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GORBACHEV BACKS APPLE COMPUTERS IN GERMANY BUT FORMER SOVIET LEADER'S AD CAREER MAY BE BRIEF

By Published on .

MOSCOW-The father of glasnost and perestroika has moved on to another first.

Mikhail Gorbachev made his endorsement debut in Apple Computer ads running in German publications last month. But he insists he won't be making a repeat performance.

The former Soviet leader, largely seen as responsible for the end of communism in Eastern Europe and Germany's reunification, has been very popular in that country since the Berlin Wall came down in 1989.

For this endorsement, Mr. Gorbachev received four computers for the Moscow office of Green Cross International, the Geneva-based environmental agency he heads.

The advertising pictures a serious Gorbachev clad in a business suit standing in front of a computer from Apple's new Power Macintosh line. Green Cross' logo is on the monitor.

"A man can either be part of the solution or part of the problem," the text had Mr. Gorbachev saying. "I have chosen the former."

The ads by BBDO Hamburg appeared in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung and Stern.

"He did it to ease the financial burden on Green Cross International," a spokesman for Mr. Gorbachev said, adding that the organization paid for part of the system.

Even if Mr. Gorbachev wanted to build a new career, his endorsement prospects are slim in his homeland. Mr. Gorbachev is reviled here for his role in the Soviet Union's breakup.

The Russian financial newspaper Commersant-Daily opined that if Mr. Gorbachev appears in any more ads, they're likely to be in Western countries, not Russia.

"His popularity level is not the same" as in Germany, the newspaper concluded.

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