Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev welcomed Barack Obama’s victory in the US presidential election on Wednesday, saying he would bring “perestroika” to the United States, ITAR-TASS news agency reported.
“I am very happy. Two or three years ago I said America needed perestroika, and this was greeted with cheers in the US,” Mr Gorbachev was quoted as saying, using the term for his 1980s liberal reforms that helped end the Cold War.
“It is no accident that the whole world followed these elections, including in Russia, where they were followed like never before. This shows there is hope that the arrival of a new administration will bring changes,” he added.
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Mr Gorbachev, a winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, added that the election of the United States’ first black president was a “lesson” for other countries and showed “a very strong side of America.”
Perestroika – a Russian word that translates roughly as “rebuilding” – was the name given to the liberal reforms Gorbachev introduced in the 1980s as he opened up the markets of the former Soviet Union.