Until the last day of his life, Gorbachev, the last leader of the Soviet Union, lived in a double reality – in the West, many people respected him and praised his historical achievements in ending the Cold War and overthrowing the Iron Curtain; but in Russia, Many never forgive him, arguing that his “openness” and “reforms”, such as his signature changes, sparked social unrest and contributed to the collapse of the Soviet Union.
On the evening of August 30, local time in Moscow, Mikhail Gorbachev, the last leader of the Soviet Union, died of illness in Moscow at the age of 91.
Gorbachev’s life was full of controversy. The British “Guardian” wrote: Until the last day of his life, Gorbachev lived in a double reality – in the West, many people respected him and praised his historical achievements in ending the Cold War and overthrowing the Iron Curtain; but In Russia, many will never forgive him, arguing that his “openness” and “reforms”, his signature changes, sparked social unrest and contributed to the collapse of the Soviet Union.
The only president of the Soviet Union
In March 1931, Gorbachev was born in a village called Privolinoye in the Stavropol Krai in the south of the Soviet Union. His childhood was spent in turmoil. In 1950, Gorbachev entered the Faculty of Law of Moscow State University, and in 1952 joined the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.
After graduation, he returned to his hometown to work and start a political career. Due to his outstanding performance, he rose step by step, and successively served as the deputy director of the propaganda department of the Soviet Communist Youth League Frontier Region Committee, the first secretary of the Communist Youth League and Municipal Committee of the Frontier Region, and the first secretary of the Stavropol Krai of the CPSU.
During this period, Gorbachev became acquainted with many high-ranking party members, including Andropov, who would later become the leader of the Soviet Union. Allegedly, the latter may be the person who facilitated Gorbachev’s transfer to the capital.
During his stay in Moscow, Gorbachev once again entered the fast lane of promotion. He joined the Secretariat of the Central Committee in 1978 and was in charge of the Ministry of Agriculture. In 1980, he became the youngest member of the Politburo of the CPSU Central Committee, and four years later jumped to the number two figure in the Soviet Union. In 1985, at the age of 54, Gorbachev became the general secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and reached the pinnacle of power.
When Gorbachev came to power, the internal and external situation of the Soviet Union was already quite severe – the planned system led to a decline in economic benefits, the decline of agriculture led to an increase in social crisis factors, and the deep quagmire of the war in Afghanistan also made the international environment extremely severe… Therefore, Gorbachev initiated a series of reform measures with the key words of “openness” and “reform” in an attempt to save the Soviet economy at that time.
”The Wall Street Journal” and other media wrote: Gorbachev’s governance had a great impact on the world political climate and the European map. While winning the favor of the West, it also caused domestic dissatisfaction.
At the end of 1991, under a series of internal and external difficulties, Gorbachev had to resign from his posts as general secretary of the Soviet Communist Party and left the Kremlin. The Soviet flag flying in the Kremlin also dropped, and the Soviet Union entered history. He was the last leader of the Soviet Union and the only president in Soviet history.
Complex comments from various parties Once the news of
Gorbachev ‘s death was announced, it quickly attracted worldwide attention. Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed deep condolences for Gorbachev’s death and sent a telegram of condolences to his relatives and friends on the morning of August 31. Putin said in a statement: “Gorbachev was a statesman and national leader who had a huge impact on the course of world history. He led our country at a time of complex and drastic changes in all aspects of diplomatic, economic and social challenges. He understands the need for reforms and tries to provide his own solutions to pressing problems.”
Medvedev, the vice-president of the Russian Security Council, said in a statement: “Gorbachev has made a difference during this dramatic period in our country’s history. , very difficult decision, he made his own contribution to the development of the Soviet political system and laid the foundation for global change around the world.”
UN Secretary-General Guterres commented that Gorbachev was a man who changed history. Process of unique statesmen. “He has done more than anyone else to bring about a peaceful end to the Cold War. The world has lost a brilliant global leader, a staunch multilateralist and a tireless advocate for peace.”
European and American leaders have praised Gorbachev with words such as “courage”, “people of peace” and “bringing freedom to Russia”. Agence France-Presse said Gorbachev’s reforms were embraced in the West and accelerated the disintegration of the Soviet Union.
