MOSCOW, June 7 (RIA Novosti) - Former Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev hit out Wednesday at American policy in Europe and former Soviet republic, saying that cooperation, not confrontation, was the way forward.
"Many current events in Europe and ex-Soviet republics cause tension, but our American friends are acting here improperly, to put it mildly," Gorbachev said at the World Newspaper Congress in the Russian capital.
The former Soviet leader, whose rule is widely associated with a thaw in relations with the U.S. and the beginning of the end of the U.S.S.R., said Americans were afraid of a revival of Russia's imperial ambitions, fears he said were unfounded.
Gorbachev said that Russia, Europe and the U.S. had no basic differences in their positions, and that all sides "should establish cooperation both in European affairs and in the post-Soviet space."
"It is especially necessary because the world is changing, and we are facing common challenges to security, poverty, and the ecological threat that is becoming global," he said.
Gorbachev, who turned 75 this year, also said that although Russia had lost its status as a world superpower it still remained one of the world's most powerful nations.
"It is destined to be such a power," he said.
A Gallup/TNS-EMNID poll published in New York Tuesday on popular perceptions of and attitudes toward the world's great powers ranked Russia sixth, with 27% of respondents worldwide saying Russia remained a great power.
The first and last president of the Soviet Union has enjoyed a relatively warm relationship with Vladimir Putin, in stark contrast to his ties with long-term rival Boris Yeltsin, Russia's first post-Soviet president. Gorbachev was never invited back to the Kremlin under Yeltsin, but has visited on a number of occasions since Putin became president in 2000.