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Putin, world react to death of Gorbachev, who helped end the Cold War

For his half, Putin, who was serving in the KGB in East Germany throughout Gorbachev’s time as chief, made it clear over the years that he noticed the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the collapse of the Eastern bloc in Europe as humiliating to Russia.

Western leaders saluted Gorbachev for his achievements.

In a press release that referred to as Gorbachev “a man of remarkable vision” and “a rare leader,” Biden mirrored on a 2009 assembly with the former Soviet president in the White House.

“It was easy to understand why so many worldwide held him in such high esteem,” Biden mentioned. Biden praised Gorbachev’s democratic reforms, crediting him with fostering “a safer world and greater freedom for millions.”

United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson drew a comparability between the two males that was unflattering to Putin, as he expressed admiration for Gorbachev’s half in ending the Cold War.

“In a time of Putin’s aggression in Ukraine, [Gorbachev’s] tireless commitment to opening up Soviet society remains an example to us all,” Johnson mentioned.

Other leaders additionally contrasted Putin with Gorbachev of their condolence messages. Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), who met Gorbachev each in Russia and the United States, described him as “a bold leader who was unafraid to confront reality.”

Gorbachev “would never be the war criminal that Putin is,” Leahy mentioned.

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) mentioned Gorbachev’s “absence has loomed massive amid Putin’s bloody, unprovoked warfare in Ukraine.“

On Twitter following his death, she paid tribute not solely to Gorbachev’s family members, but additionally to pro-democracy Russian opposition leaders together with Alexei Navalny.

Elsewhere in the United States, Rep. Dean Phillips (D-Minn.), recalled stopping his automotive on the Minneapolis interstate in 1990, as Gorbachev’s motorcade handed.

“A new, more peaceful and promising world seemed to be on the horizon,” Phillips mentioned. “I mourn his passing and his courage, as I do the country he tried so hard to reform.”

Former Secretary of State James Baker III, one of the final surviving world leaders from the Gorbachev period, instructed Reuters: “History will remember Mikhail Gorbachev as a giant who steered his great nation towards democracy. He played the critical role in a peaceful conclusion of the Cold War by his decision against using force to hold the empire together.”

European leaders honored Gorbachev as the chief who put an end to Russian dominance of Eastern Europe, creating an period of stability all through Europe that lasted largely till the Russian invasion of Ukraine earlier this yr.

European Union Commission President Ursula von der Leyen celebrated Gorbachev’s legacy in “bring[ing] down the Iron Curtain. It opened the way for a free Europe.”

Also in Europe, Irish Prime Minister Micheál Martin mentioned he was “saddened” by Gorbachev’s death.

“His sense of history, and commitment to openness, reform, and building bridges with the West, changed the world,” Martin wrote on Twitter.

French President Emmanuel Macron wrote in French that Gorbachev was “a man of peace” who “changed our common history.”

And British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss — the frontrunner to grow to be the subsequent British prime minister — too praised Gorbachev’s work with the West.

“Now more than ever, this legacy of cooperation and peace must prevail,” Truss mentioned.

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