Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev has canceled a planned visit to Oslo, Norway, for the presentation of his Nobel Peace Prize, the official Tass news agency said Wednesday.

Tass quoted the Soviet president's press office as saying plans to attend the Dec. 10 presentation were changed because of the "crucial situation in the country and the president's preoccupation with affairs that occupy his constant attention."Gorbachev, awarded the Peace Prize for his reforms that allowed the end of the Cold War and the flourishing of democratic movements in Eastern Europe, has been criticized at home for devoting too much time to foreign affairs and overseas trips while the Soviet Union suffers serious shortages and domestic problems.

"It is hoped in Moscow that the Nobel committee will understand the reason for this postponement and agree to present the prize at a later date," Tass said.