MOSCOW – Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev is recovering after undergoing surgery in Germany on a key artery in the neck that supplies blood to the brain, his foundation said Wednesday.
Gorbachev, 75, had surgery on his carotid artery at a clinic in Munich on Tuesday after being hospitalized there Sunday, the Gorbachev Foundation said in a statement posted on its Web site.
"The post-operation phase is proceeding normally," it said. Gorbachev has not had any major health problems in the past.
Gorbachev went to a Moscow hospital 10 days ago feeling tired and somewhat unwell after a busy year, and canceled a trip to Italy planned for last week, according to his aide, Vladimir Polyakov.
He had been scheduled to travel to Rome on Thursday for an annual meeting of Nobel Peace Prize laureates organized by his foundation and city hall.
Polyakov told The Associated Press over the weekend that Gorbachev had spent about half his time this year traveling and had three books published since March, with a fourth coming out soon. "He probably worked too hard and got tired out," Polyakov said.
Gorbachev radically changed the Soviet Union with his liberal glasnost and perestroika reforms in the late 1980s, helping unleash forces that pulled the country apart and led to his resignation in December 1991 as president of a nation that had essentially ceased to exist.
Awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1990, he runs the Gorbachev Foundation — an organization devoted to studying international issues including globalization, security, weapons of mass destruction, environmental and natural resources, and poverty.
More popular abroad than in Russia, where many blame him for the Soviet collapse, he travels frequently.