Putin’s Russia distances itself from Gorbachev’s legacy | International
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The loss of the statesman who opened the world to the millions of citizens of the Soviet Union was expected. Mikhail Gorbachev (Stavropol, 91 years old) was old and suffered from a serious illness. However, the Kremlin has preferred to take its time after his death to decide whether or not to hold a state funeral in his honor. For Vladimir Putin, the last Soviet leader never ceased to be the man who held the reins during “the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century”, the collapse of the USSR.
“Mikhail Gorbachev was a politician and statesman who had an enormous impact on the course of world history,” begins the official condolences of the Kremlin, a statement where Putin has measured each of his words to the millimeter. “He led our country through a period of complex and dramatic change, of large-scale economic, social and foreign policy challenges,” his statement continues before stressing that the former president understood that reforms were necessary “and aspired to offer his own solutions.” to urgent problems.
Putin, who in the past has held Gorbachev indirectly responsible for the loss of status quo Russian against NATO, highlighted in his condolences the work of the statesman, once he was far from power. “I want to especially highlight the great humanitarian, charitable and educational activities that Mikhail Sergeivich Gorbachev has carried out in recent years,” Putin added.
“A hurt telegram. It is visible that Putin, on the one hand, has to recognize the historical scale of Gorbachev, but only in international politics, and, on the other hand, there is a desire to underestimate his role within the country”, analyzes the Russian political scientist Tatiana Stanovaya. The expert points out that Putin speaks of reforms “and not changes, a negative word for the Russians instead of a dangerous ‘positive change’, and points out that the Kremlin says veiled that Gorbachev “only aspired to find solutions”, a hint of who did nothing more to prevent the tragedy.
Asked if Gorbachev will receive a state funeral, Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov responded this morning: “We haven’t made any decisions yet. The day has begun and we need to have a little patience”.
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Gorbachev will not be buried in the necropolis located next to the Kremlin wall and Lenin’s mausoleum in Red Square. There rest the remains of other Soviet leaders, including Stalin. However, the last leader of the USSR will rest in peace in the Novodevichy cemetery in Moscow with his wife, Raisa Gorbachova, whom he lost almost a quarter of a century ago.
While waiting to know if there will be a state act, Gorbachev’s funeral will take place this Saturday at the Novodevichy cemetery in Moscow. The farewell ceremony at the House of Trade Unions has also been approved,” Gorbachev’s daughter, Irina, told the Interfax agency.
“He gave us 30 years of peace”
Gorbachev’s death has provoked ambivalent reactions about his figure. On the one hand, the Russian press has highlighted his historical weight and his humanistic facet. On the other, he has also emphasized the sadness that the loss of him has caused in the West. For many, his two great reforms, the perestroika (economic restructuring) and the glasnost (transparency) culminated in a resounding crisis, and only Putin returned the country to its status as a power.
Another president born from the fall of the USSR, the Belarusian Alexander Lukashenko, also published a message of condolences to the family in which he highlighted “his personal contribution to the alleviation of international tensions and global nuclear disarmament at the end of the 20th century.” . Lukashenko, clinging to power since 1994, changed the constitution right at the start of the Russian offensive on Ukraine and included the possibility of Moscow deploying weapons of mass destruction in his country.
Gorbachev won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1990 for his efforts to bring democracy to his people and end the Cold War through nuclear arms control. With his lights and shadows, Gorbachev’s legacy has been wiped off the face of Russia after two decades of hyper-leadership in the Kremlin. “He gave us 30 years of peace. There will be no other gift like this”, was the tribute to the statesman who won the Nobel Peace Prize last year, from the director of the independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta, Dmitri Muratov. His newspaper suspended its activity a few weeks after beginning the offensive on Ukraine after receiving several warnings from the Russian authorities for its coverage of the war. In addition, Muratov was attacked shortly afterward while traveling on a train, an incident that was recorded. The police did not investigate further.
“I did not consider killing a virtue,” the journalist added in his column, recalling that the young Gorbachev saw the horrors of war firsthand. Instead, Major Gorbachev “was sure that the time had passed to solve the problems of the world order by force”, as he demonstrated with measures from the end of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan to the release of political prisoners. . Today, Russia is experiencing another war and numerous opponents have fled the country or are locked up in jail.
The Gorbachev Fund, created by the last president of the Soviet Union the same month it came to an end, paid tribute to its founder with a black and white photo. The organization’s website is headed with a quote from him: “Either the 21st century will be the century of the total aggravation of a deadly crisis, or it will be a century of moral purification and spiritual recovery of humanity.”
Grigori Yavlinski, member of the last Soviet Government and author in 1990 of the 500 day program for the transition of the USSR to the free market, and later president of the liberal and pro-European Yábloko party, thanked Gorbachev for having given freedom “to hundreds of millions of people in Russia and its surroundings, and to half of Europe”.
“[Gorbachov] It gave us the opportunity to live not in an atmosphere of fear, lies and hypocrisy, but to determine our own destiny,” said former Economy Minister Andrei Nechayev, the first head of Russia’s finances after the disappearance of the USSR. .
With Gorbachev’s opening, the first independent media arrived. Among them, the Echo of Moscow radio, founded in 1990 and liquidated this year, at the beginning of the Ukraine war, after being blocked by the Kremlin for its coverage of the Russian offensive. “Mikhail Sergeivich is gone. We are all orphans, ”wrote his former director Alexei Venediktov on his Telegram channel.
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