By Barbara Bush
September 27, 1999
Web posted at: 12:30 p.m. EDT (1630 GMT)
When I met RAISA GORBACHEV in 1987, the cold war still divided
our countries, but it did not prevent us from becoming good
friends. It was tough at first. We came from different cultures.
Raisa passionately believed in communism and was not afraid to
But while our husbands were trying to resolve serious
differences, Raisa and I discovered we were much alike. We talked
about our children, how difficult it could be to live a public
life, and of course we talked about our husbands. We both just
happened to be crazy about the men we married. We also shared
many adventures. I took her with me to Wellesley College, where
we both gave commencement speeches. We took a wonderful trip down
the Moscow River, and George and I spent a weekend with Mikhail
and Raisa at Camp David. Even when the talks between our husbands
were tense, the four of us could relax as friends.
In 1991, when the Gorbachevs were virtually held prisoners in
their home during a coup attempt, my heart broke for Raisa. I
knew she must be scared--for her husband and her country. So
George and I both shed a tear when we learned of Raisa's death.
We mourned the loss of a friend; we mourned the passing of a
fascinating woman who gave much to this world; mainly we mourned
for Mikhail. Theirs was a great love story, and we know he'll
miss her terribly.
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Cover Date: October 4, 1999