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Gorbachev, the last man of the Soviet era

Gorbachev, the last man of the Soviet era

When the last president of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev, passed away a few days ago, many believed that he left the world years ago. Since he left the political scene on December 25, 1991, resigning from the presidency of the Red Empire, which ended with him, he has participated only sparingly in public life, and has tasted the bitterness of humiliation and humiliation when he won less than one percent of the vote in the 1996 presidential elections.

No one believed that the young man who rose to power from among the youth and party organizations in 1985 after the end of the era of the old rulers (Brezhnev, Enderbov and Chernenko) would change the face of the world and its history after four years pregnant with the huge events that culminated in the collapse of the Berlin Wall and the disintegration of the Soviet Union and with it the international socialist system .

Despite the continuous wave of intellectual and political revisions in the Soviet Union after the Stalinist era, the criticism of the communist experience did not mean, for the most daring reformists, a tactical and pragmatic adaptation to the new global reality in its economic and technological determinants. In a book published by Gorbachev in 1986 entitled “Persetroika” (translated into 32 languages), he explained in detail his reform project, which revolves around this saying, which in Russian means reform or reconstruction.

What Gorbachev was interested in was the renewal of the ruling party’s political and organizational structures, giving the official communist doctrine a “human face”, and transforming the Soviet Union into a “socialist state of law with multiple views” by allowing diverse and different currents within the existing ideological system. To ensure the success of this path, Gorbachev coined the term “glasnost”, which means transparency and advertising, that is, free expression and openness in order to support the reforms decided within the framework of what he called “change from the top”, based on the educated intelligentsia, instead of the labor and agricultural organizations that were considered Previously the fuel of revolution and radical transformation. Gorbachev believed in the ability to restore and reform the Soviet model from within, without compromising its ideological core and political system. Undoubtedly, he miscalculated and was not aware of the magnitude of the crisis in its deep intellectual and societal dimensions. If some of the reasons for the failure of his reform project were due to the nature of the internal Soviet conditions, then the West has a great responsibility for this failure.

Gorbachev proposed to European countries the idea of ​​an “extended European house”, which includes Russia, but it did not receive a real response even after he accepted German unification and the liberation of Eastern European countries from Soviet domination. In the famous Gorbachev meeting with US President George HW Bush in Malta at the beginning of December 1989, when the end of the Cold War was announced, the United States (and its Western camp) did not fulfill its pledges to the Soviet Union, which aspired to build a new international system alternative to the polar conflict, which required the dismantling of the Alliance. The Atlantic and the integration of the new Russia into the global economic system.

The West bet on Gorbachev’s liberal political opponent, Boris Yeltsin, the first president of post-communist Russia, although it did not practically help him in his major reforms, in which he tried to cultivate the Western model politically and economically in an environment difficult for liberal democracy. Few Russians are today affected by the apprehension and regret over the death of Gorbachev, who symbolizes in their collective imagination the collapse of the great Soviet empire that was the title of their global power and leadership. The current Russian President, Vladimir Putin, expressed this sentiment by saying, “The dissolution of the Soviet Union was the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the twentieth century.” There is no doubt that Gorbachev bears a large part of the responsibility for this disintegration, which has left a global strategic equation that President Putin, through his policies, is trying to change.

In the year 2019 (the thirtieth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall), Gorbachev issued his last book, “The Future of the Comprehensive World,” acknowledging his political mistakes and miscalculation of international data, without giving up his enthusiasm for the end of the Cold War, which he wanted the beginning of an era of complete harmony between the major international powers, while he considered it The West is a victory for him and a defeat for his opponent. In the aforementioned book, he implicitly lamented the dissolution of the Soviet Union, adhered to Russian patriotic positions in the Balkans, the Caucasus, and Eastern Europe, and worried about the return of the Cold War between Russia and the West. Gorbachev was the last maker of the post-Cold War world, although he lived for a long time in the shadows and on the sidelines in recent years. In his last days, he witnessed the collapse of his dream of world peace and international harmony, following the outbreak of the first war of the new geopolitical conflict on the Ukrainian front.

*Mauritanian academic

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