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Gorbachev Joins Italy's Berlusconi on Ukraine "Bad Boy" List

President Reagan and General Secretary Gorbachev signing the INF Treaty
President Reagan and General Secretary Gorbachev signing the INF Treaty (Public Domain)

In news from Ukraine, the State Security Service of the Poroshenko government has now banned ex-Russian President Mikhail Gorbachev from entering the country for five years over the former Soviet leader's vocal support of Vladimir Putin’s decisions on Crimea in 2014. 

Mr. Gorbachev had said that he agreed with Putin’s actions surrounding the crisis in Crimea and that, “he would have acted the same way as President Vladimir Putin in a similar situation.” The famous leader went on to affirm most people in Crimea wanted to be reunited with Russia anyway. The 85-year-old former Russian President is best known for his Perestroika reforms on the early 1990s, which ended the Cold War. 

A spokeswomen for Ukraine’s security service, Olena Gitlyanska, added Kiev's take via Facebook: 

“We have indeed banned him from entering for five years in the interests of state security, including for his public support of the military annexation of Crimea."

Mr. Gorbachev's response was to retort, he had no intention of visiting Ukraine in any event. The distinguished statesman joins former Italian President Silvio Berlusconi, who was also banned in September because for visiting Crimea, and ostensibly for being Vladmir Putin's friend. Gorbachev, who is oft criticized for weak policies in the face of the Soviet collapse, was taunted a bit by Ukraine's Security Service, the SBU on Twitter. A "tweet" said; "For his public support for the annexation of Crimea Mikhail Gorbachev is prohibited from entering Ukraine for a period of five years." 

Curiously, western media and leadership have been using Mr. Gorbachev's book "The New Russia", just published in the US, as a geopolitical lever to force a wedge in between Gorbachev pundits and Vladimir Putin supporters. Reviews of the book pit the last Soviet leader against his younger colleague over Gorbachev's differences of opinion with Putin. While Gorbachev seems in favor of Gorbachev advocates "radical reform of politics and new fostering of pluralism and social democracy", it seems abundantly clear Mr. Putin's more authoritative approach was boosting Russia's status before the Ukraine crisis. 

L-R: Silvio Berlusconi, Vladimir Putin, and Dmitry Medvedev at Krasnaya Polyana in 2012

As for Mr. Berlusconi, One more region of Italy, Liguria, is asking the national government to recognize the status of Crimea as "Russia", and to lift anti-Russia sanctions that have done more harm to everyone, than good. Berlusconi's Forza Italia movement is gaining traction across Italy, as allied movement Lega Nord now also endorses a reboot with Russia. Though mostly symbolic, the warning of the Veneto vote on these matters is clear. The resolution adopted by regional Council on May 18, caused reverberations across Italian media.