This is what Gorbachev told the Politburo in 1989: “Gentlemen, comrades, do not be concerned about all you hear about glasnost and perestroika and democracy in the coming years. These are primarily for outward consumption. There will be no significant change in the Soviet Union, other than for cosmetic purposes. Our aim is to disarm the Americans and let them fall asleep.” (Italics CFP’s).
Politicians rarely admit mistakes, but Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev always was in a different class. So it is not surprising that, as he looked back on his six tumultuous years in power at the head of the Soviet Union, he was willing to count the errors he had made.
In an exclusive interview with the Guardian he named at least five. They led not just to his own downfall 20 years ago; they also brought the collapse of the Soviet Union and the introduction of an unregulated economic free-for-all that turned a few Russians into billionaires while plunging millions of people into poverty.