Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

'My Beloved Raisa Believed in Helping Sick Children This Is What She Would Have Wanted'

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

'My Beloved Raisa Believed in Helping Sick Children This Is What She Would Have Wanted'

Article excerpt

Byline: Mikhail Gorbachev

FOR nearly five decades, one person was by my side my wife Raisa. We were never bored and always happy and in love, though we rarely talked about it, preferring to cherish our mutual respect and affection. Today her death, and the suffering that preceded it, still haunts me: How is it that I was unable to save her? It was in 1951, six years after the end of the Second World War and two years after she enrolled as a philosophy student at Moscow State University, that I met Raisa Titorenko.

She was and is the most kind, beautiful and wise person I have ever met, the more so for her remarkable intelligence, which was the pride of her father, a railway worker, and mother, who was born a Siberian peasant and remained illiterate until her twenties.

These kind and humble people raised a wonderful daughter. From the moment we met, she became my greatest source of strength and inspiration. Her diagnosis with leukaemia was the most unbearable shock I have ever known. I was aware that what had happened to us and to our country weighed heavily on Raisa.

Right up to the last moment I believed she could be saved, and I couldn't reconcile myself to what had happened. She fought for her life courageously, and patiently endured whatever the doctors did to her. I couldn't bear to look at all this.

Raisa's death in September 1999 cast a shadow over my life from which I shall never be free. I think of her every day, every hour. Time doesn't heal this sorrow, and I miss her as much today as the minute I finally said goodbye to her. When faced with grief, it is a natural human response to consider how, if at all, the spirit of the dead can live on somehow. Good should come of a life that has been so good.

It was with this feeling in mind that, well over a decade ago now, I decided to set up the Raisa Gorbachev Foundation with my friends Alexander and Evgeny Lebedev. …

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