By John Helmer, Moscow
Those lighting Mikhail Gorbachev’s funeral pyre are torching the truth of the matter – that Gorbachev was a liar of monumental vanity who betrayed his country out of greed and incompetence, outpointed by his adversaries in Moscow, Washington, and London because they knew him better than he knew himself.
Fred Weir, Christian Science Monitor: “A great visionary who sought to reshape his country and the world…The current war in Ukraine is a violent effort by Mr. Gorbachev’s successors to overturn the post-Soviet settlement, redraw the region’s borders, and impose new rules upon the global order.”
Katrina van den Heuvel, proprietor of The Nation: “In October 2009, my late husband and longtime Nation contributor Stephen Cohen and I conducted a wide-ranging Nation interview with Gorbachev at his Foundation offices in Moscow. ‘When did the Cold War actually end?’ we asked. ‘Without perestroika, the Cold War simply would not have ended,’ Gorbachev said.”
Gilbert Doctorow, Belgium blogger: “When I received a call this morning from Turkish public television TRT asking that I comment on the death of Mikhail Gorbachev in a live broadcast, the first thought which came to mind was the ironic remark of Soviet intellectuals on the place of leading personalities in history: ‘there is nothing as changeable and unpredictable as the past’.”
Scott Ritter, US blogger: “I bore first-hand witness to the birth of the Perestroika ‘revolution’ unleashed on the Soviet Union by Mikhail Gorbachev, and to its eventual demise… I became acquainted with him the way most Americans did, when he emerged as the new, fresh face of the Soviet Union…My own view as a Marine was that the Soviet Union was still very much the top threat to the United States…I bore witness to the elections for the new Congress of People’s Deputies…It didn’t come as too much of a shock to me when, in August 1991, there was an attempted coup against Gorbachev carried out by Soviet hardliners.”
Ben Aris, owner of BNE Intellinews: “I met Mikhail Gorbachev only once at a Renaissance Capital investment conference in the heart of Moscow in 2004, but it was a captivating experience…He had that magnetic charisma that most successful politicians possess. When he turned to talk to me you felt that hypnotic power that makes you feel you are the only person on the planet.”
James Baker, former Secretary of State: “I found him to be an honest broker and could count on his word despite domestic pressure in Moscow.”