How the West Betrayed Mikhail Gorbachev and Fueled the Ukraine Conflict
by Thomas Palley
[This article posted on 9/2/2022 is translated from the German on the Internet, Wie der Westen Michail Gorbatschow verriet und den Ukraine-Konflikt schürte - Relevante Ökonomik.]
Mikhail Gorbachev died on August 30, 2022, and since then Western leaders have been heaping praise on him. These eulogies obscure how the West betrayed Gorbachev after his fall and how that betrayal fueled the Ukraine conflict.
The story is complicated because Gorbachev's overthrow was triggered by Communist Party hardliners, so the problems that subsequently plagued Russia were also due in significant part to Russian actions. Nevertheless, Gorbachev sought a partnership for peace, prosperity, and democracy. After his fall, however, the West reneged on its handshake agreement with him.
A Tribute to Gorbachev's Inspiring Vision
Before turning to the details of this betrayal, a tribute to Gorbachev is in order. Gorbachev wanted to transform the Soviet Union from a closed, repressive system into an open, communicative socialist system that would be part of the European family. This effort was called glasnost (openness) and was advanced through the reform movement called perestroika.
His aspiration is recorded in his historic speech to the Council of Europe in 1989. In it, he called on Western Europe to join with the Soviet Union to create an open, fraternal, and prosperous Europe that would overcome the hostilities of the Cold War. His speech concludes with a call for the inclusion of the Soviet Union in a harmonious Europe:
"We are convinced that they need a Europe that is peaceful and democratic, a Europe that preserves all its diversity and its common humanistic ideas, a prosperous Europe that reaches out to the rest of the world. A Europe that strides confidently into the future. In such a Europe we see our own future."
Tragically, his vision was not to become reality. Instead, it was shattered by a spiral of events triggered by the hardline coup d'état of 1991, U.S. hostility, and the naiveté of Western European leaders.
The Communist Coup d'état of 1991
The demise of Gorbachev's vision began with the August 19, 1991, coup in which Communist Party hardliners attempted to overthrow him in order to halt the perestroika reform process. Although the coup failed, it unleashed forces that tore the Soviet Union apart and began Gorbachev's political downfall.
The Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic announced its independence on August 24, followed by a similar declaration by the Belarusian Republic on August 25. The Moldavian Supreme Soviet declared independence on August 27, the Azerbaijani Supreme Soviet split on August 30, and the Kyrgyz Soviet on August 31. There were fifteen soviet republics. By November, only three (Russia, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan) had not declared independence. Gorbachev no longer had a Soviet to lead and resigned as president on December 25, 1991. The next day, the Supreme Soviet declared itself and the Soviet Union no longer in existence.
In hindsight, the failed coup by the hardliners was the starting gun for the dissolution of the Soviet Union, as the bosses of the Communist Party struggled to seize the power that would pave the way for their coming depredations. In Russia, Boris Yeltsin, who was president of the Russian Soviet Republic, won the race.
Expansion of NATO to the East
Even after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the disaster of economic shock therapy and the looting of Russia, Gorbachev's vision could still have been realized. However, it was decisively thwarted by NATO's eastward expansion.
As documented by Ambassador Jack Matlock Jr, the last U.S. ambassador to the Soviet Union, a crucial element in Gorbachev's ending of the Cold War was the agreement that there would be no eastward expansion of NATO beyond the inclusion of East Germany. This handshake agreement was critical to Russia's national security.
However, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the West took advantage of Russia's weakness to expand NATO to its borders. The result was the destruction of the basis of trust and the emergence of lasting fears on the Russian side regarding military conditions.
NATO was founded as a Cold War defense alliance. It is understandable that it continued, but the eastward enlargement was a clearly aggressive act that worsened, not improved, the security of the original NATO member states. The new members had negligible military assets, but all brought with them a massive risk of conflict. Almost all had no democratic traditions, a long history of political intolerance, a history of conflict with Russia, and were intolerant of ethnic Russians within their borders. Joining NATO meant that the original member states committed themselves to defending countries that could be expected with a high probability to provoke conflict with Russia.
