US President Ronald Reagan (right) and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev at the White House as the superpowers begin a three-day summit in Washington, DC, December 8, 1987

T.he For many who were the last leader of the Soviet Union and who restored democracy to the then communist-ruled European countries, Mikhail Gorbachev’s passing changed the world yesterday and, for a while, the future. Mourned as the death of a rare leader who gave hope. Peace between superpowers.

But the man, who died Tuesday (yesterday, Macau time) at the age of 91, was slammed by many of the public who blamed the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 and its decline as a superpower. Emerging from the Soviet past, the Russian state shrank in size as 15 new states were created.

The loss of pride and power ultimately led to the rise of Vladimir Putin as well. He has spent the last quarter century trying to restore Russia to its former glory and the glory to come.

“After decades of brutal political repression, he embraced democratic reforms. He believed it was the way forward for the people of the Soviet Union after isolation and deprivation.

He added: The result is a safer world and greater freedom for millions of people. “

Gorbachev, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1990 for his work in ending the Cold War, was widely celebrated abroad but a marginalist at home.

Putin acknowledged that Gorbachev had “deeply influenced the course of world history”.

In a short telegram expressing condolences to Mr Gorbachev’s family, Putin said, “He is leading the country through difficult and dramatic changes, in the midst of large-scale foreign policy, economic and social challenges. He said.

Gorbachev “realized the need for reform and tried to present his solution to a serious problem,” Putin said.

Overall, the reaction from Russian officials and lawmakers was mixed. They praised Gorbachev for his role in ending the Cold War, but blamed him for the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Oleg Morozov, a member of the Kremlin’s main political party, United Russia, said Gorbachev should have “repented” of his wrongdoing against Russia’s national interests.

Referring to the current war in Ukraine, Morozov said, “He was a willful or unwilling co-creator of the unfair world order our soldiers are currently fighting on the battlefield.

World leaders paid tribute to what they described as a great and brave leader.

“Putin’s tireless efforts to open up Soviet society at a time of aggression in Ukraine remains an example for all of us,” said outgoing British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. rice field.

French President Emmanuel Macron described Gorbachev as “a man of peace whose choice paved the way to freedom for the Russian people. His commitment to peace in Europe changed our common history.”

German leaders hailed Gorbachev for paving the way for their country’s reunification.

At a press conference, Chancellor Olaf Scholz said: “Perestroika enabled attempts to establish democracy in Russia, democracy and freedom in Europe, Germany reunified and the Iron Curtain gone. I will never forget it,” he said.

But Scholz also pointed out that Gorbachev died when many of his achievements were destroyed.

“He died not only because of the failure of Russian democracy, there is no other way to explain the current situation, but also because Russia and Russian President Vladimir Putin have drawn new trenches in Europe and are fearful. We know that he died when he started the war, our neighbor, Ukraine,” he said.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, who was a member of the Spanish government when the Iron Curtain fell, remembered Gorbachev as “the man who breathed the wind of freedom into Russian society.” He tried to change the communist regime from within, but it became impossible. “

Others in Europe disputed the positive memory of Gorbachev.

Gabrielius Landsbergis, son of Vytautas Landsbergis, who led the Lithuanian independence movement in the early 1990s, tweeted that “Lithuanians will not admire Gorbachev.”

Memories still remain on January 13, 1991, when hundreds of Lithuanians made their way to the TV tower in Vilnius to oppose Soviet forces deployed to crush the country’s attempt to regain its independence. new. 14 civilians were killed and more than 140 injured in the ensuing clashes. In August of the same year, Moscow recognized Lithuania’s independence.

“We will never forget the simple fact that his forces killed civilians and prolonged his regime’s occupation of our country. crushed under his tank, that’s how we remember him,” writes Landsbergis.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres called Gorbachev “the one and only politician who changed the course of history” and “did more than any other person to bring about a peaceful end to the Cold War.” ’ he called.

“The world has lost a towering global leader, a dedicated multilateralist and a tireless defender of peace,” the UN Secretary-General said in a statement.

Gorbachev’s contemporaries cited the end of the Cold War as one of his achievements.

“Mikhail Gorbachev played a key role in the peaceful ending of the Cold War. Robert M. Gates, who headed the CIA until 1993 and later became US Secretary of Defense, said:

Israeli President Isaac Herzog called Gorbachev “one of the most extraordinary men of the 20th century. He was a brave and visionary leader who shaped our world in ways previously unimaginable.” rice field.”

In Asia, he was remembered as a leader with the courage to bring about change.

The Chinese government has acknowledged Gorbachev’s role in mending relations between Moscow and Beijing. Gorbachev inspired Chinese reform thinkers in his late 1980s, and his visit to Beijing in 1989 marked a watershed in relations between the two sides.

“Mr. Gorbachev made a positive contribution to the normalization of relations between China and the Soviet Union. We mourn his death and extend our condolences to his family,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said. said.

But Chinese Communist Party leaders see Gorbachev’s liberal approach as a deadly sign of weakness, and his move toward peaceful coexistence with the West as a form of surrender. . Kirsten Griescherber & Patrick Quinn, Berlin, MDT/AP

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