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How will History remember Mikhail Gorbachev the man who lost Russia her empire?

It is said Russians have rejected him, arguing that he did the job the West had wanted all along.

In the West, it is said that he prevented the Cold War from ending as a hot one.

When this man came to power, Russia was embroiled in a friutless war to pacify Afghanistan, and having listened to what the mothers of the empire were telling him, he pulled his army out.

The evil empire had spent eight years there and left behind Najibullah.

He came from a generation that did not believe the propaganda fed to them by the state that portrayed the West as the enemy that wanted to destroy Russia, so he did not have any difficulty in opening a dialogue with America and encouraging reforms around the idea of glasnost. For that he was swept out of power, as the empire built by Joseph Stalin fell apart and Western economists instigated reforms that brought a Superpower to her knees.

Gorbachev was not a saint by any means, when the people of the Caucasus raised the flag of revolt he sent in the heavy weaponry of a Superpower to deal with them.

However, he did not take his people into costly and ultimately self defeating wars like say Enver Pasha, war minister of the Ottoman Empire, or Winston Churchill, he of Gallipoli and later the Second World War notoriety.

When the Soviet Union collapsed it was – thankfully – relatively bloodless.

There was suffering and hardship, but compare that with what happened with the fall of the Ottomans and Great Britain.

So, perhaps the man who lost his nation an empire may also be known as the man who made the brave decision to end all war and move a step closer to some idea of world peace.

For the moment, with wars raging around the world, that appears to be an illusion, however future generations may yet thank him for ending the War to end all wars.