Mikhail S. Gorbachev (ex-president and general secretary of the Soviet Union), has died in Moscow, at the age of 91. The cause of death for the former leader and secretive nation in world history was not announced. However, it was reported that Gorbachev had suffered from a “long, grave illness.”
The west is praising the Communist dictator as a “reformer” of Russia and ending the cold conflict, as expected.
The New York Times:
Few leaders of the 20th century or any century have had such an impact on history. Within six years of tumultuous times, Gorbachev removed the Iron Curtain and changed the political climate around the world.
He promised and fulfilled greater openness at home as he began to rebuild his country’s economy and society. He didn’t intend to destroy the Soviet empire. However, he presided over the dissolution of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics within five years of his arrival in power. He oversaw the Soviet misadventure in Afghanistan, and in a remarkable five-month period in 1989, he watched as the Communist system collapsed from the Baltics into the Balkans, in countries already weakened by corruption and moribund economics.
Gorbachev was not the engine of the engine for change. He was a passenger, often reluctantly, and never fully accepting the idea of human liberty. His goal was to combine the tyranny and cruelty of Communism with western-style capitalism. He was utterly defeated. His failure was so severe that his Communist former comrades attempted to overthrow it. Boris Yeltsin (a corrupt drunk) was able to save himself and Russia from civil war.
Gorbachev gets credit for “lifting up the iron curtain”, but his claim to fame is that, incredibly, he didn’t send in tanks in order to suppress democratic movements in Germany and Poland, Hungary, or elsewhere in Eastern Europe.
This is really admirable.
He was a man of vision, openness, and great vitality. He looked at the legacy of seven years of Communist rule and saw corruption, a lack of motivation and discipline in the labor force, factories that made poor goods, and a distribution system that promised consumers nothing but empty shelves — except vodka.
Openness sought by Mr. Gorbachev — also known as “glasnost” — was a double-edged sword. His policy of perestroika, which aimed to rebuild the foundations of society, became a double-edged sword. He set out to fill in the “blanks” of Soviet history with an open discussion about the country’s mistakes. This allowed his impatient comrades to criticize him, and even allow the Communist bureaucracy to attack.
Gorbachev was smart enough to know that Communism wasn’t working. He thought that he could make Communism work if he made small, superficial changes to it. He allowed people to experience freedom. This was his greatest mistake.
In 1988, President Ronald Reagan said at Moscow State University that “a bird on a tether can always be pulled back, no matter how long it is.” Gorbachev didn’t understand this concept. He believed that he and his Communist Party were still in control and that the people would be so grateful to Gorbachev for the little crumbs of freedom thrown their way that they would continue to be good communists and do what they were told.
Instead, the people rose up, and in mostly bloodless political actions, just shoved the Communists away. Gorbachev deserves a lot of credit for this. He should be praised again for not acting like a total Communist thug, sending in tanks to crush any nascent rebel. He was ineffective at bringing about the massive changes that are sweeping Europe.
The media and the majority of intelligentsia can give credit to Gorbachev for ending the cold war, but they don’t have the responsibility to recognize the extraordinary achievements of Ronald Reagan. His confrontation with the Soviet Union prior to Gorbachev becoming president set the stage for the fall of the evilest empire that the world has ever seen.