Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, left, and former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev are seen at the Gorki presidential residence on Wednesday, March 2, 2011. Gorbachev has been awarded with Russia's highest honor on his 80th birthday. Gorbachev recently has become increasingly critical of Russia's current rulers, saying they have taken the country back to the Soviet ways. Painting in background depicts Russian Emperor Peter the Great. (AP Photo/RIA Novosti, Mikhail Klimentyev, Presidential Press Service, Pool)
March 2, 2011 7:09:48 AM PST
By VLADIMIR ISACHENKOV, Associated Press
MOSCOW - March 2, 2011 --
Mikhail Gorbachev was awarded Russia's highest medal on his 80th birthday Wednesday, a belated tribute from the homeland where many blame him for the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union.