Mikhail Gorbachev: The contradictory legacy of Soviet leader who attempted ‘revolution from above’

Ronald Suny in The Conversation:

Mikhail Gorbachev was a contradictory figure; his legacy, complex. Hailed in the West as a democrat and liberator of his people – which he genuinely was – he increasingly became despised by many within Russia for destroying the Soviet Union and dismantling a great power.

Either way, he was consequential. Indeed, his death at 91, announced by state media in Russia on Aug. 30, 2022, comes as the ripples of the transformation he helped engineer continue to be felt. The invasion of Ukraine is, in part, an attempt to reverse the loss of status felt in post-Cold War Russia by the disintegration of the Soviet Union that occurred under Gorbachev – something Vladimir Putin views as “the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the [20th] century.” In a sense, the unraveling of the Soviet Union that began 30 years ago is still going on now, in the bloody war in Ukraine.

Of course, that is not how he is perceived in the West.

More here.