Wednesday, August 31, 2022, 10:59 p.m
Mikhail Gorbachev lived long enough to see how everything he tried to achieve collapsed or “exploded”.
The era of détente and arms control between Washington and Moscow has been replaced by a bloody war in Ukraine, in which the weapons of Kiev’s NATO allies are being used against Russian forces, with the attendant risk of a direct clash between nuclear superpowers due to accident or miscalculation, writes The Guardian.
When Gorbachev resigned in late 1991, the border between NATO and the USSR was no longer a hot spot. NATO withdrew all but a few thousand troops from its eastern flank, and the horrors of the Cold War appeared to be confined to history books and museums, writes columnist Julian Borger.
After the February 24 invasion of Ukraine, NATO moved east, mobilizing 40,000 troops under its direct command, with plans to put 300,000 on high alert.
Gorbachev’s calls for peace negotiations after February 24
Gorbachev, who was 91 and already in poor health when the invasion began, issued a statement through his foundation calling for an “immediate cessation of hostilities and the start of peace talks”: “There is no nothing more precious than human life”.
A journalist who remained close to Gorbachev said in July that the former Soviet leader was “upset” by what he saw.
“Gorbachev’s reforms – political, not economic – have been destroyed,” journalist Aleksei Venediktov, editor of radio station Echo of Moscow, told Russian magazine Forbes.
2022, the number of nuclear warheads will increase for the first time since the Cold War
Gorbachev was a champion of arms control and even discussed the potential elimination of nuclear weapons with Ronald Reagan at the Reykjavik summit in 1986. Currently, the most recent agreement between the US and Russia to limit nuclear weapons is effectively expired due to the suspension mutual inspections, at the initiative of Russia. Both countries are modernizing their arsenals, and Putin has threatened to use nuclear weapons. This year, the number of nuclear warheads worldwide will increase for the first time since the Cold War.
In the last days of the USSR under Gorbachev’s policy of “glasnost” (transparency) there was more freedom than in Putin’s Russia, the article says.
Gorbachev hoped to fundamentally change the outlook of the country, which had never experienced democracy, from the Romanov (tsar-era) dictatorship to the Bolshevik one.
Gorbachev closed the gulags, but now Putin’s main opponent, Alekei Navalny, who survived the poisoning, is back in a colony, being placed in solitary confinement for the third time in a month.
Gorbachev was increasingly wary of Putin. He publicly praised him for consolidating the Russian state after the chaos of the Boris Yeltsin era. But in 2011, he predicted what might happen.
“It is clear that at the initial stage he used certain authoritarian methods in his leadership, but to use authoritarian methods as a policy for the future is, in my opinion, wrong. I think this is a mistake,” the former Soviet leader said at a public event in the US.
“Wherever you go…you see that where you have leaders who have ruled for 20 years or more…the only thing that matters in such situations for these leaders and the people around them is to retain power. I think this is happening now in our country,” said Gorbachev.
Source: Breaking News – Cele mai importante stiri – Ziare.com by ziare.com.
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