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Former Soviet leader Gorbachev says he knows who plotted the siege on U.S. Capitol

Gorbachev briefly was held captive during an attempted coup against him in the former Soviet Union.

Updated: January 11, 2021 - 9:45am

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

Former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev said that he knows who planned the attack on the U.S. Capitol, and that the incident bodes ill for America's future.

"The storming of the Capitol was clearly designed in advance, and it is clear by whom," Gorbachev last week told an interviewer for Russian media. And, while he didn't identify the plotters, the renowned statesman said that he senses machinations at work.

"It will take a little time, and we will figure it out, why it was really done," Gorbachev said.

A pivotal international figure during the latter years of the Cold War, Gorbachev in 1991 was briefly held captive during a failed attempt to overthrow him in the Soviet Union. The Soviet communist coup conspirators favored a hard line over Gorbachev's liberalized approach to running the country. Although Gorbachev faced down the plotters, the incident is widely viewed as having ushered in the demise of the Soviet Union.  

The Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol was quickly put down, and was not accompanied by the usual trappings of a coup d'etat, such as tanks in the streets. Nevertheless, Gorbachev indicated that the episode would reverberate through the United States. The incident "called into question the future fate of the United States as a state," he said.

Gorbachev did not immediately respond to emailed questions from Just the News.

During his interview with Russian media, the former Soviet leader also addressed the relationship between the United States and Russia. A revived arms race between the two nations is unlikely, he said.

"People who do not want war will unite, and their leaders will have to find a way out," said Gorbachev, who is the central figure in a Moscow think tank named in his honor. "They will find new forms of treaties which take into account new types of weapons. We must not lose hope. I don't lose hope in young people."

Gorbachev in 1990 thrilled onlookers in downtown Washington, D.C., when he stepped out of his limousine and greeted crowds during rush hour. Gorbachev had just finished meeting with President George H. W. Bush while on an official visit to the United States.