Hostility of the USA
Nevertheless, NATO's eastward expansion always made sense from the U.S. point of view. First, the U.S. adheres to the neoconservative doctrine that the U.S. should exercise global hegemony. This means that no country should be able to challenge the U.S. as the Soviet Union once was. Russia still had that power, making it a constant threat in the eyes of neoconservatives.
Second, the U.S. is protected by the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Consequently, it never suffers direct damage or repercussions from conflicts of its own making. Given this, NATO's eastward expansion was virtually cost-neutral to the United States.
Third, Gorbachev's vision of a Europeanized Russia posed a fundamental threat to U.S. hegemony (military and economic) by allowing Western Europe and Russia to make common cause. This made Gorbachev's vision strategically subversive.
On the other hand, Europe has lost much by the failure to realize Gorbachev's vision. First, Europe suffers from the direct damage and repercussions of many conflicts. The conflicts in Bosnia, Serbia, Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Afghanistan have shown this, and the Ukraine conflict shows it again.
Second, Europe has foregone a major economic opportunity by following the strategic lead of the United States. Russia and Western Europe are a match made in heaven economically. Russia has natural resources and needs capital. Europe has capital and needs natural resources. Both have scientific know-how and educated populations.
Third, NATO's eastward expansion has created a U.S. Trojan horse that promises to destabilize Europe in the 21st century. The new member states are more loyal to the U.S. than to Western Europe. Poland has repeatedly demonstrated this. It has purchased U.S. military and civilian aircraft in place of European aircraft and now has a full-scale autonomous U.S. military base established in Poland.
The blame for Europe's failure lies primarily with France and Germany, which are at the forefront of Europe and have failed to develop an independent geopolitical project. This failure may also be due to the U.S. capture of European leadership - a sort of "Manchurian Candidate" effect that is reflected in the career paths and resumes of its leaders.
Mikhail Gorbachev did not want the collapse of the Soviet Union or the end of socialism. He wanted to open a new chapter for Russia and help forget the horrors of the 20th century. He rode the tiger in hopes of humane social change, but the tiger threw him off.
Even after he was thrown off and the Soviet Union perished, his vision of a Russia embedded in a peaceful and democratic Europe might still have been possible. But that would have required U.S. goodwill and intelligent European leadership - neither of which was (and is) present.
That is why the eulogies of U.S. and European leaders ring hollow. These leaders represent the political establishment that ultimately betrayed Gorbachev's vision, and this betrayal explains why he is a shunned man in his homeland today.
For peace: Put Nordstream 2 into operation!
The sanctions policy of the West against Russia and China leads to deglobalization - and so soon to world war? [...]
Almost day after day, we are now being lectured on how wrong it was to have placed ourselves "in Russian dependence" with the pipelines. But first of all, this dependence was mutual, that is, it was not dependence at all. If Russia had not also been dependent on the West, the whole sanctions policy against Russia would have made no sense. Interdependence was the essence of globalization. And yes, it served peace. To quote Daria Marin again, "The foundation of the European Union is, after all, the Coal and Steel Agreement, where the idea was to make German and French industry so dependent on each other that there would be no more war in Europe. That worked." If it is now claimed that Russian aggression shows that "change through trade" does not work, things are turned upside down. For Russian aggression did not precede the economic war on trade relations, it followed it.
Source: der Freitag
"Mikhail Sergeyevich, I want to thank you!"
Leo Ensel / 1.09.2022 Mikhail Gorbachev fought tirelessly for peace and freedom. Twice the author was allowed to meet him personally.
I am not a child of war, but a child of the Cold War. Born in the mid-fifties, raised in a Catholic-conservative milieu in the Rhineland, I grew up with the fear of 'the Russians'. At some point they would come, invade us and introduce their communism here - at least if the Americans did not protect us!
