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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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18 March 2016

Mikhail Gorbachev: I know that helping children is what Raisa believed in - that's why I'm giving £50,000 to GOSH

For nearly five decades, one person was by my side – my wife, Raisa. We were never bored and always happy and in love, though we rarely talked about it, preferring to cherish our mutual respect and affection. Today her death, and the suffering that preceded it, still haunts me: how is it that I was unable to save her?
 
It was in 1951, six years after the end of the Second World War and two years after she enrolled as a philosophy student at Moscow State University, that I met Raisa Titorenko. She was and is the most kind, beautiful and wise person I have ever met, the more so for her remarkable intelligence, which was the pride of her father, a railway worker, and mother, who was born a Siberian peasant and remained illiterate until her twenties.
 
Raisa’s death in September 1999 cast a shadow over my life from which I shall never be free. I think of her every day, every hour. Time doesn’t heal this sorrow, and I miss her as much today as the minute I finally said goodbye to her. 
 
When faced with grief, it is a natural human response to consider how, if at all, the spirit of the dead can live on – somehow. Good should come of a life that has been so good. It was with this feeling in mind that, well over a decade ago now, I decided to set up the Raisa Gorbachev Foundation with my friends Alexander and Evgeny Lebedev. Our aim was simple: to raise money for a cause that Raisa, an activist and campaigner until her last breath, always believed in: helping sick children. 
 
The suffering or death of children is an unbearable horror that no just world can tolerate. We have worked very hard for many years to rid the world of this sadness. The foundation has raised more than £10m in London, much of it given to Marie Curie. 
 
We have also raised millions for the Raisa Gorbachev Memorial Institute for Children’s Haematology and Transplantation in St Petersburg. The staff and medical team there perform daily miracles of the kind that one can also witness at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, and the Louis Dundas Centre for Children’s Palliative Care that is affiliated to it. That is why I have decided to donate a remaining £100,000 to these causes, split 50/50 between GOSH and the centre named after Raisa in St Petersburg.
 
I know, having read of the amazing response of your readers to this newspaper’s Give to GOSH campaign, that, like my late wife, you want to help reduce the suffering of children. This £100,000 may seem a small amount – but to the parents of those suffering children which it will help, it is nothing of the sort. 
 
I commend this newspaper on its great campaign and hope we can continue to work together to save children affected by cancer. I know it is what Raisa would have wanted us to do. 

The Independent, 1 March 2016

 
 
 

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Gorbachev in the news media

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