Mikhail Gorbachev turns 90, celebrates perestroika and glasnost

Mikhail Gorbachev is 90. America also needs its own perestroika

During the recent years, the number of Russian people who believe that the first and last president of the USSR has done more harm than good to the country has slightly decreased. The number of those who positively assess Gorbachev's input has increased by one percent.

A poll conducted by the Russian Public Opinion Research Centre among 1,600 Russians revealed that the number of people who believe that Gorbachev brought the country more harm than good has decreased. In 2019, 54 percent of respondents thought so, and in 2021 - 51 percent.

The number of Russians who are confident that the harm and benefit from Gorbachev's activities were approximately equal has not changed in two years. As many as 32 percent of respondents share this point of view. Fifty-one percent of respondents believe that Gorbachev cared primarily about the welfare of the country and the people, but made a number of mistakes that led to shocks (50% of respondents thought so in 2019). The number of Russians who consider Gorbachev a criminal who deliberately destroyed the state has decreased: 26 percent in 2019 vs. 22 percent in 2021.

Eleven percent of respondents said that Gorbachev was a brave man who was not afraid to take responsibility for the reforms the country needed. Two years earlier, ten percent of respondents thought so.

The Russians find glasnost and freedom of speech (9%), perestroika (4%) and the development of international relations (3%) as Gorbachev's achievements. As for the main failures of Gorbachev's policy, the respondents named the collapse of the USSR (36%), actions in the interests of the West (7%), and economic decline (7%).

On March 2, Mikhail Gorbachev celebrates his 90th birthday. Russian President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin congratulated him on the anniversary. Putin called Gorbachev an outstanding political figure who changed the course of world history.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and German Chancellor Angela Merkel also sent their congratulations to the ex-president of the USSR. The head of the German government thanked Gorbachev for his contribution to uniting Germany and ending the Cold War.

Mikhail Gorbachev and his perestroika

"[The main achievement of the political career] is perestroika. And everything that is related to it. It was cut short, it was not brought to the end ... Freedom, glasnost, freedom to travel abroad, freedom of religion. (...) Finally, weapons. People could take a deep breath of relief. After all, people all over the world, especially in the developed world, in Europe and in America, they have been digging shelters to protect themselves from a nuclear war, which could break out at any moment."

"How much did our perestroika and new thinking save? Hundreds of billions of dollars for the rest of the world! " (from a conversation with the State Secretary of the Ministry of Finance of the Federal Republic of Germany Horst Koehler, 1991).

"America also needs its own perestroika."

"The collapse of the Soviet Union, its withdrawal from the world political arena immediately changed the state of affairs and the balance of power in the whole world, and many were tempted to fish in troubled waters. Everyone is to blame for the fact that the world could not take advantage of the chances that perestroika, new thinking, the end of the Cold War opened up."

"Here, how did Yeltsin act? He negotiated with me and signed papers, but he was going behind my back. He did some mean things, and I cannot forgive him for that. Even now, he is dead, and I would not like to talk about it, but what a vile person he turned out to be. And I was promoting him. Man he is my mistake. His meanness probably comes from drunkenness. Generally speaking, he was a bad man. Lord, forgive me, and workers, forgive me."

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Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov