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THE LAST leader of the defunct Soviet Union (USSR), Mikhail Gorbachev, died at the age of 91 at the Central Clinical Hospital in Moscow on Tuesday.
According to the Interfax agency, Gorbachev died after a “long illness”.
На 92-году скончался последний президент СССР Михаил Горбачевhttps://t.co/MFiaa4dmSV
— Интерфакс-Украина (@interfaxua) August 30, 2022
“Mikhail Sergeevich Gorbachev died early this morning after a long and serious illness,” the Moscow Central Clinical Hospital said, quoted by Interfax.
Vladimir Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, told Interfax that the Russian president expressed “his deepest condolences” on the passing of the Soviet leader.
The Russian state news agency, TASS, reported that the former ruler will be buried in the Novodevichy cemetery in Moscow, together with the remains of his wife and various historical figures of that country.
End of the Cold War
Gorbachev’s greatest legacy is probably his leadership in agreeing, when he was just assuming the General Secretariat of the Soviet Communist Party, to the dissolution of the USSR in a historic agreement with former American President Ronald Reagan, in what became known as the Geneva Summit.
In 1985, when the communist “Evil Empire” was threatened by the missile artillery of the United States, Gorbachev and Reagan gave a definitive turn to international relations, not only between the two countries (which at that time were the two great powers), but between Russia and the free world. Both leaders decided that a nuclear war would mean, not the end of the war, but the end of humanity.
The Russian leader did not face an easy scenario. Not only was he facing the enemies of a weakened Soviet Union, he was also proposing a drastic turn for democracy to his own people that included economic reforms, far removed from the communist system.
Even so, Gorbachev reached nuclear agreements with the United States and brought the USSR closer to the West for the first time in decades. For the same reason, his domestic enemies encouraged a (failed) coup d’état attempt in 1991.
That same year, President Boris Yeltsin decided to disintegrate the USSR, thereby dealing a final blow to Gorbachev’s leadership. His legacy, however, allowed years of fragile but decisive peace between Russia and the West.
Tomás Lugo, journalist and writer. Born in Venezuela and graduated in Social Communication. Has written for international media outlets. Currently living in Colombia // Tomás Lugo, periodista y articulista. Nacido en Venezuela y graduado en Comunicación Social. Ha escrito para medios internacionales. Actualmente reside en Colombia.