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The XXI century will be a сentury either of total all-embracing crisis or of moral and spiritual healing that will reinvigorate humankind. It is my conviction that all of us - all reasonable political leaders, all spiritual and ideological movements, all  faiths - must help in this transition to a triumph of humanism and justice, in making the XXI century a century of a new human renaissance.

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19 марта 2010

International Conference "Responding to the Challenge of the Times"


The Conference included an official launch of a new book published in 2010 by the Moscow-based Ves Mir Publishers and titled Responding to the Challenge of the Times. The book deals with the foreign policy of the Perestroika period and is based on the materials from the Gorbachev-Foundation’s archives. Anatoly Chernyayev, Vadim Medvedev and Pavel Palazhchenko of the Gorbachev-Foundation, the political scientist Viktor Sheinis, the Editor-in-Chief of Russia in Global Affairs Fedor Lukianov, and the head of Ves Mir Publishers Oleg Zimarin were among the speakers at the book launch ceremony.

Speaking at the Conference's Second Session “Today’s Global Challenges and the Search for a New Thinking” (chaired by Pavel Palazhchenko, head of the Gorbachev-Foundation’s International and Media Relations) were the German Ambassador to the Russian Federation Walter Jurgen Schmidt; the Editor-in-Chief of Russia in Global Affairs Fedor Lukianov; Svetlana Savranskaya of the U.S. National Security Archive, Washington, D.C.; William C. Taubman, Bertrand Snell Professor of Political Science at Amherst College, USA; and Boris Makarenko, member of the management board of Russia’s Institute of Contemporary Development.

Participants in the debates that followed included, among others, Giulietto Chiesa, former Member of the European Parliament; Ruslan Grinberg, Director of the Institute of Economics, the Russian Academy of Sciences; and Fredo Arias-King, a political scientist and recognized democracy advocate from Mexico.

A webcast of the event was online at The Conference proceedings will be published at the Gorbachev-Foundation’s website.

The Conference was widely covered in the national media, including Mir Interstate Television and Radio Company, Vesti TV news channel, Interfax news agency, Argumenty I Fakty national weekly, ITAR-TASS news agency, Rosbalt news agency, and others.

In particular, Mir Interstate Television and Radio Company ( gave its audience information about the book and its contents, emphasizing that “the book for the first time presented transcripts of talks [Mikhail Gorbachev held] with foreign leaders”. Talking about the causes of Perestroika the former Soviet President was cited as saying, “We needed change. We came to realize that we could not go on living like that. This realization emerged in society itself …”
Vesti TV news channel posted a story covering the event at its website and presented detailed information about the book, citing Mikhail Gorbachev’s as concerned about the “relapse” of the Cold War: “We ended the Cold War, but are again falling into the same trap”. The first and only Soviet President is alarmed by the new military doctrine of the United States and the attempts to divide the world again “by missiles and military bases”.
Interfax news agency gave an overview of the conference and the book launch, citing Mikhail Gorbachev as saying that he was not going to retire yet and that he had plans to author more books in the future.

A story published in the online edition of Argumenty I Fakty, one of Russia’s leading national weeklies (, informed the readership about the book and presented the remarks the Soviet President made at the launch ceremony. Mikhail Gorbachev is confident that the facts and stories covered in the book and previously unknown to the general public will shed light on a host of events. “Let everybody see how we were ‘selling the country out’”, Mikhail Gorbachev joked.

ITAR-TASS news agency ( covered the Conference and the book launch in its report, emphasizing that of particular interest are the book materials dealing with the more dramatic events of the period, including the war in Afghanistan and the withdrawal of Soviet troops from that country, the Persian Gulf War, and the events that took place in Eastern European countries shortly before the demise of the Soviet Union.

In its report of March 19, 2010 (, Rosbalt news agency gave an overview of the conference, extensively quoting Mikhail Gorbachev’s presentation of the book. His comments on the book gave an insight into the motives that had inspired the Soviet President to launch Perestroika. According to him, changes in the country were effected long after he became the General Secretary of the Communist Party. “Perestroika started in the year of 1988. All the years in between were a prelude to Perestroika. It was only after the 19th [Communist] Party Conference that this process of moving forward became irreversible,” the news agency quoted Mikhail Gorbachev as saying. 

Video recording of the conference is available at



The eighth and last leader of the Soviet Union, he was the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1985 until 1991. 10 August 2021
Archie Brown. Re-evaluation of the huge achievements of the perestroika years, as well as the failures during them and since, is an unfinished task
This article has been publushed in Russian in Rossiya v globalnoy politike journal, #3. 2021. 11 June 2021
Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President Joe Biden will meet in Geneva on June 16. Former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev told Interfax special correspondent Vyacheslav Terekhov in an interview that the main task the two presidents will have to address is restoring strategic stability. 1 June 2021

Gorbachev in the news media