MOSCOW (AP) – Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev says Western portrayals of Russia as an aggressive, imperialist nation are “nonsense.”

Gorbachev said Wednesday that Europe misunderstands Russia and stressed that his country does not want military confrontation with anyone.

Gorbachev’s charitable foundation posted excerpts from his remarks to journalists on its Web site.

Gorbachev also reaffirmed plans to help create a liberal political party. He has criticized Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s dominant United Russia party.

Gorbachev said he believes Putin’s sucessor Dmitry Medvedev is committed to “continuing democratic and reform processes” but needs to gain strength.

He also praised President Barack Obama for his calls to improve ties with Russia.

AP-ES-05-13-09 1507EDT

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