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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Stylish Raisa Sells Off Wardrobe

SAMARA, Central Russia -- While Mikhail Gorbachev is pushing ahead with his bid for the Russian presidency, his wife seems to have given up hope of a return to the political limelight.

Raisa Gorbachev told a Russian newspaper she has begun selling off her evening dresses to Moscow second-hand stores because she no longer needs them.

"It doesn't even occur to many Moscow residents that they're wearing Raisa Gorbachev's evening dresses," the report said, according to Itar-Tass.

Raisa Gorbachev was the first Soviet first lady to come out of her husband's shadow, and she became well known at home and abroad for her stylish, expensive outfits. But she was derided by many Russians as being haughty, pretentious and overdressed.

Now she insists her flashy clothes weren't products of personal whim but a state necessity.

Itar-Tass reported Monday that in an interview with the Budni newspaper in the city of Samara, the former first lady singled out Nancy Reagan as being especially demanding in her dress code for White House receptions.

Responding to the protocol burden abroad, Raisa Gorbachev liberalized fashion standards at home, she said -- including a revolutionary decision to allow women to wear dresses of any length at official Kremlin ceremonies.

Her husband, who is challenging old-time rival Boris Yeltsin in a quest for Russian presidency, enjoys barely 1 percent of support in campaign polls.

Millions of Russians blame Mikhail Gorbachev for post-Soviet economic meltdown and the loss of their nation's superpower status.