According to the Russian state news agency RIA Novosti, which quoted Kremlin spokesman Peskov, the Russian president expressed Vladimir Putin condolences on Gorbachev’s death and will send a message to the bereaved family and friends on Wednesday.
President Zeman offered his condolences to the Gorbachev family. An era has passed, he said
The two leaders have often been ideologically opposed, with Putin, who served in the KGB secret service during Gorbachev’s tenure, calling the demise of the Soviet Union “the greatest geopolitical catastrophe” of the 20th century during a 2005 speech, according to CNN.
The Gorbachev Foundation, a research institute founded by the former leader to promote democratic values, again issued a statement two days after Putin’s invasion of Ukraine calling for an early end to hostilities and the immediate start of peace talks. “There is nothing more valuable in the world than human lives,” she pointed out.
The former president of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev, has died. He was 91 years old
Earlier, Gorbachev supported Putin’s annexation of the Crimean peninsula and called this step an expression of the will of the people of the region. According to the New York Times, the West even condemned the attempt to draw Ukraine into NATO and warned that such attempts would lead to nothing but disagreements between Ukraine and Russia.
However, he seemed confident that the worst would be avoided. Asked about tensions between Ukraine and Russia in 2014, he told a Siberian news site: “A war between Russia and Ukraine? This is absurd.’
He wanted peace and democracy
European representatives are now recalling and appreciating Gorbachev’s legacy as the legacy of a man who stood precisely against the war. For example, the French president Emmanuel Macron he described the former Soviet leader as a man of peace whose decisions opened the way to freedom for Russians. “His commitment to peace in Europe changed our common history,” he said.
Mikhail Gorbachev and his wife RaisaSource: Wikimedia Commons, RIA Novosti archive, image #855139, Leonid Palladin, CC-BY-SA 3.0
President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen she said on Twitter that Gorbachev opened the way for a free Europe. “He played a key role in ending the Cold War and the fall of the Iron Curtain,” she wrote.
The British Prime Minister also added his statement Boris Johnson. “I have always admired his courage and honesty in bringing the Cold War to a peaceful end. At the time of Putin’s aggression in Ukraine, his tireless determination to open up Soviet society remains an example for all of us,” he stated.
President of the United States Joe Biden in turn, in a statement on Tuesday, he described Gorbachev as a man of remarkable vision. “As the leader of the USSR, he worked with President Reagan to reduce the nuclear arsenals of our two countries, to the relief of people around the world who were praying for an end to the nuclear arms race,” Biden said.
“He believed in glasnost and perestroika – openness and restructuring – and he saw it not as mere slogans, but as a way forward for the people of the Soviet Union after so many years of isolation and hardship,” Biden added.
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Other former and current world leaders who issued similar statements included the Prime Minister of Australia Anthony AlbanesePresident of Ireland Michael MartinPresident of the European Parliament Roberta Metsola and former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.
Commemorative messages were also delivered by heads of international organizations, including the UN Secretary General António Guterres called Gorbachev a key man in history. “He did more than anyone else to end the Cold War peacefully,” he said.
The actor and former governor of California also reacted to Gorbachev’s death Arnold Schwarzenegger. “They say one should never meet one’s heroes. And I think that’s some of the worst advice I’ve ever heard. Mikhail Gorbachev was one of my heroes and it was an honor to meet him. I was incredibly lucky to call him a friend,” he wrote on Twitter.
The reaction also comes from domestic politicians
Already on Tuesday evening, the Czech Prime Minister also commented on the death of Gorbachev Peter Fiala. “Mikhail Gorbachev’s policies contributed to the fall of communism and the collapse of the Soviet Union. He was an important figure in world politics of the second half of the 20th century,” he wrote on Twitter.
“Mikhail Gorbachev, the first and last president of the Soviet Union, has died. Inspired by the Prague Spring, he gave its inhabitants hope for freedom, respect for basic human rights and a better future for Russia,” the Czech Foreign Minister also said on Twitter John of Lipava.
Who was Mikhail Gorbachev?
Gorbachev is credited with introducing key political and economic reforms in Soviet Union and for helping end the Cold War.
With his character, he broke the established habits of Soviet leaders, who until then were mostly aloof and icy personalities. Almost from the beginning of his leadership, he sought significant changes leading to the system functioning more efficiently and democratically.
Christmas miracle. 30 years ago, the Soviet Union collapsed, in the end without violence
In 1986, he presented a stunning proposal to US President Reagan at a summit in Reykjavík, Iceland: eliminate all long-range missiles held by the US and the Soviet Union. It was the beginning of the end of the Cold War.
CLOSED. Reagan and Gorbachev signed a nuclear arms control treaty. The journey to her began with a meeting in Iceland.Source: ČTK/ AP
He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1990 for his leading role in the peace process. “I started these reforms and my guiding stars were freedom and democracy, without bloodshed. So that the people cease to be a herd led by a shepherd. To make him a citizen,” he said later.
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After a failed coup by frustrated hardliners in 1991, Gorbachev resigned at the end of the year. In the following years, he continued to speak out on nuclear disarmament, the environment and poverty. In memory of his late wife, he founded the Raisa Gorbachev Foundation to fight cancer in children.
Referring to the Gorbachev Foundation, RIA Novosti reported that the great statesman will be buried next to his wife at the Novodevichy Cemetery in Moscow.