World Leaders Reflect on Passing of Mikhail Gorbachev

Gorbachev was viewed very differently by the world's various superpowers.

Gorbachev was viewed very differently by the world’s various superpowers.

On Tuesday, former Soviet Union leader Mikhail Gorbachev passed away at the age of 91. Gorbachev has long been noted as one of the key figures in the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War. However, the leaders of various global superpowers have wildly varying views on his policies and actions.

In the United States, President Joe Biden had fond words to offer Gorbachev. “After decades of brutal political repression, he embraced democratic reforms. He believed in glasnost and perestroika – openness and restructuring – not as mere slogans, but as the path forward for the people of the Soviet Union after so many years of isolation and deprivation,” Biden said in a statement obtained by Associated Press, adding that “these were the acts of a rare leader – one with the imagination to see that a different future was possible and the courage to risk his entire career to achieve it. The result was a safer world and greater freedom for millions of people.”

Inversely, Gorbachev’s own countrymen in Russia had a less enthusiastic view of him. “He was a willing or an unwilling co-author of the unfair world order that our soldiers are now fighting on the battlefield,” said Oleg Morozov, a member of the main Kremlin party.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz praised Gorbachev for his reunification efforts, though he lamented the current state of Russia. “We know that he died at a time when not only democracy in Russia has failed — there is no other way to describe the current situation there — but also Russia and Russian President Putin are drawing new trenches in Europe and have started a horrible war against a neighboring country, Ukraine,” Scholz said.

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