The United States grew “arrogant and self-confident” after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev said in an interview published on the eve of the 30th anniversary of his resignation as president of the U.S.S.R.
Gorbachev, 90, said there was a triumphant mood in the West, especially in the United States after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991.
The former Soviet president told state news agency RIA Novosti in the interview published on December 24 that the Kremlin had been in a weak bargaining position because the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991 provoked economic chaos.
“In such a position, how can you expect equal relations with the United States, with the West?” Gorbachev said. “That’s the first thing. Secondly, and no less important, is the triumphal mood in the West, especially in the U.S. Arrogance and self-confidence went to their heads.”
Gorbachev blamed a U.S. desire to “build a new empire” for current disputes over NATO and Ukraine.
But he welcomed forthcoming security talks between Moscow and Washington prompted by a Russian military buildup near its border with Ukraine.
“I hope there will be a result,” he said.
Gorbachev resigned as president of the Soviet Union on December 25, 1991, days after the leaders of Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine said the U.S.S.R. no longer existed.
In recent years President Vladimir Putin has grown increasingly critical about NATO’s expansion and recently demanded “legal guarantees” that would prevent any further NATO expansion to the east and the deployment of weapons to neighboring states, primarily in Ukraine.
The U.S. has said that some of Russia’s demands are unacceptable.
Putin said in a news conference on December 23 that Washington had been willing to discuss the proposals and talks could happen at the start of next year in Geneva.
A senior U.S. administration official said the United States was ready to engage in talks with Russia in early January regarding its demand for security guarantees, but the official did not name a location.
Putin once called the collapse of the Soviet Union “the greatest geopolitical disaster of the 20th century,” and in a documentary that aired on state television earlier this month he said it was the “disintegration of historical Russia.”