President Mikhail Gorbachev used the Revolution Day holiday to deplore the country's totalitarian legacy and declare that human rights must be the highest value of society.
Gorbachev, in an address Wednesday before the annual Nov. 7 military parade at Red Square, said his perestroika reforms have moved the Soviet Union away from the darkest chapters of its past, but he acknowledged that the "renewal process turned out to be much more painful and dramatic than expected."Despite his criticism, Gorbachev said he remains faithful to the ideals of Vladimir Lenin, leader of the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution.
The Soviet leader remembered the millions of people who suffered under the regime of terror built by dictator Josef Stalin.
"Today we also recall those compatriots who had their honor, dignity and life itself stripped from them without any guilt on their part."