As the CIA saw it: Gorbachev tried to save the USSR, but it was not possible – World – News

How Herb Meyer, who served in Ronald Reagan’s administration, perceived former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, who has died aged 91. He was Special Assistant to Director of Central Intelligence William Casey and Vice Chairman of the CIA’s National Intelligence Council. Read an interview with him for Pravda from 2010.

, 30.08.2022 23:50

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Mikhail Gorbachev with Ronald Reagan in a picture from 1987.

Did the US government and the CIA expect Gorbachev to become the Soviet leader? And if so, did they prefer him?

Yes. On the day Leonid Brezhnev died, Director of Central Intelligence Casey wrote a note to President Ronald Reagan predicting that Gorbachev would become the Soviet leader. (Brezhnev died in 1982, he was replaced first by Yuri Andropov, then by Konstantin Chernenko and finally in 1985 by Gorbachev, editor’s note)

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What was the reaction of President Reagan and other officials to this news?

No concrete reaction came, we just took note of the events and waited to see how they would develop. We considered the arrival of Gorbachev as proof that the Soviet leadership understood the problems their country was in. Gorbachev was their best hope to save the desperate economic situation. In fact, Gorbachev always thought that the Soviet economy could be saved through reforms. He never understood that it was too late to save.

Slovak President Rudolf Schuster (left) during...
Former President of the USSR Mikhail Sergeevich...

I suppose the White House had some strategy for communicating with the new Soviet leader. What was the main part?

British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher told President Reagan that Gorbachev was a man to do business with. So the head of the White House at the time began working with the Soviet leader in the hope of reducing the nuclear arsenals of both countries. That was Reagan’s main goal. But the US continued economic pressure.

You predicted the collapse of the Soviet Union long before. Did you see the rise of Gorbachev in any way as a confirmation of your opinion?

As I said before, by choosing Gorbachev, the Soviet leaders realized the problems their country was in. He was their best chance, but he just wasn’t good enough. No one could save the Soviet Union due to the pressure exerted on the USSR by American policies. Gorbachev thought that communism could be reformed, but it could not be reformed. Finally, the Cold War ended and the Soviet Union ceased to exist.

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Source: Pravda – Správy by spravy.pravda.sk.

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