /PRNewswire/ -- Former Russian leader Mikhail Gorbachev
 tells Newsweek International in the current issue that democracy is not under
 siege in Russia under the leadership of current President Vladimir Putin.
 "Even when there seems to be a danger of a rollback, those moments pass.
 Perestroika enabled democracy to take root.  Right now, it's very important to
 make sure that continues," he says in the May 7 issue (on newsstands Monday,
 April 30).
     (Photo:  http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20010429/HSSU001 )
     Questioned about the changes in control of NTV, Itogi, and other
 independent Russian media, Gorbachev tells Senior Editor and Columnist
 Jonathan Alter that he told President Putin that Russians needed a free press
 in order to know what is happening with the government and in their society.
 "I told President Putin that.  He said to me, 'Yes, I agree.  Without a free
 press,' and he added, 'a free and responsible press, we would not be able to
 cope with our tasks.'"  (Newsweek recently ended its long-term relationship
 with the Russian newsweekly Itogi, which had previously been published in
 cooperation with Newsweek).
     The former Russian leader says President Putin inherited a "difficult
 legacy" and he must "pull the country out of chaos," without sliding into
 "authoritarianism."  Gorbachev says Putin is under "very strong pressure.
 It's very hard to break with the 'family' [the Kremlin elite under Boris
 Yeltsin].  He is moving gradually to do so.  Some people are ready to support
 the president without reservation; others demand to know what kind of Russia
 he is committed to.  Very soon, it will become clear.  A lot will be decided
 this year."
 
                        (Read Newsweek news releases at
               http://www.Newsweek.MSNBC.com. Click "Pressroom.")
 
 
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SOURCE Newsweek
    NEW YORK, April 29 /PRNewswire/ -- Former Russian leader Mikhail Gorbachev
 tells Newsweek International in the current issue that democracy is not under
 siege in Russia under the leadership of current President Vladimir Putin.
 "Even when there seems to be a danger of a rollback, those moments pass.
 Perestroika enabled democracy to take root.  Right now, it's very important to
 make sure that continues," he says in the May 7 issue (on newsstands Monday,
 April 30).
     (Photo:  http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20010429/HSSU001 )
     Questioned about the changes in control of NTV, Itogi, and other
 independent Russian media, Gorbachev tells Senior Editor and Columnist
 Jonathan Alter that he told President Putin that Russians needed a free press
 in order to know what is happening with the government and in their society.
 "I told President Putin that.  He said to me, 'Yes, I agree.  Without a free
 press,' and he added, 'a free and responsible press, we would not be able to
 cope with our tasks.'"  (Newsweek recently ended its long-term relationship
 with the Russian newsweekly Itogi, which had previously been published in
 cooperation with Newsweek).
     The former Russian leader says President Putin inherited a "difficult
 legacy" and he must "pull the country out of chaos," without sliding into
 "authoritarianism."  Gorbachev says Putin is under "very strong pressure.
 It's very hard to break with the 'family' [the Kremlin elite under Boris
 Yeltsin].  He is moving gradually to do so.  Some people are ready to support
 the president without reservation; others demand to know what kind of Russia
 he is committed to.  Very soon, it will become clear.  A lot will be decided
 this year."
 
                        (Read Newsweek news releases at
               http://www.Newsweek.MSNBC.com. Click "Pressroom.")
 
 
                     MAKE YOUR OPINION COUNT -  Click Here
                http://tbutton.prnewswire.com/prn/11690X35578674
 
 SOURCE  Newsweek