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    Former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev.

    Almost Half of Russians Say Gorbachev Cared for USSR Despite Failures

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    Roughly one in two Russians believe that Mikhail Gorbachev, the last Soviet leader who turned 85 on Wednesday, probably had the USSR’s best interests at heart when he came to power, a recent poll has found.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Forty-six percent of those polled by Russia’s VCIOM opinion research center in February said that Gorbachev had only the best intentions in mind when he introduced his Perestroika and Glasnost reforms, among other efforts to change the Soviet political system.

    When asked about any specific positives of Gorbachev’s tenure, 47 percent of respondents said there were none, while 34 percent had nothing at all to say. Only 6 percent praised him for ending the Cold War and 5 percent for advocating democratic freedoms.

    Twenty-four percent described the first Soviet president, who was in power when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, as a "criminal who intentionally destroyed a great power," while 12 percent called him a "brave man" for doing what was right.

    Issue-wise, Gorbachev is mostly blamed for allowing the Soviet Union to break up (36 percent), while 10 percent also say he is responsible for the deterioration of its economy, army, and society in general.

    Among other negatives mentioned by respondents were his campaign against alcohol, the Perestroika (Reformation) and the ensuing rise in corruption and criminality.

    Gorbachev held the highest rank in the Soviet Union from 1985 to 1991, becoming its first president in March 1990. He stepped down in December 1991 and unsuccessfully ran for president of Russia in 1996. In 1990, Gorbachev was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his leading role in the process that led to the collapse of the Soviet Union.

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    poll, Perestroika, Mikhail Gorbachev, USSR
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