Former Russian President Mikhail Gorbachev Dies at the Age of 91
The eighth and last leader of the Soviet Union from 1985 until 1991, Mikhail Gorbachev, died on Tuesday at the age of 91. A hospital in Moscow revealed that he had been suffering from a “serious and long illness” before his passing.
The Associated Press reported that his death was confirmed by several Russian media outlets including Tass, RIA Novosti, and Interfax.
The last leader of the USSR, Mikhail Gorbachev, has died. pic.twitter.com/aX2SBqfqS0
— Franak Viačorka (@franakviacorka) August 30, 2022
During Gorbachev’s leadership of the Soviet Union, he decided to withdraw from Afghanistan and he willingly pursued summits to talk with leaders of the free world including former President Ronald Reagan. These talks eventually led to the dissolution of the USSR.
His policies of perestroika and glasnost were praised by the outside world and there was genuine hope that change would come with his leadership. These changes eventually decreased the power of what was known as the “Evil Empire,” and caused freedom to triumph over the past Soviet communism.
One of the most significant meetings Gorbachev had with Reagan happened in October of 1986 in Reykjavik, Iceland. This summit came amid the Cold War. The Soviets desperately wanted Reagan to kill the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI, aka Star Wars).
Reagan refused to budge and continued in his effort to win “peace through strength.”
Mikhail Gorbachev, who died today, unsuccessfully tried to coax Ronald Reagan into abandoning SDI at the Reykjavik summit in October, 1986. Reagan said "Nyet." The Soviet Union dissolved in December, 1991. #PeaceThroughStrength
— Hugh Hewitt (@hughhewitt) August 30, 2022
The band of Reagan, the UK’s Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, and Pope John Paul II succeeded in bringing down the Soviet Union and bringing freedom to millions in Eastern Europe.
In his later years, Gorbachev showed great courage in his willingness to speak out against both Russian presidents Boris Yeltsin and Vladimir Putin. And he recently caused some waves globally with his vocal disagreement with the decision by Putin to invade Ukraine.
Gorbachev’s style of leadership is needed in the highly polarized world today. He was willing to come to the table and he was willing to concede when there was no other way.