German Chancellor Angela Merkel's refusal to attend celebrations of the 70th anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany in World War II in Moscow on May 9 can be explained by powerful pressure being put on her by the U.S. authorities, former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev has said.
"I cannot accept Merkel's position - her refusal to come to Moscow for the May 9 commemorations. But I cannot criticize her either," Gorbachev told Interfax.
"I respect her and understand her conduct. I am convinced that her decision stems from the powerful pressure being put on her by the U.S. government. Politics is politics," he said.
But it will also be impossible for Merkel not to visit Russia these days at all, he added.
"Angela Merkel cannot help coming and paying her respect to the Soviet people's fight against fascism at all. And I clearly understand this. Her position is well-known both to me and others: she is an anti-fascist, she supports the mission liberating from Nazism and she respects all those who fought with weapons in their hands or as part of underground resistance, in forests and even in prisons," he said.
"This circumstance explains Mrs. Merkel's serious and responsible stance. When she comes here, she will represent the new Germany which was liberated from fascism by the Soviet Army. The allies and the Germans themselves who fought against the 'brown plague' also made their contribution to it," Gorbachev said.
"I very much would like to be confident that today both we and the Germans realize the present generation's enormous responsibility for preserving and promoting peace and developing good relations between Russia and Germany," the ex-Soviet leader said.
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