Mikhail Gorbachev (†91): The Smasher

An arms race with the West and a state economy of scarcity destroyed the Soviet Union. Thus ended the division of the world into communism and capitalism. Thus ended the division of Germany into West and East. For a historic moment, it seemed that peace was not only in Europe, but that the West would even accept Russia into NATO.

Germany feared that Gorbachev would hold on

In the West they loved and bowed to Gorbachev. The tough Margaret Thatcher first saw him, it was in 1985, and she decided he was easy to talk to – he could do business, that was his term. Ironically, Gorbachev had more going for him when he dropped the GDR. Thatcher did not consider this agreement. Ultimately he tried to contain an enlarged Germany.

In Germany in particular, they feared for him that he would remain in Moscow until Germany was reunified and the 2+4 agreement was signed. A coup seems possible at any time. What would happen then? As early as February 1990, generals in Moscow were still urging military intervention and saving the GDR from the FRG. It ended with Gorbachev in August 1991.

At demonstrations in the GDR, people shouted “Gorbi”. In 1990, Gorbachev and Chancellor Helmut Kohl met to discuss the Caucasus. (Source: DPA)

The West missed the opportunity

How many opportunities were wasted then. Kairos, the successful historical moment, has passed. The revolution, no less, started by Gorbachev, went ahead and brought independence to the Baltic states as well as Georgia and Central Asian states. Then he goes into the recovery phase. How sad, how dark it became. Petni. His battles in Chechnya, Georgia, Ukraine. The whole bogus monstrosity of Russia. The New Cold War.

The West is partly responsible for the passing of Kairos. He stopped being considered for Russia. Ironically, Barack Obama calls Russia a regional power. Russia has thankfully filled the US void. In Syria, in Libya.

Gorbachev was not much liked in his own country. He revealed what others before him had hoarded and sought to keep. He has been isolated for many years and of course has personal tragedies. It cannot be otherwise, the destroyers of their own empires have no claim to gratitude.

Now he’s dead, hopefully in harmony with himself. In Germany he is sure of gratitude.



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