Memories of Mikhail Gorbachev, the last Soviet Leader - AFRICAN PARLIAMENTARY NEWS



memfys hospital Enugu

Wednesday, September 7, 2022

Memories of Mikhail Gorbachev, the last Soviet Leader

By Dr. Tapiwa Mashakada

Mikhail Gorbachev died few days ago on the 30th of August 2022. He is remembered for catalyzing the  collapse of the once powerful Soviet Union by the stroke of a pen. Gorbachev did what America and its Allies had failed to do in 50 years. To the western world he was a hero. For he dismantled the most robust and formidable superpower which paved the way for the creation of a unipolar global system and security architecture. But to others  he was a treacherous traitor or a CIA agent. All this depends on one's ideological vantage point. 

The Soviet Union was established in 1922 by Vladimir Lenin who died in 1924 and was succeeded by Joseph Stalin who was ruthless but modernized and industrialized Russia. Stalin led the Soviet Union in the phase of the 2nd World War and helped defeat Nazi Germany in 1945. The Soviet Union bore the biggest brunt of the war losing millions of its people. Thereafter the USSR expanded its influence in eastern europe and expanded its Communism to East Germany. Communism spread to Hungary,  Bulgaria,  Romania,  Czechoslovakia,  Albania and Poland. Alarmed by this expansion of Communism,  Churchill called it the Iron Curtain descending on Western Europe. The Soviet Union developed its industry, science and technology and even sent astraunaghts to the moon. The Soviet Union under Stalin developed nuclear arms. 

After Stalin there came many Soviet leaders who maintained communism during the cold war. These are Krushchev,  Brezhnev, Constantin Chenenko. Krushchev almost brought the world on the edge of a nuclear hollocaust during the Cuban Missile crisis. Fast forward. After the death of Chenenko,  Gorbachev took over the Leadership of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union becoming its Secretary General in 1986. He then became the last Soviet lerader. Gorbachev introduced political and economic reforms through a process he called " Glasnost and Perestroika". Simply translated it means "openness". He began to lean towards the West. Gorbachev began to weaken the Soviet Union through disarmament and reduction of nuclear proliferation. He entered many arms control treaties with Ronald Reagan of the United States.

Gorbachev liberalized the inefficient parastatals and introduced a market economy to replace the Command economy. He gave soviets freedoms. His reforms ended up with unintended consequences. Russian nationalism erupted and Gorbachev was toppled in a bloodless revolution led by Boris Yeltsin in 1991. Soviet tanks rolled into the streets but this did not work. The collapse of the Soviet Union sparked a chain reaction in other Soviet Republics.

Following the collapse of the Berlin Wall in 1991 the remaining 15 Soviet Republics followed Russia and declared independence. These are Estonia,  Moldava,  Lithuania,  Georgia,  Armenia,  Kigistan,  Azerbaijan,  Turkmania,  Ukraine, Latvia Belarussia,  Tajikistan and so on. Former Soviet allies in Eastern Europe shook off Communism. The first eastern European country to  collapse communism was Romania. In 1992 Romannians went into the streets and toppled the Romanian dictator Nicolai Caesesceau. Him and his wife were put on firing squad. Eric Honecker of East German was lucky to be spared his life after the collapse of the Berlin Wall and the Bundersburg gate that separated east and west Berlin.

Gorbachev was later self exiled in America where Americans helped him establish his Gorbachev Foundation.

This became the legacy of Mikhail Gorbachev. He collapsed the once mighty Soviet Union through his so-called glasnost and perestroika little principles. 

After Boris Yeltsin died,  Vladimir Putin who was a KGB spy in East Germany took over the reins of state power in a weakened Russian Federation.

The death of Mikhail Gorbachev has divided the opinion of Russians. Many curse him and see Putin as a hero trying to restore the Soviet glory -- Too little too late. As his body lied in state at the Kremlin,  all Putin could do was lay his wreath at the coffin  of  Gorbachev. Putin skipped the funeral ostensibly for Security reasons.

Fare thee well Mikhail Gorbachev, the last Soviet Leader.

Dr. Tapiwa Mashakada is the Director, Maji-Marefu Institute of International Relations and Security Studies and a member of the Pan-African Parliament


No comments:

Post a Comment

Disclaimer: Comment expressed do not reflect the opinion of African Parliamentary News