MOSCOW, April 1: Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev has condemned attempts to blame him for the Soviet Union's breakup.
"I saw the necessity of decentralisation and modernisation of the USSR, however, I was in favour of the union's preservation. Any attempts to put the blame on me for the union state's collapse are irresponsible, unfounded and deceitful," Gorbachev,82, said during an open lecture at RIA Novosti in Moscow.
Gorbachev, whose glasnost and perestroika reforms eventually led to the collapse of the Soviet Union, said it was first Russian president Boris Yeltsin, who had "acted destructively" after the August 1991 unsuccessful coup attempt.
He said the perestroika policy, which he sees as his main achievement, brought freedom and democracy to Russia and Central and Eastern Europe.
Gorbachev praised himself for the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Afghanistan in 1989.