June 3, 2023

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Gorbachev’s death: Vibrant tributes from Biden and Macron…and quiet obituaries from Putin

Died Tuesday evening at 91 D. Mikhail GorbatsevThe last leader of the Soviet Union evoked strong tributes in the West, where his pivotal role in ending the Cold War and his struggle for peace were especially prominent. Six months after the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The sentiment of the Western reactions contrasted with the sobriety of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who expressed “his deepest condolences” and would “send a telegram of condolence (on Wednesday) morning to the family and loved ones” of the former leader. to a Kremlin spokesman.

This Wednesday, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier paid tribute to the late leader, thanking him for his “decisive contribution to German unity.” He said in a statement that Mikhail Gorbachev, by his actions, had shown “democratic openness and the courage to build bridges between East and West” and “an outstanding politician” for peace in Europe. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz noted that Gorbachev died “when democracy failed in Russia” and when “Moscow and Russian President (Vladimir) Putin dug new ditches in Europe.”

“His commitment changed our common history”

Tributes are mounting in Europe, where some leaders have credited his democratic reforms with his role in ending the Cold War. In France, President Emmanuel Macron paid tribute to “the man of peace who opened the way to freedom for the Russians”. “His commitment to peace in Europe has changed our common history,” he added. In a tweet.

In Brussels, European Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen, a “credible and respected leader”, expressed regret for “playing a key role (…) in bringing down the Iron Curtain”. The former leader’s “courage” and “integrity” were once again praised by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. “During the time of (Vladimir) Putin’s occupation of Ukraine, his tireless commitment to opening up Soviet society is an example to all of us,” he stressed.

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“Tireless Guardian of Peace”

Marked tributes echoed across the Atlantic. US President Joe Biden congratulated en Mikhail Gorbachev A “rare leader”. His actions are those of a leader who has “the imagination to see that another future is possible and the courage to risk his whole life to achieve it.” The result has been a safer world and more freedom for millions of people,” the US president said.

For United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, “the world has lost an outstanding world leader, committed to multilateralism and a tireless defender of peace”. In a statement, the UN chief hailed him as “a unique politician who changed the course of history” and “did more than anyone else to bring about a peaceful end to the Cold War”. It’s the same story at NATO, where the organization’s secretary-general, Jens Stoltenberg, spoke of “historic reforms” and “a vision of a better world.”

A “Champion of Peace”

Former Colombian President and Nobel Peace Prize 2016, Juan Manuel Santos, Mikhail Gorbachev – who received this Nobel in 1990 – “Champion of Peace”. “The world needs more leaders like him,” he wrote.

Finally, China offered condolences to his family and praised the role of the last Soviet leader in bringing Beijing and Moscow closer after a gap of three decades. “Mr Gorbachev has made a positive contribution to the normalization of relations between China and the Soviet Union,” said Zhao Lijian, a spokesman for Chinese diplomacy.