Gorbachev honoured with Russia`s highest state honour
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Last Updated: Wednesday, March 02, 2011, 23:00
Moscow: Former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, who was instrumental in the demise of the Communist state in the early 1990s, was on Wednesday decorated with Russia's highest state honour by President Dmitry Medvedev.

Gorbachev, who was the architect of perestroika and glasnost in former Soviet Union that led to landmark political reforms, was honoured with the tsarist-era order of St. Andrew on his 80th birthday.

"I think it is a fitting mark of the important work you undertook as head of state," Medvedev was quoted as telling the former president by the state-run Ria Novosti news agency.

"You headed our country in a very difficult, dramatic period," Medvedev said, adding that the decoration was a "symbol of the state's respect" for his work.

The eight-pointed star embossed with an image of St. Andrew and a blue ribbon was established by Emperor Peter the Great in 1698-99. Late president Boris Yeltsin revived the order in 1998, the report said.

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who has been critical of Gorbachev in the past, sent a personal letter of greeting to him.

The Russian strongman described Gorbachev as "one of the most prominent state leaders, who significantly influenced world history."

Even as the 1990 Nobel Peace Prize winner has been praised for his role in ending the Cold War with the US and the monopoly rule of the Soviet Communist party, he has often been targetted by Russian nationalists who accused him of ruining the Soviet empire.


First Published: Wednesday, March 02, 2011, 23:00

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