The evaluation of him in Russia is much more complicated, and there are many words such as “betrayal”. For many Russians, the collapse of the Soviet Union was a tragedy that brought a decade of widespread poverty and weakened Russia’s place on the global stage.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said in response to relevant questions on August 31 that Gorbachev had made positive contributions to the normalization of Sino-Soviet relations. We express our condolences on his passing and our condolences to his family.
Democracy Dreams and Lost Faith
In fact , how to evaluate Gorbachev has to be combined with the background of his time.
The Soviet Union was once the stronghold of socialism and was regarded as a thorn in the side by the Western camp. In addition to maintaining strong military pressure, the West also invented “drops of water” and “peaceful evolution” as means of infiltrating Soviet politics and ideology. The West often used democracy and human rights as tools to wage political, psychological, cultural and diplomatic warfare against the Soviet Union under the pretext of ethnic and religious issues.
In the 1970s, the West induced the Soviet Union to sign the Helsinki Agreement, which included issues such as human rights, freedom, and democracy into political negotiations. In the late period of the Soviet Union, the CPSU gradually abandoned its political beliefs, its ideals and beliefs were shaken, and they fell into political traps and road traps such as “democracy and human rights” set by Western countries.
In 1985, after Gorbachev became the top leader of the CPSU Central Committee, under the influence of the trend of democratic socialism, the top leadership of the CPSU Central Committee, represented by Gorbachev, changed its political direction. Under the banner of “openness, democratization, and new thinking in diplomacy,” Gorbachev began to radically and fundamentally reform the Soviet political system, hoping that through “democratization” and “new thinking” in diplomacy, the It is recognized by the West and ranks among the “Western Civilized World”.
Gorbachev’s “democratization” and “openness” policies were touted by Western politicians and media. However, contrary to the applause and cheers of Gorbachev from abroad, the democratization reform of the Soviet Union not only failed to revitalize the CPSU and the Soviet Union, but instead led to the loss of legitimacy of the CPSU, causing political division and the disintegration of the country, and finally embarked on a political suicide. ‘s dead end.
The key to political reform is the question of direction. The reform in the later period of the CPSU turned into “abandoning beliefs, betraying directions, and abandoning the system”. “Reform” turned into a change of direction, changed course, and the “reform” of Westernization turned into digging one’s own grave, and finally bringing about its own demise.
Political boom and governance failure
In 1988, Gorbachev embarked on a series of political reshuffles. These reorganizations directly touched the fundamental elements of the Soviet Union’s state and constitution, including the leadership of the CPSU, the Soviet system of people’s representatives, federalism, elections and party systems, and became an important cause of political fission in the Soviet Union. For example, amend the constitution, delete Article 6 of the constitution, abolish the leadership of the CPSU; declare political pluralism, implement a multi-party system; implement parliamentary universal suffrage, establish a presidential system, etc.
Under the wave of political pluralism and multi-party system, the ethnic separatist forces in the Soviet Union quickly gained power in the republics, launched a “legal war” and “sovereignty war” against the central government, and successively declared “sovereign independence”. With the Russian Federation and the republics echoing each other, Gorbachev was shackled by what he called “humane, democratic socialism” and was unable to maintain the unity of the alliance. In just two or three years after 1988, the political situation in the Soviet Union deteriorated sharply, and the country’s crises in the political, economic, ethnic and other fields not only did not ease, but sharply deepened.
In 2006, 15 years after the disintegration of the Soviet Union, Russian President Vladimir Putin reflected that the Soviet Union in the 1980s and 1990s committed a “naive disease” on the issue of democracy and freedom. The applicability and selection of the majority principle, election principle and referendum principle need to be based on the national conditions of each country. Gorbachev disregarded the specific historical conditions and reform needs of the Soviet Union, emphasizing that subordinates can disobey their superiors, and called this the need for “democracy”. Immediately afterwards, various regions of the Soviet Union acted according to the “majority” and “public opinion” of their own regions, resulting in the proliferation of anarchism, and the republics openly launched “sovereignty wars” and “legal wars” with the central government. Seizure of power, ethnic separatist forces, political radicalism and revenge forces prevail.
