Former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev dead at 91

The Washington Examiner reported that former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev died this week at the age of 91. 

Gorbachev attempted to reform the Soviet Union

The paper cited Russian media reports as stating that Gorbachev passed away on Tuesday at Moscow’s Central Clinical Hospital where he was being treated for a long-term illness.

Gorbachev was the Soviet Union’s final leader and sought to liberalize the communist regime by promoting policies of “glasnost” and “perestroika,” Russian for “openness” and “reconstruction.”

Tributes to Gorbachev quickly appeared on social media, with former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger tweeting that “it was an honor and a joy to meet him.”

Gorbachev’s record continues to be a source on controversy

However, other Twitter users were more critical of Gorbachev’s time in office, which took place during the Soviet Union’s collapse in 1991.

The results of Gorbachev’s policies were hotly debated among Russians, a fact which was parodied in a Pizza Hut commercial he appeared in.

According to Newsweek, Russian journalist Alexei Venidiktov feels that current Russian President Vladimir Putin has effectively done away with Gorbachev’s legacy.

“What Mikhail Sergeevich Gorbachev did is all destroyed,” Newsweek quoted him as telling Forbes Russia last month. “All Gorbachev’s reforms—to zero, to ashes, to smoke.”

Venidiktov, who was reportedly a friend of Gorbachev, added that the former Soviet leader was bothered by Putin’s decision to invade neighboring Ukraine.

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