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Gorbachev says health improving, can walk again

02 october 2015, 16:11

The Soviet Union's last leader Mikhail Gorbachev, who has been battling diabetes, said Friday his health is improving and that he can walk again with the help of a stick, AFP reports.

"I feel much better. I can walk again, with a stick that I had to get used to in the beginning. But that was a big step because a few months ago, I could not," Gorbachev told German daily Bild.

His sugar levels have now stabilised "but I must continue taking medication," he said, adding that during his convalescence he read a lot, including 12 newspapers every morning.

"I am also writing another book, and I am fighting," said the 84-year-old.

The Nobel Peace Prize winner who became Soviet leader in 1985 instituted the political and economic reforms that became known as glasnost (openness) and perestroika (rebuilding).

The reforms transformed society throughout the Soviet bloc countries, giving people their first taste of Western culture and resulting in an independent press boom across the 15 republics of the former USSR.

Gorbachev served as Soviet leader until 1991, when his reforms gave the Moscow-controlled republics enough strength to declare independence, and for Russia together with Belarus and Ukraine to sign an agreement on the Soviet Union's dissolution.

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