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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Gorbachev Foundation Gets a Home

With a little bit of help from Pizza Hut and some money from CNN founder Ted Turner, former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev finally got a permanent home for his foundation Friday.

Assisted by Turner, Gorbachev cut the ribbon on a luxurious new building on Leningradsky Prospekt. An assortment of people from the cultural and political elite turned out, including a shoal of ambassadors, former Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov, Yabloko leader Grigory Yavlinsky and even former Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres.

The Gorbachev Foundation, founded in 1992, offers financial assistance for research and teacher training as well as working as a library and archive of material from the Gorbachev years. Its offices had been in the Financial Academy down the road.

Gorbachev raised the money for the new building largely from private sponsors, most notably Turner, although the foundation would not say how much he contributed. Some of the money also came from a television advertisement Gorbachev made for Pizza Hut.

Friday was very much Gorbachev's day. A five-minute video in English - looking very much like a CNN advertisement - was shown to the gathering and it bordered on hagiography, with a series of international politicians praising him on screen.

Then those present took their turn.

"We admire you so much," Turner said. "You led the most peaceful revolution in the world."

Peres told the gathering that the greatest events of the 20th century were the liberation of women and the liberation of Russia. "The liberation of women made us one people and the liberation of Russia made us one world," he said.

"We want to help Russia," said Gorbachev, who has focused on environmental issues in recent years.

"This is Raisa Gorbachev's dream come true," he said of his wife, who died last year of cancer.