Essay by Eric Worrall
Mikhail Gorbachev will be remembered by most as the last leader of the Soviet Union. But he was also one of the founding architects of United Nations Climate Action Machine.
Mikhail Gorbachev, Soviet leader who ended cold war, dies aged 91
Russian news agencies report death of last leader of Soviet Union at Central clinical hospital in Moscow
Mikhail Gorbachev, the former Soviet leader whose reforms led to the unlooked for break-up of his own country, and to the demise of communism across central and eastern Europe, has died in Moscow aged 91.
Celebrated abroad as the saviour who delivered freedom to millions of Soviet citizens, he was often blamed at home for the chaotic years that followed, and survived long enough to watch Russia return to autocracy under the rule of Vladimir Putin.
Gorbachev, who won the Nobel peace prize in 1990, had died after a “difficult and protracted illness”, Russian news agencies cited hospital officials as saying on Tuesday. Recent reports suggested he was suffering from a kidney ailment.
…Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/aug/30/mikhail-gorbachev-dies-soviet-leader-92
Most people remember Gorbachev for his attempts to liberate the Soviet state. Gorbachev freed political dissidents, and stopped the Soviet military from crushing the insurrection in East Germany and other satellite states.
But despite his gentle handling of dissidents, Gorbachev was a communist right to the end of the Soviet Empire. Gorbachev utterly rejected the bottom up capitalist reforms of Chinese leader Deng Xiapong, which were already showing promise during the final years of the Soviet Union. Gorbachev instead attempted and failed to reform Communism, by implementing a series of superficial reforms which failed to prevent supply chain hoarding, and failed to deliver genuine economic growth.
The experience of riding the Soviet economy into the ground apparently wasn’t enough to convince Gorbachev he was wrong about capitalism. Gorbachev went on the found Green Cross International in 1993, following the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio.
When the Iron Curtain fell, all we thought about was that we had won. Our ideas, freedom and capitalism, could finally flow East and liberate the peoples of former Soviet states. We never considered that ideas flow both ways.
The fall of the Soviet Union also gave unreformed communists like Gorbachev more opportunity to influence our politicians, to attack our freedoms and infect our governments with their world view.
RIP Gorbachev. I for one won’t miss you.
Update (EW): Marlene reminds us that Gorbachev used tanks to crush dissent in Lithuania.