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Tough to Live on $56 Pension, Gorbachev Says

February 27, 1992| From Reuters

LONDON — Former Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev complained in an interview shown Wednesday that he is finding it hard to make ends meet on a state pension after his abrupt removal from power.

Gorbachev also expressed concern in the interview broadcast by Britain's Independent Television News that his successor, Russian President Boris N. Yeltsin, might become too authoritarian.

Gorbachev's wife, Raisa, described her husband's sleepless nights during his time as the Soviet leader.

The Gorbachevs are living in a three-room apartment in Moscow and a simple country house, or dacha.

Of the trappings of power, only a black Zil limousine and 10 bodyguards paid for by the Russian government remain.

In the film by a French documentary team, Gorbachev was shown bemoaning his lack of funds while drinking wine and vodka around a table with a group of friends.

"Raisa and I, we receive all the bills. . . . We pay them. . . . Out go the checks, and last month we calculated we'd spent 3,900 rubles (about $56). That's all my pension," he said.

He said Raisa receives only the basic minimum state pension despite having "slaved away for 25 years."

The former Soviet leader said he has no doubt that Yeltsin is committed to reforming the system. But he added: "I think he is a man who in certain circumstances could be subjected to various influences. He might take up a position which is too authoritarian."

Raisa, wearing a chic astrakhan coat and fur hat, spoke bitterly about how her husband had been treated.

"If anyone knew how much we suffered during those seven years, all the sleepless nights, the countless dangers, the worries--they were endless," she said.

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