Later, in the eighties, the fear of an all-destroying nuclear war replaced the fear of 'the Russians'. Like hundreds of thousands of other West Germans, I took to the streets to protest the deployment of American medium-range missiles, which, we were convinced, dramatically increased the danger of nuclear war in Europe. The situation seemed hopeless: both superpowers armed to the teeth, entangled in a disastrous spiral of rearmament. Every 'rearmament' was promptly followed by a 'post-rearmament', the warning times amounted to only four minutes at the end - and both German states in the middle of it! The potential battlefield of the superpowers. In an emergency, no stone would have been left unturned. And we all knew that.
"Somebody has to start quitting!" was a somewhat helpless slogan.
And then a miracle happened.
One side really started to stop. And meant it, too. And it was our 'enemies' of all people! The sclerotic communist system - against all expectations - actually began to change. All of a sudden it became interesting to listen to the speeches of the chairman of the communist party. No more phrasemongering, no more proclamations of ultimate wisdom from Moscow! Now the magic words perestroika and glasnost dominated. And the new rulers had a sense of humor. Instead of the Brezhnev Doctrine, there was now talk of the 'Sinatra Doctrine': "I did it my way!" The new hero on the world political stage: young, energetic, possibly even honest, good-looking, open-faced, with an attractive smart woman at his side. And he could laugh too! Another magic phrase made the rounds: "We will do something terrible to you: We will deprive you of the enemy!"
And then it went blow by blow: one Soviet disarmament proposal followed the next. Until the initially suspiciously reluctant West had to 'admit defeat'. All land-based medium-range missiles in East and West were withdrawn and completely scrapped. For the first time, an entire category of weapons had been eliminated! There followed the peaceful revolutions in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, the fall of the Berlin Wall, German reunification, the elimination of 80 percent of all nuclear warheads worldwide, and the Charter of Paris, in which NATO and the Warsaw Pact sealed the end of the Cold War. The vision of the "common European home" seemed within reach. For a blink of an eye in world history, even Kant's utopia of "perpetual peace" seemed to have moved into the realm of possibility.
The road to Gorbachev
That I would ever in my life - and even twice - have the opportunity to meet Mikhail Gorbachev personally and to talk to him, that would never have occurred to me in my dreams during the years of the 'Gorbi-mania'! And for that - paradoxically! - relations between Russia and the West had to deteriorate drastically.
In early March 2014, when Crimea was still part of Ukraine, I sat down at my desk and thought about ways out of the new escalation spiral. When I had finished a first concept, I contacted the German-Russian Forum (DRF) and was promptly invited to Berlin to the congress "Europe: Lost in Translation?", which the DRF organized together with the "World Public Forum - Dialogue of Civilizations" of Putin confidant and former president of the Russian Railways, Vladimir Yakunin. I had a thesis paper with me, presented my thoughts in a working group - and was astonished when in the final session one day later the head of the working group, Professor Ruslan Grinberg (head of the section "Economics" of the Russian Academy of Sciences), read out two paragraphs of my paper in full! I approached Ruslan Grinberg after the congress, and he asked me if I would like to write a detailed essay for his journal "Мир Перемен" (World in Change). I asked him what kind of magazine it was and got the answer: "I publish it together with Mikhail Gorbachev."
I didn't need to be told twice! I wrote the essay, it appeared in the fall of 2014 - and it became the beginning of a wonderful Russian-German friendship, in which everything revolves around the question of what contribution we both - he as a Russian, I as a German - can make to de-escalation in the New East-West Conflict. Together we developed the concept for an international "Broad Coalition of Reason", inviting all people from the directly and indirectly affected countries, for whom de-escalation is more important than their respective national narratives, to join forces. Our "STOP!!! Appeal," whose goal is to rescue Mikhail Gorbachev's New Thought policy, and its underlying concept have been published in both Germany and Russia.
It goes without saying that with Grinberg's, as it turned out, excellent relations with Gorbachev, the desire to meet the former president of the Soviet Union in person arose from my side every now and then.
On April 18, 2017, the time finally came.
