Mikhail Gorbachev's pension from the old Soviet Union coffers may not be nearly as generous as he'd like, and his ``perks'' may fall far short of those to be found in American government.
But as prestigious an item as he happens to be right now, chances are ``Gorby,'' the deposed Moscow official, won't be too strapped to find a well-paying job, providing he has a big suitcase and he and wife Raisa are willing to travel.
We're told the list of universities seeking Gorbachev for one reason or other grows by the day. Minnesota University plans to offer the eighth and final president of the Soviet Union a job by the end of the week, according to G. Edward Schuh, dean of the university's Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs. ``We would love the guy to do some writing and teaching and lecturing here.''
Other universities which have offered faculty positions to Gorbachev include Stanford, Brown, Boston, Johns Hopkins and George Mason. While Gorbachev has not discussed his plans to date, the Russian Information Agency says he plans to head the Fund for Socio-Political Research, a foundation he created after the August coup attempt.
Wonder how high things will turn out in a bidding war for Gorbachev, and how much difficulty there will be in getting him a good interpreter or English teacher, providing he chooses a United States school. (He could opt for some European institution but then it's not likely the money will be anywhere near as good.) Will he really be worth what he's finally paid?
How things have changed from the old Soviet Union days! Time was when ousted Moscow leaders had to fear for their lives, and those of their families, and often faced internment under considerably less-than-ideal living conditions.
Now Gorbachev seems likely to wind up on his feet financially. Considering all the problems the current leaders in Russia, et al, are facing, and how long it might be before they can work some miracles, people such as Boris Yeltsin may soon be wondering if Gorbachev didn't get the best deal after all.
``Gorby's'' somewhat like the football coach who remarked that the best sales job a leader can perform is to wind up leading the band when he's run out of town for failing to meet expectations. Mikhail may be the perfect example of such adroitness.