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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Gorbachev: C. I. S. 'Tragic'

Mikhail Gorbachev said in interviews over the weekend that he regretted the demise of the Soviet Union and that the creation of the Commonwealth of Independent States had been a "tragic mistake".

Interviewed on Commonwealth television on Sunday, a year after the Soviet empire collapsed, he said:

"What happened was not dictated by necessity and had serious consequences for all former republics", according to Reuters. "I think a tragic mistake was made".

Gorbachev, whose vision of a looser Soviet Union was shattered by a hardline coup attempt in August 1991 and the subsequent stampede toward independence by republics, said the Commonwealth had failed to live up to expectations. "All problems have not only not been resolved, but have become worse", he said.

Gorbachev, who now heads a Moscow-based think tank, defended his efforts to hold the Soviet Union together by devolving more power to the republics.

"What is happening now in Russia and in the Commonwealth countries shows that the line and tactics we followed were justified and necessary", he said in apparent reference to economic decline and worsening ethnic conflicts.

But he expressed optimism that the reform process, launched by his government in 1985, would continue.

"Everything that started in 1985 has to be continued", he said. "You think the Gorbachev era has ended. I only gave the dawn. It is still not midday".