Dr. Ved Pratap Vaidik
The Western world has deeply mourned the demise of Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev, the last General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and the last head of state of the USSR. Vladimir Putin, the present president of Russia also expressed his grief on the death of the last head of state of the USSR. Like Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, the first and founding head of the Government of Soviet Russia, Gorbachev will also remain immortal in the history of Russia.
The world outside Russia will probably remember Gorbachev more than Lenin. It is true that Lenin’s admirers and followers spread from China to Cuba and from Mao Zedong to Fidel Castro were reciting Lenin’s antitheses, but what Gorbachev achieved was an impossible task. He released the Soviet Union from the clutches of the Communist Party, and put an end to the cold war that had spread all over the world. Awarded independence to 15 states from the Soviet Union and made all of them free nations. Then united the divided Germany and also got the Warsaw Pact dissolved. He also made efforts to control the nuclear-powers and also tried to open the doors of democracy for Russia.
If I had to describe Gorbachev’s contribution in one line, I would say that he has earned the distinction of being a great hero of the 20th century. No leader of the twentieth century did such onerous tasks in international politics, global ideology and human emancipation as Gorbachev did. I did my PhD in the Soviet Union during the regime of Leonid Brezhnev
I have had many opportunities to live in Russia while the Communist party was in power and later during Gorbachev’s regime and post Gorbachev era. While staying there I used to keenly observe all three types of Russian conditions. I was bewildered at the internal condition of the socialist society of Karl Marx’s dreams. Free sex in Moscow and Leningrad, tight surveillance of detectives, long queues to buy food and consumable items, and for young students like me gold plated cars at my disposal. I was amazed beyond disruption.
Gorbachev liberated Russia from this artificial system created by Lenin, Stalin, Khrushchev and Brezhnev. He not only freed the countries of Eastern Europe from Russian clutches but also freed Afghanistan from Russian occupation. In his five-six years (1985–1991) of rule, Gorbachev made the two Russian words ‘Glasnost’ and ‘Perestroika’ popular across the globe.
Gorbachev received the Nobel Prize for Peace but was marginalized in Russian politics for the last three decades of his life. In his last days Gorbachev regretted the war between Russia and Ukraine. His mother was Ukrainian and father was Russian. Thanks to Gorbachev for the current warm India-US relations. Gorbachev was the inspiration for Narasimha Rao to free India from the influence of the Russian Socialist Economy.
*Dr. Vaidik is a widely travelled scholar-journalist. He has visited more than 80 countries on diplomatic and educational missions. Dr. Vaidik has won more than a dozen National and International awards for academic and journalistic excellence. He has been a member of several Advisory Committees of Government of India.