Mikhail Gorbachev: Who be di last Soviet leader wey die at 91

Mikhail Gorbachev, di former Soviet leader who bring di Cold War to a peaceful end, don die at age 91.

Oga Gorbachev, wey take power in 1985, open up di then-USSR to di world and introduce set of reforms at home.

But e no fit prevent di slow collapse of di Soviet Union, from which modern Russia emerged.

Dem don dey pay am tributes worldwide, with UN chief Antonio Guterres saying e “change di course of history”.

“Mikhail Gorbachev na one-of-a kind statesman,” UN Secretary General Oga Guterres write for Twitter tribute. “Di world done loss a towering global leader, committed multilateralist, and tireless advocate for peace.”

Di hospital in Moscow wia e die say e bin dey suffer from a long and serious illness.

For recent years im health bin dey decline and e bin dey go in and out of hospital. For June, international media report say dem admit am after suffering from a kidney ailment, though dem never announce im cause of death.

Russian President Vladimir Putin don express im deepest condolences following Oga Gorbachev’s death, im toktok pesin Dmitry Peskov tell Russian news agency Interfax, according to Reuters.

US President Joe Biden call am a “rare leader” and praise Oga Gorbachev as a unique politician wey get di “imagination to see say a different future dey possible” amid di tensions of di Cold War.

European Union President Ursula von der Leyen praise am as a “trusted and respected leader” wey “open di way for a free Europe”.

“Dis legacy na one we no go forget,” she add join.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson say e admire Oga Gorbachev’s courage and integrity, adding: “In a time of Putin’s aggression for Ukraine, im tireless commitment to opening up Soviet society remains an example to us all.”

Oga Gorbachev become general secretary of di Soviet Communist Party, and de facto leader of di country, in 1985.

At di time, e dey age 54 – di youngest member of di ruling council wey dey known as di Politburo, and dey seen as a breath of fresh air after several ageing leaders. Im predecessor, Konstantin Chernenko, bin die age 73 after just over one year for office.

Few leaders bin don get such a profound effect on di global order, but Oga Gorbachev no come to power seeking to end di Soviet grip over eastern Europe. Rather, e hope to revitalise im society.

Di Soviet economy bin dey struggle for years to keep up wit di US and im policy of Perestroika wan introduce some market-like reforms to di state run system.

Internationally e reach arms control deals wit di US, refuse to intervene wen eastern European nations rise up against dia Communist rulers and end di bloody Soviet war for Afghanistan wey don dey rage since 1979.

Meanwhile, im policy of glasnost, or openness, allowed pipo to criticise di goment in a way wey don previously dey unthinkable.

But e also unleash nationalist sentiments in many regions of di country wey eventually undermine di stability of di country and lead to im collapse.

For 1991, after one shambolically organised coup by communist hardliners failed, Oga Gorbachev agree to dissolve di Soviet Union and comot office.

E dey seen for di West as an architect of reform wey creat di onditions for di end of di Cold War in 1991 – a time of deep tensions between di Soviet Union and Western nations, wey include di US and Britain.

Dem award am di Nobel Peace Prize for 1990 “for di leading role wey e play for di radical changes in East-West relations”.

But in di new Russia wey emerge after 1991 e don dey on di fringes of politics, focusing on educational and humanitarian projects.

Oga Gorbachev make one ill-fated attempt to return to political life in 1996, receiving just 0.5% of di vote in presidential elections.

Im divisive legacy dey reflected in di tributes wey followed im death.

Henry Kissinger, wey serve as US Secretary of State under President Richard Nixon, tell di BBC’s Newsnight programme say Oga Gorbachev go dey “remembered in history as a man wey start historic transformations wey later benefit of mankind and Russian pipo”.

James Baker, wey negotiate di reunification of Germany with Mr Gorbachev’s goment, tell di New York Times say “history go remember Mikhail Gorbachev as a giant wey steer im great nation towards democracy”.

But many Russians never forgive am for di turmoil wey follow di collapse of di USSR.

Vladimir Rogov, one Russian-appointed official for occupied Ukraine, say Oga Gorbachev bin “deliberately lead di (Soviet) Union to im demise” and call am traitor.

Dem go bury for Moscow’s Novodevichy cemetery, di resting place of many prominent Russians, next to im wife Raisa wey die of leukaemia in 1999, Tass news agency tok.

By ethionegari@gmail.com

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *