'It's not up to Gorbachev to speak of democracy' - Experts

Well-known politicians, including the opposition, said they did not consider the ex-Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev a politician who tried to democratize the country and even more so, an expert on political modernization. According to them, there were many times when Mikhail Gorbachev contacted the West for help to intervene in the internal affairs of their country, and most of his "projects" like "perestroika" and "acceleration" were either idle talk or have failed and led to the destruction of the statehood.

In an interview with British TV channel Sky News, the former head of the Soviet Union discussed Russia's path towards a "democratic state" and appealed to foreign audiences with an advice on "what has to be done to move forward in this direction".

Stanislav Belkovsky, the director of the Institute of National Strategy in an interview with Politonline.ru said that he did not believe Gorbachev to be a Democrat or modernizer. "I believe that Gorbachev was not a modernizer, because with a strict approach to the concept of modernization, it is the process of building a modern state, modern society and modern institutions. Under Gorbachev in the Soviet Union the destruction of these institutions was commenced, including large systems of socialization of people," said the political scientist. "Gorbachev has launched the collapse of all systems of the Soviet Union and initiated the process of de-modernization of the country, which continues to this day," Belkovsky said. "It seems to me that Gorbachev did not have a political strategy. He had to finish Andropov's personnel revolution in the apparatus of the communist party, a generational shift, but planned no large-scale reforms. He had to finish cleaning the government and advance his own personal power and to keep the communist regime," he explained. The expert noted: "This was a weak leader who has got into power at the wrong time and that's what happened. And so what that we gained our "freedom." Gorbachev was in any case not a democrat, he was a classic party member, the flesh of the Communist Party. He did not want any democracy, of course," continued Belkovsky and added: "He has always strongly resisted democracy, but then he faced the forces that brought the story to the forefront - and was weaker than them, much weaker. When the USSR collapsed, Gorbachev did not want to plead guilty, did not want to admit his mistakes, and took credit for our newfound freedom. Since we have the crisis of moral authority in society, some of our countrymen are inclined to attribute to him the great advantages and historic role, which he did not possess and did not play," noted the analyst.

In turn, the publisher and writer Prokhanov said in comments to Politonline.ru, that the appeal Gorbachev made to foreign audiences, counting on media and political reaction of the West, was traditional and telling for the former head of the Soviet Union. "I will make a radical statement - I think that Gorbachev is one of the most extraordinarily effective country's agents in the entire history who was recruited in a complicated manner or under the influence of strategic rivals of the USSR to deliberately ruin the country," he said. "Perestroika" was inherently not a process of democratization, but an algorithm of layering effect launched in the Soviet society. It destroyed the bases of the Soviet Union - first the party, then the ideology and then the economy, military, and moral," said Prokhanov. "Under the slogan of "democratization" and with the support of the energy of the masses who wanted change, within four years the Soviet Union was weakened and presented a heap of still apparent, but already unsteady systems. The Communist Party was taken out of the picture, law enforcement, military, social motivation, intelligence and economy were discredited," he added.

"If we look at any strategic polls or conduct them in any part of the country, you will be convinced that Gorbachev is a negative persona, a negative authority for the majority of Russian, and earlier, Soviet citizens. He would have an unbelievably low rating with a negative sign, and he cannot consider himself an authority and teach someone," Prokhanov thinks.

Deputy General Director of the Institute of Social Systems Dmitry Badovsky suggested that Politonline.ru takes a hard look at Gorbachev's "modernization" and "democratization". "We see that Gorbachev's economic modernization has choked. The social one did have certain dynamics, and the political one was a complete and catastrophic failure, resulting in the collapse of the Soviet Union."

In addition, bloggers discussing the persona of Gorbachev wrote: "And what did he give us but the idiotic prohibition? Democratization? And what's this - the nationalist hysteria? The collapse of the Soviet Union? The withdrawal of troops from Europe, for which the country received nothing? "Gorbachev was always a can't-do under the gray cardinal Yakovlev and the Central Committee, therefore here he cannot compete with the intellectuals and argue with serious politicians," Internet users said.

Oleg Volodin

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Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov