How Gorbachev Changed the World Order Without the Use of Force: Part 1

Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev.

President Reagan and Soviet General Secretary Gorbachev at their first summit in Geneva Switzerland on November 19, 1985. (Image: via Public Domain)

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Mikhail Gorbachev, the legendary and famous Russian political figure, wielded significant influence in the second half of the 20th century. Unfortunately, he passed away from illness at 91 on August 30, 2022. The fall of the Berlin Wall, the dramatic opening up and changes in Eastern Europe, and the disintegration of the Soviet Union are all his works.

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On Christmas night, December 25, 1991, Mr. Gorbachev signed his last executive decree as President of the Soviet Union and resigned as Supreme Commander of the Soviet Armed Forces. Over the Kremlin, the “hammer and sickle” flag representing communism had fallen, and the once mighty Soviet “empire” had officially become history. This is the most unexpected Christmas gift the West has ever received.

A peasant farmer’s son is testimony that one man can peacefully change the world

President Gorbachev was one of the most influential political figures of the 20th century. He was a man with the innate mission to change the direction of Europe and the world. The fall of the Berlin Wall on November 9, 1989, the dramatic changes in Eastern Europe, and the disintegration of the Soviet Union were all his works.  

Leaders worldwide sent condolences, praising Gorbachev’s achievements in the dissolution of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) and ending the Cold War. However, Xi Jinping was surprisingly silent, and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) was very low-key, refraining from talking about Gorbachev’s monumental historical achievements. 

Painted across the infamous Berlin Wall: 'Thank you, Gorbi!'
Painted across the infamous Berlin Wall: ‘Thank you, Gorbi!’ (Image: via Wikipedia)

The CCP was not very pleased, which was a good sign

Way back in 2013, CCP Party leader Xi Jinping commented on Gorbachev and the disintegration of the CPSU, saying: “In the end, Gorbachev announced the dissolution of the CPSU with a single word, and such a large party was gone. There was ‘no man to come out to resist.”

Mikhail Gorbachev was born on March 2, 1931, to a peasant family of Russian and Ukrainian heritage. When he was a child, he experienced the great famine in the Soviet Union of 1932 and his elders being persecuted by the Soviet Communist Party. His paternal and maternal grandfathers were arrested as counter-revolutionaries during Stalin’s Great Purge of the 1930s.

His father, a combine harvester operator, was exiled to Siberia. Gorbachev’s pain and what he saw and heard in developed Western countries prompted his decision to break the Communist Party’s political and ideological monopoly and embark on reform.

In 1985, Gorbachev, 54, took the helm of a superpower with 5 million troops. However, the arms race had drained the Soviet economy.

On Gorbachev's merits and demerits, Western countries describe him as a 'hero' who ended the Cold War.
On Gorbachev’s merits and demerits, Western countries describe him as a ‘hero’ who ended the Cold War. (Image: via Wikipedia)

Shocked by the prosperity of the ‘rotten capitalist system,’ he saw the need for change

Gorbachev was shocked by the prosperity of the “rotten capitalist system.” He then decided to open the door to the world, and the “new thinking,” the reform he promoted, proposed to replace the one-party government of the Communist Party with a multi-party system. He encouraged reformists to break away from the CPSU before the Party’s 1990 congress.

Loved by the people, hated by the communists

On Gorbachev’s merits and demerits, Western countries describe him as a “hero” who ended the Cold War. At the same time, many Russians regard him as the “culprit” who disintegrated the Soviet Union, believing that he made Moscow’s prestige and global influence suffer major humiliation and loss. On the other hand, the Communist Party’s mouthpiece belittled him, saying that he betrayed national interests to gain Western honor.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Gorbachev mainly engaged in social and literary activities. He acted in the German film So Far Away, for which he also won numerous awards. The series in which Gorbachev played his true self made him even more famous in the international community.

Gorbachev’s life had many setbacks in this era of significant change.

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