Mikhail GORBATCHEV was the last leader of the Soviet Union. He was above all the one who put an end to the Cold War by shattering the totalitarian edifice created by Lenin and Stalin. It was Mikhail GORBATCHEV who opened the iron curtain which fell on Europe in 1945.
From Stettin to Triestre, an iron curtain fell on the continent: Warsaw, Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Belgrade, Bucharest and Sofia – all these famous cities and the people who live around them are part of the Soviet sphere and are subjected, in one way or another, not only to Soviet influence, but to very severe and ever stronger control measures, enacted by Moscow. Winston CHURCHILL in 1946.
He organized the first free elections in 1989. He installed freedom of the press in the country of single thought. In this, Mikhaïl GORBATCHEV was undoubtedly, with CHURCHILL, GANDHI or De GAULLE , one of the men of the XXth century. As Boris ELTSINE will later say , the 20th century ended on December 25, 1991 with the dissolution of the USSR and the resignation of its president.
GORBATCHEV by Bernard LECOMTE
The early years of Mikhail GORBATCHEV (born in 1931) were tormented by history, marked by the great famine (1932-1933) organized by STALINE , the arrest of his grandfather by the KKVD, the ancestor of the KGB, the German-Soviet Pact (1939), German occupation. It is thus astonishing to note that the errors of communism under the Stalin era did not push the young Mikhaïl GORBATCHEV far from the paths traced by Lenin in 1919. Since Mikhaïl GORBATCHEV , visibly not vindictive , joined the party (PCUS) very young .
Perhaps he understood very early on that, to make a career in this paradise on earth promised by MARX in his Communist Manifesto of 1848, you had to enter the mold? Thanks to his talent for negotiation and orator, he quickly climbed the ranks, first provincial (those of the Stavropol region), then those of Moscow.
We were then under the BREJNEV era (1906-1982), pure heir to the Stalinist bureaucracy, conservative among the conservatives of the communist tradition, the man who confused stability and immobility. KHROUCHTCHEV (1894-1971), had tried, a few years earlier, to shake up the immense wax monolith that constituted the Eastern bloc by releasing his famous Report on the excesses of STALINE ; but it was landed in 1964 by the nomenklatura anxious to maintain its status as an avant-garde party; astonishing this mania to cling to some advantages, like a furnished apartment, in a country which had however sworn to push all the privileges beyond its borders.
Comrades, it is difficult for me to explain to the Soviet worker why, when he is supposed to have been in power for more than 70 years, he has to stand in line to buy sausages, in which there has more starch than meat, while our tables are full of sturgeon, caviar and delicacies acquired without problems in special stores where he, the worker, is not allowed to enter. Mikhaïl GORBATCHEV in 1987.
Thus, by climbing the ladder, GORBATCHEV significantly increased his comfort of life, as well as that of his wife Raïssa, until disposing of a ZIL, the must of the Soviet automobile industry.
His passage to Stavropol had forged his convictions, but also confirmed his doubts: why in this fertile region were we forced to import wheat to feed the population? Why was collectivization always synonymous with lower yields? Why was Soviet technology 20 years behind the West? The need to personally interest people for the benefit of their work began to take hold. The successive deaths of the bedridden people who followed one another in the Kremlin ( Chernenko, Andropov ) opened the doors of the palace to him in 1985.
I wish the definition and the solution of new problems and the removal of all that hinders development, the need for new changes, a new qualitative state of society, the improvement of social relations first of all in the economic field , profound changes in the field of work and the material and spiritual conditions of the existence of the people, the deepening of socialist democracy and self-management of the people. Mikhaïl GORBATCHEV in 1985.
GORBATCHEV will always claim communist ideology,
We have to look for the answers within the framework of our (socialist) system. Mikhaïl GORBATCHEV in 1986.
but he will push, as secretary general, all the reforms going in the direction of freedom: to install a market economy in the countries of the Soviets, freedom of the press in the country of PRAVDA , and finally democracy in the country of the candidate unique; this is what was the program of Mikhaïl GORBATCHEV , the man of Perestroïka and Glasnost.
When we started to broadcast the debates on television, the theaters were emptied, everyone spent their evenings in front of their small screen. People were lining up in front of newsstands, because that was where real life was. Mikhail GORBATCHEV .
But he was not aware that the wicks he lit were connected to barrels of powder. Put a little freedom in a totalitarian regime which finds its strength in the complete control of the population and you get an inevitable collapse of the building.
If the Soviet leaders seek to be more flexible, they will undermine the foundations of their power. Margaret THATCHER in 1983.
Did he want the end of the USSR? The answer is still not clear today.