“The Soviet collapse was not Mr. Gorbachev’s goal, but it may be his greatest legacy,” reads the Washington Post’s obituary. “It brought to an end a seven-decade experiment born of Utopian idealism that led to some of the bloodiest human suffering of the century. A costly global confrontation between East and West abruptly ceased to exist. The division of Europe fell away. The tense superpower hair-trigger nuclear standoff was eased, short of Armageddon.”
That all reads unobjectionably. The obit writer then claims, “None of it could have happened but for Mr. Gorbachev.”
As the paragraph preceding indicates, Mikhail Gorbachev drifted helplessly in the currents, despite massive efforts to swim against them, of the 1980s. He did not propel them. Ronald Reagan did.
So did Václav Havel. So did Lech Wałęsa. So did Andrei Sakharov. So did Pope John Paul II. So did Margaret Thatcher. So did Helmut Kohl.
“I trusted him then and I still do,” Gorbachev explained of Vladimir Lenin. The people living behind the Iron Curtain repudiated Lenin. Mikhail Gorbachev never did.
For an unrepentant commie, he could sure sell pizza: ‘Hail to Gorbachev:’ Old Pizza Hut commercial resurfaces after former Soviet leader dies.