"I'm right there with you!" - Visit with the Nobel Peace Prize winner
The Gorbachev Foundation, a sweeping three-story new building from the noughties, is located on Leningradsky Prospekt, one of Moscow's major arterial roads, from the Belorussian Railway Station northwest, almost to Sheremetyevo Airport. As in any metropolis, the traffic there is heavy in both directions day and night, and at rush hour there are traffic jams that go on forever. Ironically, the building is flanked by two new buildings that would certainly not exist without the historic upheaval initiated by Gorbachev: to the left, a high-rise building of the Mercedes-Benz agency in Moscow, and to the right, a training center of the Russian Internet provider Yandex with a Starbucks café on the first floor.
I had prepared well for the meeting and had brought our most important texts on the "Broad Coalition of Reason" in Russian. But already in the car on the way to Leningradsky Prospekt, my throat almost tightened with excitement. I trotted dutifully after Ruslan Grinberg, who moved confidently through the foundation building, we rode in the elevator to the third floor, everywhere on the corridor walls photos of Mikhail Sergeyevich with politicians from all over the world or together with his wife, headed for an open door that led into a large room - and there he sat at his desk at the other end, a burgundy polo shirt under his jacket, in the background the large painting with the portrait of his beloved Raissa. We went up to him, shook his hand, Ruslan and I sat down on either side of an adjacent table opposite him - and for the first quarter of an hour I sat in front of him like a first-grader who didn't even dare to sip the cup of tea his secretary had brought me. At least it was comforting that even Ruslan Grinberg next to me didn't seem to feel much different!
The first thing I got out was what I had always wanted to say to him: "Mikhail Sergeyevich, I would like to thank you. No man has done so much good for mankind in the last century as you have! I am thinking, above all, of nuclear disarmament." Whereupon he held out his hand to me across the desk, congratulated me on this earth-shattering realization, and jovially said, "I'm right there with you!"
Arrogant? Conceited? - No.
He was right! Just as embarrassing as the delusions of grandeur of the small would be a 'delusion of smallness' of the really big.
How the Cold War ended
It was as if I had given him the agreed cue with my thanks. He immediately began to tell it. It was the story of his struggle for nuclear disarmament and the ending of the Cold War. Gorbachev began with Eisenhower's warning about the military-industrial complex - and only weeks later did it dawn on me: This was not just some commonplace phrase, but the speech of an elder statesman who knew very well from experience what a powerful opponent he was up against on both sides of the Iron Curtain: an opponent who, like the ancient Hydra, grows two new heads for every one that is cut off, and who is far from being defeated! Gorbachev explained that he and Ronald Reagan had succeeded in nuclear disarmament because both he and Reagan had known what a nuclear war would mean. (And I confess: With respect to Ronald Reagan this was new to me in this sharpness!)
For the first time, he said, he became aware of the enormous destructive power of the atomic bomb when, during his time as regional secretary of Stavropol, a qualified man traveled from Moscow and showed a small circle of local officials a film with original footage of the consequences of an atomic bomb explosion: the now familiar scenes of lightning, houses and trees literally blown away by the shock wave. Afterwards, they all went home completely exhausted.
Gorbachev reported on the summit meetings between him and Reagan. First, in November 1985 in Geneva, when Reagan was the first to beat all the crimes of communism around his ears, until he himself countered with the question: "And who used the atomic bombs in Japan? Nevertheless, the two managed to reach a first groundbreaking agreement with their joint declaration that a nuclear war could never be won and therefore should never be started, and that neither side should seek superiority. Then there was the crisis and the lull in negotiations thereafter until he, Gorbachev, vigorously pushed for a quick further summit, which took place in Reykjavik, Iceland, in October 1986. And how his proposed worldwide halving of all nuclear warheads, indeed the abolition of nuclear weapons altogether, ultimately failed because of Reagan's rigid stance on SDI (Strategic Defensive Initiative). And how Gorbachev - he sometimes speaks of himself in the third person - saved the day by publicly reinterpreting the failure as a breakthrough, thus preparing the ground for the conclusion of the INF Treaty in December 1987. All the way to the walk with Ronald Reagan across Red Square in June 1988, where, in response to questions from journalists, he described his earlier remark that the Soviet Union was the "evil empire" as out of date. And he indicated his disappointment that the United States had not kept its agreements after the end of the Cold War.
