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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Gorbachev's Would-Be Killer Freed After Psychiatric Term

A man who tried to assassinate Mikhail Gorbachev in 1990 has been released after nearly five years in a psychiatric ward, but says he does not regret his attack.


"I would do just what I did [again],'' Alexander Shmonov said, as reported by the daily Komsomolskaya Pravda on Thursday.


Shmonov said he tried to shoot the Soviet president because he held him responsible for killing civilians in uprisings in the republics of Georgia and Azerbaijan in 1989 and 1990.


The 43-year-old St. Petersburg man had also sent a letter to the Politburo that year demanding a nationwide referendum on free elections and moving toward a market economy. The government did not respond, Shmonov said.


On Nov. 7, 1990 he fired a sawed-off shotgun about 80 meters from Gorbachev during a heavily guarded Revolution Day parade on Red Square. He was immediately seized and arrested.


After spending a month in Lefortovo, the KGB's main prison, he was transferred to a psychiatric hospital, where he remained until June 7.


"The forced psychiatric treatment was worse than prison,'' he told the newspaper. "We were on pills and injections all the time.''


Shmonov said he is still adjusting to life as a free man in a Russia so different from the one he was protesting against five years ago.


"Of course, much has changed in the country,'' he said. "We already have market economics now.''


Shmonov said his politics now lie with the liberal Russia's Democratic Choice party.