Gorbachev Shows Off Red Square : Chimes Atop Lenin Tomb Serenade Summit Stroll
The chimes from Spassky Tower heralded President Reagan today as Mikhail S. Gorbachev led his guest in a walk on the ancient cobblestones of Red Square--stones so famous that even the reformist Soviet leader would not think of repaving them.
Reagan was greeted by applause and shouts of hello from small groups of Soviets who were standing by to meet him.
“You should apply some pressure on the President. You are always pressuring me for results,” Gorbachev joked to the crowd when peace issues were broached.
As they began their walk, Reagan and Gorbachev first turned in the direction of St. Basil’s Cathedral with its multicolored facade and onion-shaped domes. Reagan gazed upward at the 15th-Century cathedral as Gorbachev pointed and apparently explained some of its features.
The square that draws millions of Russian and foreign tourists annually had been swept clear of people, save for the single-file line of those waiting silently to enter the Lenin mausoleum and eight groups of selected Soviets standing by to meet Reagan.
“So let us welcome the President,” Gorbachev said as he approached one of the groups of about 25 people.
Bystanders voiced concerns ranging from nuclear war to cooperation in space between the superpowers.
After strolling past the cathedral, the red-painted Spassky Tower, the contemporary marble structure where the body of Vladimir I. Lenin rests, and the fir trees planted along its edge, Reagan proclaimed the square “beautiful.”
‘No Rebuilding Here’
As they walked along the cobblestones of Red Square, Gorbachev remarked: “There should be no perestroika --no rebuilding here.”
Gorbachev, in explaining the history of area, pointed toward the Kremlin side of Red Square and to where he said Lenin had worked. The leaders walked in the area of the mausoleum, but Reagan did not enter to see the embalmed body of the founder of the Soviet state.
“We want friendship between the two people,” Reagan told bystanders. “What we have decided to do is to talk to each other rather than about each other. And that’s working.”
Gorbachev gently chided Reagan for saying “some critical things” during their talks.
“I do the same thing about America,” he added. “But I see that some of this is based on misconceptions about each other.”
As they strolled, Gorbachev quoted a few Russian proverbs, adding what he called an extension to one of them.
“If arguments are at the boiling point, then truth evaporates,” he said. “So we should have dialogue.”