Mikhail Gorbachev has Passed Away. The World Reacts

Russia | August 31, 2022, Wednesday // 08:33|  views

Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev and U.S. President George Bush 1990 @Wikimedia Commons

At the age of 91, after a long illness, the last Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, died, world agencies reported.

"This evening, after a severe and prolonged illness, Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev died," said the Central Clinical Hospital in Moscow, quoted by the TASS agency.

One of the brightest figures of the 20th century, the man who liberated the Eastern Bloc and ended the Cold War, a hero for the West and a controversial leader for his native country - these are the assessments of Mikhail Gorbachev's personality given by the media, politicians and commentators after the death of the last Soviet leader

Mikhail Gorbachev took power in the Soviet Union as General Secretary of the Communist Party in 1985 at the age of 54. He goes down in history for ending the Cold War. He carried out a number of political and economic reforms aimed at modernizing and democratizing the country. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1990. However, many Russians believe that he and his reform policies led to the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the BBC commented.

"The opening up of the socialist camp was a necessary change.” Gorbachev himself gave this assessment from the distance of time in an interview with the Bulgarian National Radio at the beginning of the last decade.

This is how he answered a question from Bulgarian journalist Mira Stefanova “when people in big politics will abandon the division of East and West.”

"Cooperation must be developed. If everyone wants to dominate without caring about others, it will not happen. All such projects end badly. We are still very far from the time when there will be no dividing lines.”

And in response to a question about how long ordinary people will be hostages of big politics, he said:

"Until they learn to exercise their right to choose. We are still waiting for someone new to come along who will be good and everything will be fine. You know, the hopes of a new king, a new secretary general or anyone else are long gone and forgotten. People have to change and they are changing."

In 2019, in an interview with the BBC, Gorbachev warned of the danger of tensions between Russia and the West.

"As long as there are weapons of mass destruction and mainly nuclear weapons, the danger is colossal. All nations must declare that nuclear weapons must be destroyed. This is to save ourselves and the planet," he urged at the time.

Mikhail Gorbachev, the first and last president of the USSR, will be buried in a Moscow cemetery next to his wife, Raisa Gorbacheva.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has expressed his condolences on the death of Mikhail Gorbachev. This was reported by the Interfax agency, citing Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov.

World leaders paid tribute to Gorbachev's life and work.

US President Joe Biden emphasized that Mikhail Gorbachev "risked his career to achieve a different future, resulting in a safer world and greater freedom for millions".

Western leaders expressed their respect for the personality of Mikhail Gorbachev

Western countries keep positive memories of former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev for his role in resolving nuclear tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union in the 1980s, as well as for his contributions to the fall of the Iron Curtain, the British newspaper "The Guardian" commented.

After the death of Gorbachev at the age of 91, Western leaders immediately expressed their respect for his personality.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres wrote on Twitter that he was deeply saddened by the death of Mikhail Gorbachev. “He was a one-of-a-kind statesman who changed the course of history”, Guterres emphasizes.

The reaction of the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, was also on Twitter. There she pointed out that Gorbachev was a respected and trusted leader who played a key role in ending the Cold War and bringing down the Iron Curtain, paving the way for a free Europe.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson expressed his admiration for the courage and integrity shown by Gorbachev to find a peaceful solution to the Cold War.

Gorbachev's attachment to peace in Europe changed the course of history, French President Emmanuel Macron also wrote on Twitter, quoted by TASS.

Former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger told the BBC that Gorbachev will be remembered as a man who initiated historic transformations for the benefit of all humanity and the Russian people but failed to implement his vision to the end.

Another former Secretary of State of the United States - Condoleezza Rice emphasized that without Gorbachev it would have been impossible to end the Cold War peacefully.

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Tags: Gorbachev, president, Soviet, Russian


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