Nancy Reagan has "learned to roll with the punches" when dealing with the uncertainties of meeting Raisa Gorbachev and has achieved more balance in their relationship, the first lady's spokeswoman says.
The clear impression left after the two strong-willed women squared off in a Soviet art gallery Wednesday was that Mrs. Reagan has become far more assertive in dealing with the outspoken Soviet first lady.On the surface, things were pleasant enough, but the delicately arched eyebrows and strained smiles told a far different story.
Instead of strolling hand-in-hand as they had at events earlier this week, the two women apparently had decided to show more of their true feelings.
It brought to mind a similar encounter during the December summit in Washington, when Mrs. Gorbachev dominated a White House tour by seeking out the press with lengthy commentaries on history, art and political life, as Mrs. Reagan was left trying to get her long-planned tour under way.
Mrs. Reagan has learned to be flexible with the Soviets at Mrs. Gorbachev's events, Mrs. Crispen said.
"She's learned to roll with the punches," Mrs. Crispen said.
Noting that Mrs. Reagan has spoken out more in Moscow than she did at the December summit, Mrs. Crispen said she believed they now had "more balance" and equality in their relationship.
Not surprisingly, the first lady said that her five days of exposure to the glories of Russian art and architecture won't change her mind about the Soviet system.
"We have two different ways of living, two different philosophies," she said. One day earlier, Mrs. Reagan had termed the Soviet system a "more controlled" society than the United States.