Mikhail Gorbachev, Richard von Weizsäcker, praise Havel

The last Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, has praised the Mr Havel as a statesman for his commitment to the highest humanistic values; he made the statement in a condolence letter sent to Mr Havel’s successor Václav Klaus. In the letter, Mr Gorbachev recalls the former Czech president’s official visit to the Kremlin in 1990, during which future ties as well as the departure of Russian troops from Czech soil were discussed. Mr Gorbachev and Havel met again in 1992 at the Czechoslovak Embassy in Moscow, the former leader points out. He writes that he hoped that their meetings left a positive mark on Czech-Russian ties.

Richard von Weizsäcker, the former German president, also remembered Mr Havel on Monday, telling journalists that he had been a true friend and a role-model. He made the comment after signing a book of condolences at the Czech Embassy in Berlin. He made clear that Mr Havel had helped Germany to correct past wrongs it had committed against its neighbours, including Czechoslovakia.

Author: Jan Velinger