Russian news agencies said on Tuesday that Mikhail Gorbachev, whose efforts to modernize communist control of the Soviet Union ended the forces that brought down the superpower, has died.
Moscow’s Central Clinical Hospital said Gorbachev passed on after a “long and difficult disease”. “He was 91 years old.
Head of the Soviet Union from 1985 until its disintegration in 1991, Gorbachev endeavored to resuscitate the doomed socialist state by presenting approaches of monetary and political transparency, known as perestroika and glasnost.
But reforms soon overtook him and brought the Cold War to a conclusion, resulting in the collapse of the authoritarian Soviet state, the liberation of Eastern European countries from Russian control, and the end of decades of East-West nuclear conflict. .
When Gorbachev turned 90 last year, Russian President Vladimir Putin – a critic of Gorbachev’s policies – called him “one of the greatest statesmen of our time who has influenced our history” in a letter published by the Kremlin. Influence Country and World.”
Although Gorbachev won the 1990 Nobel Peace Prize for his role in ending the Cold War, he was hated by many at home because Russians once blamed him for the collapse of the Soviet Union. When he ran for president in 1996, Gorbachev received less than 1% of the vote.
In an interview with the Associated Press in 1992, Gorbachev said he would do it again.
“I consider myself to be somebody who started the changes that the nation and Europe and the world required,” he said.
Gorbachev presented a modern, friendlier face to the rest of the world than his predecessors on the Soviet regime, even though he did not intend to end it.
Eventually, he was persuaded by democratic activists led by Moscow Mayor Boris Yeltsin to end the Communist Party, an authoritarian regime that had taken over Eastern Europe and spread communism around the world.
“Mikhail Gorbachev was arguably the most important world leader since World War II,” said Paul D’Henry, a political science professor at the University of California at Riverside and author of the 2019 book “Ukraine and Russia.”
“The clarity with which he saw the flaws of Soviet communism and the bravery with which he confronted them is no less evident than the fact that his reforms ultimately failed in Russia. More than a dozen countries and millions of people.”
Gorbachev served as the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, in fact its leader, and in 1990 he became the first and only President of the Soviet Union.
Under his rule, the Soviet Union began withdrawing troops from Afghanistan in 1988, ending a disastrous 10-year military campaign that killed 15,000 Soviet soldiers and nearly 100,000 Afghan civilians.
He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1990 for his arms control efforts in which he and President Ronald Reagan agreed to the first reductions in nuclear stockpiles between the two countries.
A year later, Gorbachev fell from power as the Soviet Union dissolved and the Eastern European bloc became independent, won by his arch-nemesis, Yeltsin, in the first free elections in more than 70 years. Gorbachev’s resignation signaled the end of the post-World War II Cold War period, which was marked by rising tensions between the United States and its allies against the Soviet Union and its puppet states.
Gorbachev hoped to revive Soviet fortunes, an economy devastated by central planning and hampered by efforts to keep pace with a military build-up under Reagan, whose invention of a space-based nuclear-missile defense system had disturbed the Soviets. The two leaders agreed to stop building nuclear weapons and to destroy some.
Gorbachev’s changes were criticized at home as either too fast or not enough, as goods fell off store shelves, civil unrest increased, particularly in the Baltic and Caucasus states, and national economic problems deepened. were
As Moscow weakened, Eastern Bloc countries abandoned communism, and some republics long dominated by the Soviet Union sought independence. In August 1991, hardliners in the government launched a temporary coup. He ordered the Soviet army to stop the demonstrations in Moscow, but the soldiers refused Yeltsin’s orders.
After the failed takeover, Gorbachev attempted to further transform the party, but his power was overwhelmed by democratic forces. He resigned from the presidency on 25 December 1991, a day before the dissolution of the Soviet Union.
After the death of Leonid Brezhnev in 1982, Gorbachev’s rise to power and Brezhnev’s two short-lived successors were largely consistent with Reagan’s earlier political stance in the 1980s, which was based on radical communism. , were elected by appeal. The two have met at five summits, the first in Geneva in 1985, where they sat around a fire with only interpreters, trying to find common ground and build relationships between themselves and their countries.
In 1987, they signed a treaty to eliminate all nuclear-armed land-based ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges of 310 to 3,100 miles—the first nuclear weapons reduction treaty.
Reagan popularized Gorbachev in his 1987 speech on the Berlin Wall, when he demanded that the Soviet leader tear down the wall that divided the city into East and West what’s more, turned into an image of the Cold War.
“General Secretary Gorbachev, if you want peace, if you want prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you want liberalization: come to this door! Mr. Gorbachev, open this door! Mr. Gorbachev, destroy this wall “Give it. Gimme!” Reagan said.
After two years, in 1989, the wall was opened to permit travel between the two Berlins, and after a year it was no more.
Gorbachev was born Mikhail Sergeevich Gorbachev was born on 2 March 1931 to a Russian-Ukrainian peasant family in the village of Privolno, Krasnogvardesky District, Stavropol Region, an agricultural region in the south of the Russian Republic.
After leaving power, Gorbachev focused on reforming Russia, focusing on his Gorbachev Foundation. In 1999, his wife, Raisa, whom he married in 1953, died after a battle with leukemia.