Mikhail Gorbachev, the last leader of the Soviet Union, died at the age of 91 on Tuesday evening in Russia, according to Russian news agencies, citing the hospital where he was in treatment.
“This evening (Tuesday), after a long struggle with a serious illness, Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev passed away,” said the Central Clinical Hospital of the Russian Presidency. in a press release reported by the Interfax, TASS, and RIA Novosti agencies.
“This morning (Wednesday) the Russian president will send a telegram of condolences to the family and friends of Mikhail Gorbachev,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Sputnik.
“President (Vladimir) Putin expresses his deepest condolences for the death of Mikhail Gorbachev,” he said.
US President Joe Biden offered his condolences to the family and friends of former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev and said that Gorbachev was a man of great vision.
“Mikhail Gorbachev was a man of extraordinary vision,” Biden said in a note. “When he came to power, the cold war lasted almost 40 years and communism even longer, with devastating consequences.”
The statement added: Few high-ranking Soviet officials dared to admit that things needed to change. As a Senate Foreign Relations Committee member, I’ve seen him do this and more. ”
Gorbachev, who came to power in 1985, initiated a series of political and economic reforms to modernize the Soviet Union, which was suffering from severe crises.
Gorbachev was a supporter of rapprochement with the West, and in 1990 he won the Nobel Peace Prize.
Between 1990 and 1991, Gorbachev assumed the post of President of the Soviet Union before finally being forced to resign on December 25, in a move that led to the collapse of the bloc.
Gorbachev was the last surviving leader of the Cold War era.
Gorbachev has spent most of the past two decades on the fringes of Russian political life, inviting from time to time in both the Kremlin and the White House to repair relations between the United States and Russia after tensions between Washington and Moscow have increased to the level in they were during the Cold War since Russia annexed Crimea in 2014 and then invaded Ukraine last February.
Gorbachev spent the last years of his life between hospital and home, as his health conditions worsened considerably, and he imposed a preventive quarantine during the period of the Covid-19 pandemic.
– “Gorby” – Gorbachev was so appreciated in the West to be affectionately called “Gorby”.
The deceased won the Nobel Prize for pace in 1990 for negotiating with then-US President Ronald Reagan a historic agreement to limit nuclear weapons, and his decision to prevent the Soviet army from interfering to prevent the fall of the Berlin Wall a year earlier was considered a key factor in maintaining the pace.
Prior to his death, the deceased did not announce a public position on the Russian invasion of Ukraine. This conflict, unprecedentedly ferocity in Europe since the end of World War II, is seen in the West as a sign of a revival of Russian imperialism.
In recent weeks, i media Russians reported the former leader’s recurring health problems.
Gorbachev, born in southwestern Russia in 1931, introduced major democratic reforms known as “perestroika” (restructuring) and glasnost (transparency) during his tenure in power, which earned him great popularity in the West.
But for many Russians, the deceased is ultimately responsible for the collapse of the Soviet Union, which occurred after a failed coup by Soviet conservatives opposed to Gorbachev’s reforms.
For Vladimir Putin, who arrived in the Kremlin in 2000 and considered the collapse of the Soviet Union “the greatest geopolitical catastrophe” of the twentieth century, the solution to this problem is the return of Russian power to the international scene.
In turn, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres expressed his “deep sadness” at Gorbachev’s death, noting that the deceased was a “unique statesman who changed the course of history” and with his passing, “the world has lost a great world leader, committed to pluralism, and tireless defender of pace”.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen expressed her condolences on Gorbachev’s departure, saying he was a “reliable leader who paved the way for a free Europe”.
“It played a decisive role in ending the Cold War and breaking down the Iron Curtain. It paved the way for a free Europe. This is a legacy we will never forget. Rest. in pace Mikhail Gorbachev, “wrote von der Leyen on Twitter.
Johnson said that while Russian President Vladimir “Putin continues his aggression against Ukraine, his (Gorbachev’s) tireless commitment to opening up Soviet society remains an example for us all.”
In turn, French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted on Twitter that the deceased “was a man of pace whose choices paved the way for freedom for the Russians. His commitment to the pace in Europe has changed our common history”.