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Gorbachev on Obama

Barack Obama did in fact deserve the Nobel Peace Prize, former prize winner and Soviet premier Mikhail Gorbachev said in an exclusive interview with Radio Free Europe. “I won it unexpectedly and he won it unexpectedly,” Gorby told the U.S. government-funded outlet based in Prague. “America means a lot [to the world] and will continue ...

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LONDON - JUNE 06: Mikhail Gorbachev arrives at the Raisa Gorbachev Foundation Annual Fundraising Gala Dinner at Hampton Court on June 6, 2009 in London, England. (Photo by Frantzesco Kangaris/Getty Images)

Barack Obama did in fact deserve the Nobel Peace Prize, former prize winner and Soviet premier Mikhail Gorbachev said in an exclusive interview with Radio Free Europe.

“I won it unexpectedly and he won it unexpectedly,” Gorby told the U.S. government-funded outlet based in Prague. “America means a lot [to the world] and will continue to do so for a long time … That’s why [we have to] support a president of such stature, who gave his own country and the world such a strong push forward. And it’s already showing real effects. That’s honorable.”

The former leader also talks about the state of Russian democracy, the Russian opposition, and corruption in the Russian government. RFE characterizes Gorbachev’s role and reputiation:

Hugely popular abroad, Gorbachev has long been widely disliked at home for bringing about the end of communism. He remained active in politics, co-founding the Social Democratic Party. But when he ran for president in 1996, he won less than 1 percent of the vote.

Since Putin’s rise to power in 2000, Gorbachev has often been among the first to criticize new authoritarian measures in Russia, especially restrictions against the free press, independent politicians, and nongovernmental organizations. But he’s been a consistently ardent supporter of the man many believe responsible for the country’s direction: Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

Check out the video here:

Frantzesco Kangaris/Getty Image

Josh Rogin covers national security and foreign policy and writes the daily Web column The Cable. His column appears bi-weekly in the print edition of The Washington Post. He can be reached for comments or tips at josh.rogin@foreignpolicy.com.

Previously, Josh covered defense and foreign policy as a staff writer for Congressional Quarterly, writing extensively on Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantánamo Bay, U.S.-Asia relations, defense budgeting and appropriations, and the defense lobbying and contracting industries. Prior to that, he covered military modernization, cyber warfare, space, and missile defense for Federal Computer Week Magazine. He has also served as Pentagon Staff Reporter for the Asahi Shimbun, Japan's leading daily newspaper, in its Washington, D.C., bureau, where he reported on U.S.-Japan relations, Chinese military modernization, the North Korean nuclear crisis, and more.

A graduate of George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs, Josh lived in Yokohama, Japan, and studied at Tokyo's Sophia University. He speaks conversational Japanese and has reported from the region. He has also worked at the House International Relations Committee, the Embassy of Japan, and the Brookings Institution.

Josh's reporting has been featured on CNN, MSNBC, C-Span, CBS, ABC, NPR, WTOP, and several other outlets. He was a 2008-2009 National Press Foundation's Paul Miller Washington Reporting Fellow, 2009 military reporting fellow with the Knight Center for Specialized Journalism and the 2011 recipient of the InterAction Award for Excellence in International Reporting. He hails from Philadelphia and lives in Washington, D.C. Twitter: @joshrogin