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The first advertisement to feature Mikhail Gorbachev will also...

By STEVEN GUTTERMAN

MOSCOW, Oct. 7 -- The first advertisement to feature Mikhail Gorbachev will also be his last, a spokesman for the former Soviet leader said Friday. Gorbachev's appearance this month in a full-page plug for Apple Computers in German publications was a 'one-time thing' which netted the ex-Kremlin chief computers for his Moscow office, spokesman Vladimir Poliakov said. The ad features a serious-faced, business-suited Gorbachev from the waist up, standing in front of an Apple Power Macintosh computer. 'A man can either be part of the solution or part of the problem,' the text of the commercial quotes Gorbachev as saying. 'I have chosen the former.' The ad is part of the solution to the financial situation of Green Cross International, the Geneva-based environmental agency Gorbachev heads from his office in the Russian capital. 'He did it to ease the financial burden on Green Cross International,' Poliakov said of the ad, produced by the Hamburg branch of the agency BBDO. While Gorbachev received no cash for his brief Madison Avenue-styled stint, the Moscow offices of Green Cross International did receive free computers from Apple, which the company installed when they filmed the ad in August. 'We're literally talking about four computers,' Poliakov said, adding that 'a portion of the system was paid for by the Green Cross and a portion was provided by Apple.' Flashing from the computer screen behind Gorbachev in the photo is the name and insignia of Green Cross International, making the plug a kind of ad within an ad.

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Poliakov maintained Gorbachev will never again sell his image to Apple Computer or any other Western or Russian firm. But he said Green Cross International would 'probably work with Apple in the future' -- a possible indication that the computer company has not yet paid in full for the first commercial use of the famous birthmarked face. The Gorbachev ad appeared only in Germany, running last Saturday in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung and in the magazine Stern. Gorbachev, who was largely responsible for the end of communism in Eastern Europe and the reunification of Germany, has been very popular there since the Berlin Wall came down in 1989. The Russian financial newspaper Commersant Daily noted Friday that if the former Kremlin boss does appear in any more commercials, it's likely that they will be in German or other Western media, and not in Russia. At home, Gorbachev is generally either ignored as a has-been or reviled for what most see as his leading role in the collapse of the Soviet Union, and it is unlikely his face could successfully sell a product.

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