Thursday, February 29, 2024

Gorbachev breathes his last: An era comes to end

Condolences have poured in from across the world as Mikhail Gorbachev, the last leader of the Soviet Union, died at the age of 91 on Tuesday, August 30. 

According to Russian news outlets, the “revolutionary” leader breathed his last at the Central Clinical Hospital in Moscow as he was said to be suffering from “a serious and long illness.” 

Russian President Vladimir Putin also expressed his deep condolences over the demise of the former Soviet leader. “

President Putin expresses deep condolences over the death of Mikhail Gorbachev. In the morning he will send a telegram of condolences to his family and friends,” stated Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin spokesperson, as per a press release. 

Although Putin offered condolences, he often also blamed Gorbachev for the collapse of the Soviet Union. According to Putin, the former Soviet leader’s actions made the country suffer to a great extent. 

Both leaders were staunch critics of each other, however, Putin refrained from attacking the former Soviet leader directly. 

Gorbachev had also expressed doubt over Russia’s future under the leadership of Putin, who once referred to the fall of the Soviet Union as the”greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century.” 

According to reports, Gorbachev reached out to the West and discussed putting an end to the arms race and Cold War. However, Putin was not in favour of this as he did not see stopping the arms race as a viable future for Russia. 

Earlier in 2011, Gorbachev publicly criticised Russian President Putin for the first time, urging him not to run for a third term. However, Putin contested the Presidential elections and won another six years in the Kremlin in 2012

Gorbachev had supported Russia’s annexation of Crimea and described it as a “correction of Soviet-era mistake” despite opposing Putin on several occasions. 

It is pertinent to mention here that Gorbachev assumed control of the Soviet Union in March 1985, and he left office on December 25, 1991. His leadership oversaw the collapse of the Berlin Wall 1989, the liberation of thousands of political prisoners, and the introduction of real freedom to millions of people who had previously only known communism. He is survived by a daughter, Irina, and two granddaughters.

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