Watch CBS News

Gorbachev says U.S. became "arrogant" after Soviet Union collapsed

Russia lays out list of demands
Russia wants Ukraine denied entry to NATO as a condition of military de-escalation 05:01

Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev said Friday that Washington grew "arrogant and self-confident" after the collapse of the Soviet Union, leading to the expansion of the NATO military alliance.

In recent years, President Vladimir Putin has grown increasingly insistent that NATO is encroaching close to Russia's borders, and Moscow last week demanded "legal guarantees" that the U.S.-led alliance will halt its eastward expansion.

"How can one count on equal relations with the United States and the West in such a position?" Gorbachev told state news agency RIA Novosti on the eve of the anniversary of his resignation as the leader of the USSR.

He noted the "triumphant mood in the West, especially in the United States" after the Soviet Union ceased to exist in 1991.

"They grew arrogant and self-confident. They declared victory in the Cold War," Gorbachev, 90, said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu watch the Red Square military parade
Former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev watching the Victory Day Red Square Military Parade in Moscow on May 9, 2018 marking the 73th anniversary of the end of WWII. Mikhail Svetlov / Getty Images

He insisted that it was "together" that Moscow and Washington pulled the world out of confrontation and the nuclear race.

"No, the 'winners' decided to build a new empire. Hence the idea of NATO expansion," Gorbachev added.

However, he welcomed upcoming security talks between Moscow and Washington.

"I hope there will be a result," he said.

Russia Soviet Collapse Anniversary
Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, center, surrounded by several leaders of USSR republics, speaks after signing an economic union agreement at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, on Oct. 18, 1991. In that year, Gorbachev tried desperately to get the Soviet republics to abandon their push for independence, but a Dec. 8, 1991, agreement by leaders of Russia, Ukraine and Belarus declared that the Soviet Union ceased to exist. Lui Heung Shing / AP

Last week, Moscow presented the West with sweeping security demands, saying NATO must not admit new members and seeking to bar the United States from establishing new bases in former Soviet countries.

Putin said Thursday that Washington has been willing to discuss the proposals and talks could happen at the start of next year in Geneva.

A senior U.S. official said Washington was ready for talks "as soon as early January".

Gorbachev resigned as president of the Soviet Union on December 25, 1991, days after the leaders of Belarus, Russia and Ukraine said the USSR no longer existed.

A former KGB agent and loyal servant of the Soviet Union, Putin was dismayed when it fell apart, once calling the collapse "the greatest geopolitical disaster of the 20th century."

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.