I was torn as I listened. As a journalist, I would have been happy to have so much first-hand background information on ending the Cold War. But I wanted more. I wanted to win Gorbachev over to our "Broad Coalition of Reason" to prevent a new Cold War. Again and again, when Ruslan Grinberg had just translated a passage of Gorbachev's, I took a breath, wanted to interject and say, in essence: "That is precisely why it is so important that we now -" But he was already continuing!
Gorbachev was lecturing.
With the habitus of a man who is used to having people hanging on his every word.
I did not intervene.
At some point I gave up.
I was afraid of spoiling the mood.
Yet he obviously enjoyed telling everything in detail. The meeting didn't seem to be a compulsory exercise for him. He was not arrogant. Neither was he in a hurry, nor did he convey to me that it was a great grace just to have a private audience with him. He was friendly, approachable, present, addressed me by my first name, asked me about my age and profession, and carefully leafed through my book on fear and nuclear armament, which I had written for the West German peace movement in the early 1980s. He spent a particularly long time on two maps in the appendix, on which the exact locations of the nuclear warheads stored at that time in the Federal Republic and the GDR were marked.
And then, towards the end of our meeting, something like a conversation took place. I told Gorbachev about our initiative and handed him my texts. He immediately pounced on our "STOP!!!" appeal, quickly skimmed the text with the gesture that immediately captures the essence, began to scribble around in it, and spontaneously drew a thick line through a passage. Later, I took a closer look: It was - hardly a coincidence! - the passage "25 years after the end of the Cold War, a new 'Berlin Wall' is being built further east."
At the end he referred to his age and illnesses, but said that soon it would be spring and warmer - and then he would very much like to come back to Germany. Russian-German relations were particularly important to him. The farewell was very friendly.
I had spent a total of 75 minutes with Gorbachev. And, as Ruslan Grinberg assured me afterwards, I had obviously had a good day with him! Of the dreamed support of our "Broad Coalition of Reason" by Gorbachev we have heard nothing more - but nevertheless ...
In terms of content, at any rate, he has always expressed himself almost in unison in his essays and public statements.
The second visit
On August 20, 2019, I had the opportunity to visit Gorbachev a second time. Again together with Ruslan Grinberg, but this time accompanied by another unusual man. Karl Schumacher, a successful medium-sized businessman from the Ruhr region of Germany, who over the years had done an infinite amount on his own initiative for another world savior: Stanislav Petrov, a lieutenant colonel in the Red Army, who, when in the fall of 1983 the sirens blared in the Soviet missile defense center near Moscow, reporting the approach of American intercontinental ballistic missiles five times in a row - as it turned out only later, a false alarm - had kept his nerve and by acting prudently had very probably prevented World War III.
And it was quite different once again.
Gorbachev, mentally fully there, but physically weakened. This time we did not sit in front of him, but in another room next to him, gathered around a table. He was touchingly friendly, even more approachable, and at the same time seemed much more thin-skinned than the first time. We talked about the security situation after the end of the INF Treaty.
As we parted, I squeezed both his hands and asked him with a wink, "Пожалуйста, спасите мир еще второй раз!" (Please save the world a second time!)
For a renaissance of new thinking
At the age of 88 and already in failing health, Mikhail Gorbachev published his last book, "What's at Stake Now - My Call for Peace and Freedom" - right on time for the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall - and even then it read like his political legacy. (It was largely ignored in the leading German media).
Here he takes another big swing. Using the example of the militarization of world politics, ecology, and the process of globalization with its consequences in all areas of life, he shows how current his New Thinking is in the third millennium. And how necessary this has to be followed by a new action on all levels. After all, nothing less than the (survival) of mankind in the 21st century is at stake.