During the last years of Gorbachev’s reign, the Soviet regime was crumbling, and the CPSU was politically unsafe. Gorbachev is still talking about Western-style democracy and freedom against the backdrop of ineffective economic reforms. By 1990, the Gordian-style economic reforms were hopeless, and the political tide was over.
Political mistakes often have serious consequences. In the past 6 years, under the banner of “democracy and humanity”, Gorbachev not only led the Soviet reform astray, but also ruined the Soviet Union’s socialist cause for nearly 70 years and buried the most influential international communist movement. , The Communist Party of the Soviet Union with a history of more than 90 years and nearly 20 million party members.
Political virus and lost road After the disintegration of
the Soviet Union , Russia did not usher in the dream of “Western-style democracy and freedom”, but instead was dominated by chaebols and oligarchs. In terms of diplomacy, Russia, which inherited the mantle of the Soviet Union, not only lost its status as a global “superpower” and the “leader” of the socialist camp, but was also regarded by Western powers as a failed country after the “Cold War”.
More than 30 years ago, with the drastic changes in Eastern Europe and the disintegration of the Soviet Union, the Western powers believed that they could win without a fight in the big chess game between the East and the West. In the eyes of Western strategists and strategists, political tools such as democracy, freedom, and human rights are indispensable, and they are political “sharp weapons” to destroy socialism and win the Cold War. Some strategic think tanks in the United States have made no secret of this. Brzezinski, a former US presidential security adviser, believes that issues such as democracy, freedom, human rights, and ethnicity have drained the resources of the Soviet Union, making the Soviet Union no longer ideologically powerful and its political success no longer attractive. He also specifically mentioned that Gorbachev himself also played an important role in “cooperating with the inside and the outside”.
The collapse of the CPSU and the disintegration of the USSR stemmed from a political failure, and the CPSU made mistakes on key political issues such as “democracy”. Gorbachev fell into a democratic myth and fell into a political trap set by the West. Therefore, the confusion of the CPSU on major political issues such as democracy is an important political reason for the collapse of the CPSU, the disintegration of the Soviet Union, and the disintegration of the Eastern European camp.
After the disintegration of the Soviet Union, the Western camp did not stop squeezing Russia because Yeltsin declared that he would abandon communism and embrace capitalist democracy and the market.
In short, the “democratization” promoted by Gorbachev not only failed to bring freedom and happiness to the common people, but led to what Putin called “the greatest geopolitical disaster of the twentieth century.” The ashes of the Soviet Union are still burning to this day.
Jumping out of the trap of the West and exploring the road to independence
In the nearly 40 years since 1985, Russia has experienced two different state forms, the Soviet Union and Russia, and three different historical periods when Gorbachev, Yeltsin and Putin were in power. To this day, Western elites and public opinion believe that Gorbachev’s six years were the “most democratic and free” among the three, Yeltsin’s eight years were the “closest” to Western relations, and Putin’s time in power was “Deviated from democracy” and drifted away from the Western world.
However, the feelings and evaluations of the Russian people are quite different. A public opinion survey on the evaluation of historical figures in Russia showed that the people’s evaluation of Gorbachev and Yeltsin was not high, and they were far lower than Putin. 72% and 80% of Russians respectively think Gorbachev and Yeltsin took the wrong path.
Today, the mainstream public opinion in Russia believes that the democratization and marketization “teachers” from the West are to blame for the continuous setbacks and blows that Russia has encountered over the past 30 years. In the 1980s and 1990s, on the one hand, Western strategists consciously exported “weak, divisive and viral liberal democratic thoughts” to the Soviet Union and other countries, but on the other hand, they kept the extremely xenophobic and aggressive “conservatives” for themselves. doctrine” thought. Gorbachev and others who lost faith and determination unfortunately fell into the political trap of the West and blindly imported “democratic values”, which resulted in the flood of “democracy” and “freedom”.
After Putin took power in Russia, the political suppression of Russia by the Western camp has entered a new stage. In 2006, Putin put forward the concept of “sovereign democracy”. This is not only an exploration of Russia’s political development path, but also a response to the West selling “democracy” and inciting “color revolutions”. oligarchic freedom”. Putin believes that Russia should be a powerful country with leadership and influence in today’s world, and Russia must take the road of independence. “The Russian nation cannot lose itself, Russia will always be Russia”.