A Chastened Character In Search of a Role

Humiliated but determined to hang on to his powers, Mikhail Gorbachev exerts his formidable strength

One thing can be said for Mikhail Gorbachev: he certainly has a strong survival instinct. After committing enough errors of judgment to have wrecked the careers of a dozen or so Western politicians, he was back on the job at the Kremlin last week, chastened, humiliated, but as determined as ever to hold on to his powers as President of the Soviet Union. Never mind that the Communist Party was no more, the central government dissolved, the security services and armed forces undergoing a painful purge and the Soviet parliament in total disarray. The failed putsch may have left a gaping...

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