Oscar Lanza Rosales
Mikhail Gorbachev, the last leader of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) (1985-1991) and which in his time was dissolved due to the great political, economic and social reforms that wanted to promote -to avoid its collapse- for which he did not have the support of the communist party, the military, or the most conservative sectors of the USSR, and the predisposition of some member countries to become independent from the USSR (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania ), Inter alia.
Without a doubt, Gorbachev was an idealist, a dreamer, a democrat, who longed for freedom and radiated sympathy, very different from his predecessors, very serious characters, some very tyrannical, such as Joseph Stalin, who spent 30 years in power (1924- 1953). According to analysts, this is the era with the greatest achievements of the USSR, due to the excessive centralization of power and control of the population under a police regime. Stalin was succeeded by Nikita Khrustchev (1953-1964); Leonid Brezhnev (1964-1982); Yuri Andropov (1983-1984); and Konstantin Chernenko (1984-1985).
These leaders were so veteran that some died in power due to age and could no longer meet the challenges and challenges of the Soviet empire.
Gorbachev received him when he was about to collapse. A huge bureaucracy. The centers of industrial, agricultural and even military production worked with obsolete technologies, with very low productivity, which was no longer competitive with developed economies, mainly the United States (EU).
Gorbachev invented two magic words to undertake the reforms: “Perestroika” which means restructuring; and “Glasnost” which in simple terms means openness or transparency.
He proposed internal and external changes. He promoted dialogue with the US and Great Britain to get rid of nuclear weapons, for which he negotiated some treaties with them. In addition, it withdrew troops from Afghanistan in 1988.
Within the liberalization, it allowed the Soviets to travel to Western countries and the sale of books that were previously prohibited. He expanded freedom of expression and free elections were held, in which Gorbachev was elected president.
Economically, it decentralized factories and gave farmers more freedom to decide what to produce; he promoted the opening of businesses, to move towards a market economy. According to Gorbachev, with these decisions, he wanted to strengthen the development of socialism and thus carry out perestroika, with more democracy, organization and discipline. His goal was to change central and state planning to revive the economy.
All of these decisions led to the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1990 to Gorbachev, an attempted coup in 1991, and his resignation from office in December 1991, when his efforts to restructure the USSR and the ambition of all the republics to become independent gained strength.
He believed that he failed with the reforms, because he arrived late with his proposals, welcome at the beginning, but he did not foresee the long and difficult path that it meant, replacing a totalitarian system – a single party, with 200 languages and a Stalinist model – for a free one. and democratic.
In order for it to be successful, according to him, it had to dismantle the entire multinational state and make a single union, in the style of the European Union. He had to create democratic institutions from the beginning with young people to promote the process. He accepted his mistakes, of underestimating the multi-ethnic problem and the lack of simultaneity, between the dismantling of old and new structures. But despite his poor decisions and mistakes, he didn’t feel like a failure. He believed that everything was yet to be done, but that the seed of change was there.
Europeans – especially Germans – praise Gorbachev the most, because “he played a crucial role in ending the cold war and bringing down the iron curtain, the fall of the Berlin Wall, and paved the way for a Europe freedom and the reunification of Germany.
Analysts and historians describe him as a pragmatic and rational politician who was unable to reform his country. And his compatriots consider him guilty of the collapse of the USSR. Professor Archie Brown of Oxford University has called him an open-minded politician, and although it was not his intention, his rise marked the end of the USSR, and changed the course of history. While the Secretary General of the UN, Antonio Guterres, describes him as a statesman who put an end to the cold war, but who years later could not prevent the collapse of the Soviet Union.
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Gorbachev: “A humanist Soviet leader” – Diario La Tribuna