Mikhail Gorbachev has said that the United States is instigating a new Cold War situation by driving "anti-Russian" sentiment around the globe. The former president of the Soviet Union told Russian news agency TASS on Monday that America's "triumphator's spirit" has driven it to build "fences" around the country that have led to increased tensions between Russia and other nations.
“Now the signs of cold war have again emerged. This whole process may and needs to be stopped. It was stopped in the 1980s. And we opted for deescalation and reunification [of Germany]. Back then it was harsher than today. And now we can also do this,” Gorbachev told TASS.
The former leader did criticize Vladimir Putin in his remarks, allowing that Russian authorities "make certain mistakes" in their dealings with the world. But he said that the blame lies chiefly with the U.S.
“Fences are being built around us, which push towards an anti-Russian way," Gorbachev said. "Even Germany, which after reunification presented itself very well and called for renovation, is now just on the brink of a split. And now nothing takes place without the presence and a push from America. ... today the danger comes from the American stance. This ‘triumphator’s spirit’ is bothering them."
Monday was not the first time Gorbachev has made inflammatory remarks in recent months, as he said during a Berlin Wall commemoration last month that the world is “on the brink of a new Cold War” because of the military crisis in Ukraine.
The wide-ranging interview with the former Soviet leader also addressed Russia and America's respective roles in the world, both historically and currently. He said that though Russia is "armed today" and "if needed, we can hit back," he said that time has not come, and that the important thing at this moment is to deescalate the brewing conflict between Russia and the West.
"The signs of a new cold war have emerged and all this process needs to be stopped,” he said. “I think it is not late yet. There will be people who have the courage to stop this and start building a new world order that would answer the challenges that the world community is facing. ... I think civilian structures, namely the global ones, have a great role here. These desperate warriors need to be stopped."
Tensions between Russia and the U.S. and European Union have been building over Russia's military incursions into Ukraine, as well as its insistence on flying military planes and running navy ships to locations around the world from Australia to the Gulf of Mexico. But Gorbachev said that Europe can play a role in reestablishing better relations between the West and Russia, thereby avoiding another full-blown Cold War.