Mikhail Gorbachev, the last leader of the USSR, who ended the Cold War without bloodshed but failed to prevent the collapse of the Soviet Union, died on Tuesday at the age of 92, Russian news agencies said, citing hospital officials, Reuters cites.
Mikhail Gorbachev was the leader of the Soviet Union from 1985 to 1991. His attempts at reform led to the end of the Cold War, the end of the political monopoly of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, and the collapse of the Soviet Union. He received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1990.
Gorbachev, the last Soviet president, forged arms reduction agreements with the United States and partnerships with Western powers to remove the Iron Curtain that divided Europe after World War II and lead to the reunification of Germany.
When pro-democracy protests swept the Soviet bloc nations of communist Eastern Europe in 1989, he refrained from using force – unlike previous Kremlin leaders who had sent tanks to crush uprisings in Hungary in 1956 and Czechoslovakia in 1968 .
But the protests fueled aspirations for autonomy in the 15 republics of the Soviet Union, which disintegrated over the next two years in chaotic fashion.
Mikhail Gorbachev, the last leader of the USSR, died
Gorbachev fought in vain to prevent this collapse.
The most important legacy of Gorbi, as he was known in the West, is the fact that he ended the arms race between the Soviet Union and the United States and, therefore, the Cold War, writes EFE. For this reason, according to his secretary, Gorbachev was currently worried about a possible return to antagonism between Russia, the modern successor of the defunct USSR, and the West, and was taking advantage of any intervention to insist that the great powers give up nuclear weapons.
In 1985, when he became general secretary of the Soviet Communist Party, aged just 54, he set out to revitalize the system by introducing limited political and economic freedoms, but his reforms got out of hand.
His policy of “glasnost” – freedom of speech – allowed previously unthinkable criticism of the party and the state, but also encouraged nationalists who began pushing for independence in the Baltic republics of Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and other part.
Many Russians have never forgiven Gorbachev for the turmoil his reforms unleashed, seeing the subsequent drop in living standards as too high a price to pay for democracy.
After visiting Gorbachev in hospital on June 30, liberal economist Ruslan Grinberg told Zvezda, the military news channel: “He gave us all the freedom – but we don’t know what to do with it.”
Close to Gorbachev: “Putin destroyed the cause of his life”
According to RBC, the former official had been battling a serious illness for some time. The ex-leader of the USSR was 91 years old and was a laureate of the Nobel Peace Prize.
A few months ago, Russian journalist Alexei Venediktov, the former editor-in-chief of a radio station closed after the outbreak of the war in Ukraine, revealed Mikhail Gorbachev’s regrets about the so-called special military operation. Being close to the last leader of the USSR, he claims that he told him that “Putin destroyed the cause of his life”.
In an interview for Forbes, Venediktov stated that during the Gorbachev administration, NATO troops had 4,000 soldiers, and now they have reached 300,000. “Everyone has already forgotten who gave freedom to the Russian Orthodox Church, freedom of speech, the first law of the press, private property. He is disappointed. Understand what’s going on. It was his life’s work,” he said.
Earlier, images of Gorbachev in the hospital appeared. The press wrote that he was seriously ill, had kidney problems and suffered from diabetes. The cause of his death has not yet been announced.
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