Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty have noticed that Mikhail Sergeievich Gorbachev turned 90 this March.
So far as they all are concerned, Gorbachev was the statesman who ended the Cold War.
So far as most Russians are concerned, Gorbachev is the failed Communist who ruined their country.
The Western propagandists’ view is not supported by as many facts as the Russian public’s is.
Reality speaks louder than ideology
A few facts to show that Gorbachev’s role in everything that had happened was limited, to put it very mildly.
Lech Wałęsa, an electrician at Poland’s Lenin Shipyards in Gdańsk (Stocznia Lenina, now known as Gdańsk Shipyard), started organizing an Independent Self-Governing Trade Union Solidarity (Niezależny Samorządny Związek Zawodowy Solidarność) in August 1980.
Gorbachev was Soviet Communist party secretary responsible for agriculture at the time. Not that his stewardship did Soviet agriculture much good.
He approached then-chief of the KGB state security agency, Yuri Vladimirovich Andropov, asking him to suggest at the highest body, a.k.a. Politburo (political bureau) that the Soviet Army invade Poland and put a stop to such incendiary ideas as having independent trade unions once and for all.
Unlike Gorbachev, Andropov was aware of the real situation in Poland. He also knew that then-American president, Ronald Reagan, wrote to then-Soviet chief, Leonid Iliych Brezhnev, telling him that the U.S. would view any Soviet attack against Poland as an attack against the United States.
Andropov, files de-classified since then show, told Gorbachev to mind his own business.
Meanwhile, Andropov’s service helped Polish communists in their subversive effort to install a general as the country’s new leader, hoping that the new head of state, Wojciech Witold Jaruzelski, will do the dirty deed for them.
Jaruzelski, in turn, declared martial law in Poland, thus helping Solidarity multiply its membership in protest.
Wałęsa won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1983, to honour his efforts.
And Poland walked away from communism, making Jaruzelski its last communist leader.
Jaruzelski’s arrival on the scene, by the way, showed the perfect ignorance of then-Prime Minister of Canada, one Pierre Elliott Trudeau. Martial law, he pronounced, was the best solution for the Poles. It quite obviously prevented a Soviet invasion, was his geopolitical explanation.
Clearly, Trudeau Sr. was out of the loop: the Soviets were aware that an invasion would doom them, and all their works, right then and there.
Gorbachev’s role in the downfall of communism was marginal.
Political wisdom at the time held that the Soviet Union would fall apart as soon as its population hears at least a part of the truth surrounding it.
Gorbachev started something known as glasnost and perestroika (гласность and перестройка, meaning openness and restructuring).
Once the people of the various Soviet republics began learning the truth about their countries’ history, they realized why they had enough of it.
Gorbachev wasn’t even smart enough to heed his friend and former foreign minister Eduard Ambrosiyevich Shevardnadze’s warnings about a potential coup d’état, organized by communist hardliners. Shevardnadze, a former KGB general, knew much better than Gorbachev what was going on.
It would take Boris Nikolayevich Yeltsin to suppress the communist putsch, take over the leadership role and, eventually, sign off on the deal that would send the entire Soviet Union deal up in flames.
But, the pro-Gorbachev enthusiasts at RFE/RL and the BBC say, Mikhail Sergeievich Gorbachev did help finish the so-called Cold War, didn’t he?
If they did their basic homework, they would have known that this is a fallacy, too.
A Washington Post correspondent in Moscow at the time saw a huge miners’ strike going on in Siberia. He decided to go and have a closer look. And while he had the miners’ undivided attention, he asked who, in their minds, was the greatest leader who had helped change the world for the better.
Why, Mikhail Sergeievich Gorbachev, was the answer he expected to hear.
Ronald Reagan was the answer he heard.
What about Gorbachev? he asked.
Ah, yet another failed commie poohbah, most of the miners told him.
Obviously, they knew more and better than an American east coast egg-head.
Still: so what about the Cold War?
Gorbachev allowed the countries of the former Warsaw Pact and the so-called Council for Mutual Economic Co-operation leave the by then hugely artificial communist orbit because he couldn’t afford to even try to prevent it.
And the same goes for his dealings with the U.S.
Basically, he got his Nobel Peace Prize in 1990 for trying to become a realist.
Chief terrorist Yasser Arafat won that same prize in 1994, together with Israeli politicians Shimon Peres and Yitzhak Rabin, for achieving peace in the Middle East that does not exist even today. Former U.S. President Barack Hussein Obama received it in 2009 after just a few weeks in office. He got it for perfectly nothing. Former U.S. Vice-President Al Gore got it in 2007 for a huge amount of hot air on behalf of climate change panic.
To sum up: since the mid-1980s, when the Nobel Peace Prize honoured Lech Wałęsa’s efforts to dismantle communism, the award has meant less and less with each passing year. It has become a tool for ideological games played by members of Norway’s parliament, a.k.a. Storting.
Need an example? How about the nomination for an openly racist group, Black Lives Matter, submitted for this year’s consideration?
Still: why the hoopla about Gorbachev?
Yes, reaching such a ripe age is cause for occasional remark. But for soliciting pearls of wisdom from a politician who had failed in everything he touched?
One of Gorbachev’s answers is a revelation: he calls for unfettered globalism, starting with Covid-19, and going on to embrace the feudalistic socialism of the World Economic Forum’s Great Reset, moving on to overpopulation with its alleged links to climate change (hey, Bill and Melinda Gates, are you listening?), culminating with questions about nations (a hint: jó napot kívánok, Soros György Úr and your Open Societies).
Mikhail Sergeievich Gorbachev used to be a communist who managed to climb all the way to the communist top.
Mikhail Sergeievich Gorbachev now denies ever being a communist: he’s always been a social democrat, he claims.
Either way, he’s always managed to choose the losing side.
Let’s hope Mikhail Sergeievich Gorbachev remains faithful to this habit and the things he is proposing today will fail again.