Lib Dems react to the death of Mikhail Gorbachev

Lib Dems are giving their reactions to the death of Mikhail Gorbachev. Gorbachev was one of the 20th century’s great statesmen. He gave the world hope, hope that is now threatened by Putin’s ambitions and aggression. Ed Davey said:

Mikhail Gorbachev brought hope to millions as he helped bring the Cold War to an end. His legacy of peace and openness stands in stark contrast to Putin’s regime.

Tim Farron said:

As a teenager in the 80s, living under the shadow of the bomb, Gorbachev gave us tangible hope that lifted that shadow. He also showed us that it’s possible to have strong ideological convictions and still to treat those with whom you disagree like humans and equals.

Despite Gorbachev’s achievements, the world is far from safe as Wera Hobhouse pointed out two days ago:

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8 Comments

  • Andy Boddington 31st Aug '22 - 9:04am

    I had forgotten this Pizza Hut advert completely!

  • It takes special people to change history in a significant way. Mandela was one such person. Gorbachev was another.

  • Anyone wanting to know how Russia went from Gorbachev to Putin, I’ve almost finished Ostrovsky’s The invention of Russia and it’s a good read.

    https://www.theguardian.com/books/2015/oct/05/the-invention-of-russia-the-new-tsar-the-red-web-book-reviews

  • I hope the UK (and US) do send appropriately senior representatives to his funeral – whilst we have relationship problems with Putin, we do need to be clear these problems are with Putin and not the Russian people.

  • @Roland
    I think we do have a wee problem with the Russin people. Especially since a lot of the moderates have left (bit like the tory party). Most Russians consider Stalin to have been a great leader! We’ve let go of our empire but it seems that opinion hasn’t shifted so much in Russia in the last 400 years.
    https://www.economist.com/international/2022/08/09/much-of-russias-intellectual-elite-has-fled-the-country

  • If there is one thing that Gorbachev and the break-up of the USSR taught us it is as the Sting song ‘Russians’ goes “There is no monopoly on common sense/On either side of the political fence/We share the same biology, regardless of ideology/Believe me when I say to you/I hope the Russians love their children too.”
    Brits, Americans and Europeans can be as jingoistic and xenophobic as any country. When the Iron curtain came down it soon became clear that Russians had the same fears about a catastrophic nuclear war as those in the west and the same aspirations for a better life as other people around the world (including those in Iran, North Korea and China).
    Gorbchev’s great legacy was to make clear to us all that freedom and security is as important to people in authoritarian states as it is to those living in Liberal democracies.
    Putin’s grip on Russia won’t last forever and when the time comes we will need to be able to welcome Russia back into the international community of nations working cooperatively on tackling the big international issues of global and economic security, climate change and poverty in the developing world.

  • Mike Falchikov 5th Sep '22 - 12:44pm

    I happened to be in Moscow on the day Gorbachev came to power – a pre-arranged pastoral visit under the then UK-USSR Cultural Agreement to test how well University students of Russian were being taught and looked after during their “Year abroad”. There was a street TV set near where I was staying and I saw the new Gen. Sec. entering the Kremlin. A guy standing next to me commented “That Gorbachev’s a bit young isn’t he”. I suppose this was a surprise for people after sick ancients like Brezhnev and Chernenko… But he indeed turn out to be the right man and a good man and one who didn’t seem to mind too much if his (not terribly popular) moves to combat alcoholism resulted in some people openly referring to him not as “General Secretary” but as “Mineral Secretary”.

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