Cold War, Distant Echoes, Mikhail Gorbachev, Nayab Chohan, NayabChohan, NayabChohanLIVE, Politics, Putin, Putin and Russia, Russia, Russia and the Soviet Union, Soviet Union, Template News, USA, USSR, Vladimir Putin
With the twentieth anniversary of the collapse of the Soviet Union approaching, many have been offering their thoughts as to how this superpower met her end, how was it that on Christmas Day 1991 Mikhail Gorbachev appeared on television to tell his people that he had resigned as their president.
A British ambassador for Moscow, from 1988 to 1992, charted her decline from the 1960s, she was falling behind to her rival and had to rely on high oil prices for the next 15 years, Rodric Braithwaite observed in the Financial Times.
Many Russians from that period would tell you that things weren’t as bad as the cold war propaganda showed, that the food queues broadcast in the West could easily have been replaced by pictures of the dole queues and people sleeping in the streets on Washington, London and Paris.
Over the last ten years, Islamists have argued that the defeat at Afghanistan was the beginning of the end of the empire that denied the existence of God.
For an empire built on fear, admitting defeat was a disaster, however, the Soviet Union’s decision to put 150,000 troops into Kabul was perhaps the first sign that something was wrong at the Kremlin.
Gorbachev himself has been quoted as saying that he felt that things could not continue in the way that they had before he came to power.
I have always believed that the Soviet Union never recovered from the carnage of the Second World War, for on the face of it she was equally matched with the United States of America, truth was her position as number one had come at a horrendous cost, millions of young men had given their lives for the protection of mother Russia.
Whilst industries and infrastructures can be replaced, human beings despite what Cold War propaganda said of the Soviet worker, are not machines, they are just flesh and blood, and in that they are unique.
Cold War, Distant Echoes, Gorbachev, Mikhail Gorbachev, Nayab Chohan, NayabChohanLIVE, Ottoman Empire, Politics, Putin, Putin and Russia, Reagan, Russia, Russia and Gorbachev, Template News, UK, USSR, Vladimir Putin
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.