After years of rapprochement, the relationship between Russia and the West is more strained now than it has been in the past 25 years. Putin's motives, his reasons for seeking confrontation with the West, remain for many a mystery. Not for Mikhail Gorbachev. In this new work, Russia's elder statesman draws on his wealth of knowledge and experience to reveal the development of Putin's regime and the intentions behind it. He argues that Putin has significantly diminished the achievements of perestroika and is part of an over-centralized system that presents a precarious future for Russia. Faced with this, Gorbachev advocates a radical reform of politics and a new fostering of pluralism and social democracy.
Gorbachev's insightful analysis moves beyond internal politics to address wider problems in the region, including the Ukraine conflict, as well as the global challenges of poverty and climate change. Above all else, he insists that solutions are to be found by returning to the atmosphere of dialogue and cooperation which was so instrumental in ending the Cold War.
This book represents the summation of Gorbachev's thinking on the course that Russia has taken since 1991 and stands as a testament to one of the greatest and most influential statesmen of the twentieth century.
Mikhail Gorbachev was the last leader of the Soviet Union, serving as General Secretary of the Communist Party from 1985 to 1991. Since then, he has maintained an active role in world affairs through the Gorbachev Foundation, a nonprofit think tank which promotes democracy and humanitarian initiatives globally.
Table of contents To my readers Preface: Perestroika and the future Trying to bury me I After Perestroika The 1990s: Defending Perestroika My last day in the Kremlin A new beginning, without presidential immunity Shock therapy The search for a scapegoat, threats The Gorbachev Foundation: its first reports December 1991: politics and morality Salvation in work Attempts to `destabilize' me The `Trial of the CPSU' First results of shock therapy A year after the coup My stance The slide towards social catastrophe On the brink of crisis Fateful decisions, fateful days A state of emergency is not the way to stability Defects of the new Constitution 1994 gets off to a bad start Economists advise but the government is not listening Nikita Khrushchev: lessons in courage and lessons from mistakes The Union could have been saved The economy: what now? Meetings in the regions Chechnya: a war that could have been avoided 1995: 10 years of Perestroika The intelligentsia Government and society The need for an alternative Breaking through the conspiracy of silence Letters relating to the 1996 presidential election campaign Discrediting elections The final years of the millennium The Gorbachev Foundation's `First Five-Year Plan' The elections fail to bring stability The storm breaks in 1998 How to come out of the crisis? Letters of support Raisa Gorbacheva II Whither Russia? Putin: the beginning The new president: hopes, problems, fears What is Glasnost? The heavy burden of the presidency My social-democratic choice Russia needs social democracy Issues and more issues The zero years of the 2000s? The Yukos affair A party of new bureaucrats A second presidential term: what for? A new direction, or more of the same? Full of contradictions: the first decade of the new millennium New elections Democracy in distress Operation Successor Ideas and people Saakashvili's adventure and the West: my reaction Ordeal by global crisis Defending the credo of Perestroika Disturbing trends My eightieth birthday Russian politics in a quandary A new Era of Stagnation? The presidential `reshuffle' and the Duma elections For fair elections! Society awakens A decision to tighten the screws Some letters of support in recent years The need for dialogue between the government and society III Today's uneasy world The relevance of New Thinking Challenges of globalization The challenge of security Ban the bomb! Consequences of NATO expansion The world after 9/11 Poverty is a political problem Responding to the environmental challenge The water crisis The threat of climate change We need a new model of development Meetings in America: George Shultz and Ronald Reagan Partners should be equal The role of the United States in the world `America needs its own Perestroika' The election of Obama The future of Europe Germany On a solid foundation Major figures in European politics Looking East: China Russia and Japan A Simmering Region: Egypt and Syria Russia and Ukraine History Is Not Fated Conclusion Reflections of an optimist Index