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Gorbachev Spokesman Denies Report That Ex-Soviet Leader Is Ill

Mikhail Gorbachev in 2017
Mikhail Gorbachev in 2017

A spokesman for Mikhail Gorbachev has denied a report that the former Soviet leader has fallen ill.

Pavel Palazhchenko was quoted by the state-run news agency TASS on April 26 as saying that Gorbachev’s health was “absolutely normal.”

A day earlier, filmmaker Andre Singer said that Gorbachev, 88, had planned to attend a screening on April 25 of a new documentary called Meeting With Gorbachev, which he co-directed.

“He wanted to come to the film screening. But he’s now in the hospital, not feeling well,” Singer was quoted by TASS as saying. “The doctors forbade him from attending.”

It was unclear if Palazhchenko was asked specifically whether Gorbachev had been hospitalized.

Gorbachev continues to have a low-key public life 29 years after the Soviet Union collapsed, speaking out regularly about world events and occasionally Russian politics.

He underwent spinal surgery eight years ago and has curtailed international travel in recent years.

In 2014, he was hospitalized for an undisclosed condition. Two years later, he canceled a planned trip to Prague for medical reasons.

Hailed in the West for instituting sweeping political and economic reforms that contributed to the breakup of the Soviet Union, Gorbachev is reviled by many within Russia who blame him for the Soviet collapse and the chaotic years that followed.

His wife, Raisa, died in 1999 at the age of 67.

Based on reporting by TASS and Interfax