He was just another commie dictator in a long line of predecessors.
Mikhail Gorbachev, who as the last leader of the Soviet Union waged a losing battle to salvage a crumbling empire but produced extraordinary reforms that led to the end of the Cold War, has died at 91, Russian media reported Tuesday.
His “reforms” still kept the Communist Party of Russia in power. He deployed Soviet troops to Vilnius, Lithuania to crackdown on their declaration of independence. Dissidents and political prisoners were still in gulags and psychiatric hospitals.
Human rights did not improve much.
……Not only didn’t Gorbachev bring communism to an end or intend to “liberate” anyone, if it were up to him The Warsaw Pact would still exist, tens of millions of Eastern and Central Europeans would still be under the grip of Moscow, and hundreds of millions more would still be living under communism. This isn’t counterhistorical speculation. Decades after the Iron Curtain came down, Gorbachev was still openly lamenting the fall of the USSR, one of the most nefarious empires man has ever known:
‘The Soviet Union offered lots of prospects to those who lived there, and it could have had a future if it had modernized and adapted to new challenges. Yes, I regret [its collapse] very much.”
In other words, Gorbachev didn’t believe real communism had been tried yet.
Perhaps the best one could say about the man was that he led from behind. Indeed, the world was blessed that such a weak and feckless man, forced to his knees by the failures of a socialist economy and the bravery of others, resisted the impulse to deploy force to keep long-occupied European nations in the Soviet fold as had his predecessors. (The star of a cute Pizza Hut commercial in the 1990s, did send troops to crack down on Lithuania — the first republic within the Soviet Union itself to declare independence — murdering 14 peaceful pro-democracy protesters in Vilnius and wounding hundreds more.) Of course, not being Stalin is perhaps the lowest moral bar that exists in the universe. Gorbachev passed it, winning the Nobel Peace Prize for “the leading role he played in the radical changes in East-West relations.”
The Western sanctification of Gorbachev was a function of a media abhorring the notion of giving Ronald Reagan or Margaret Thatcher or Pope John Paul II any credit for creating the economic, political, moral, or military conditions that forced Gorbachev to move forward with glasnost and perestroika. (Read Margot Cleveland’s excellent piece on the topic.) Even Boris Yeltsin, Gorbachev’s successor, pushed for quicker democratizing and reforms of the Soviet political system and, in the end, impelled the last strongman to abdicate his power and call it a day.
‘Glasnost’ and ‘perestroika’ have been relegated to the dumpster of history with dictator- for- life Vladimir Putin’s regime.
Putin uses the old Soviet standby to get rid of dissent. He assassinates political opponents. Opposition activist Artem Basyrov, was sent to a psychiatric hospital by authorities a day before a planned demonstration. Putin also tightened his grip on the media by replacing the main news agency with one that will propagate his message without objections. He engineered his return to power through corruption, intimidation, murder, and setting up Dmitry Medvedev as a temporary sockpuppet. His domestic spying program is a carbon copy of the old KGB. Everything he does is a throwback to the old Soviet regime.
Thus is the legacy of every Russian dictator.