Gorbachev goes all out. Again and again, one gets the impression that it is not an elder statesman who is speaking here, but the Secretary General of the United Nations: "We are ONE humanity! We all live on ONE planet!" His approach is as easily formulated as it is difficult to implement.
On August 30, Mikhail Gorbachev passed away. The fact that he had to watch helplessly at the end of his life how the political heritage of his New Thought was wilfully driven to the wall is the worst tragedy, the greatest humiliation, but also the greatest disgrace for the present political actors in the West as well as in Russia that is conceivable at all.
All the greater is the challenge to his political heirs, i.e. to all people who are not prepared to accept the current spiral of escalation without taking action. In the 1980s, Mikhail Gorbachev demonstrated how it is still possible to get out of an almost hopeless and dangerous impasse - if there is an unconditional will to do so. The intellectual tools for this, the New Thinking he helped to develop, have never been as valuable as they are today!
Now it is up to us to be good heirs.
Peter Langhammer, Lindberg
on 1.09.2022 at 12:28 pm
I too thank Mikhail Gorbachev for making it possible for me and a whole generation of people in many affected countries to live in peace and freedom and the hope of a good future for us and our descendants on this earth - and thank likewise all those involved at that time who embarked on this path.
After my childhood and youth at the "Iron Curtain", where our world ended, this was truly a turning point.
My greatest respect!
It was a gift, an opportunity, such a favorable meeting of important people and factors at the right time, which we all perhaps did not appreciate enough and in any case did not guard and defend with sufficient care.
I also thank Mr. Ensel for this moving review and his commitment and join his call to be good heirs of this thinking and feeling for peace and freedom and good relations between ALL peoples - actively and with all my heart!
Paul Schön, Vienna
on 1.09.2022 at 1:06 pm
And I would like to thank Leo Ensel for his always well written and informative articles that reveal an emotional closeness to the people described. Gorbachev comes across here as a sympathetic poser who is probably under no illusions. From today's perspective, he has done more than many others. He showed up the leadership of the GDR as vassals of the USSR and made it clear to them that the fate of the world is decided in Moscow and not in East Berlin. They stuck to it, even if Egon Krenz still resents it today and can't get out of writing apologetic books. Gorbi made good use of his power and his little time at the top. An honorable transition of the Soviet system into a prosperous democracy would not have been possible even for greater geniuses of power and leadership; the problems were too enormous. After all, the big stealing, cheating and selling out began only under Yeltsin.
Hanspeter Gysin, Basel
on 09/1/2022 at 1:27 pm
Gorbachev's merits, especially around the nuclear partial disarmament, in honor, but the man has addressed all his life primarily to those in power. Never to the working class, never to the progressive trade unions, never to movements working under self-determined effort for a better, social, truly democratic world. I don't remember him calling even once for the dissolution of NATO, which would have been a prerequisite to end the cold wars. On the contrary, he has allowed himself to be bamboozled by it. With the best will in the world, the bottom line is that he lost.
Peter Langhammer, Lindberg
on 2.09.2022 at 09:45 hrs.
Which governing politicians in Germany, in Europe, in the West today seriously address "the class of working people, ... the progressive trade unions, ... movements that are working under self-determined effort for a better, social, truly democratic world"?
Who of you today demands the dissolution of NATO?
And what is achieved by them in important questions of (super)life on our earth? Wars, colonization, hunger, poverty, more and more blatant social inequality, land theft, climate change, extinction of species ...
Even if at that time certainly some things could have been solved theoretically still much better, by the turn of the times initiated by Gorbachev at that time the world was given a chance which looks for her equals until today!
Wasted was this chance imho in all the time afterwards ...
Jürg Zingg, Bern
on 1.09.2022 at 13:27 o'clock
Unfortunately, just again the work of Mikhail Gorbachev shows that evil too often triumphs over good. And too few people of his stature try to improve the world.
Michel Mortier, Zug
on 9/1/2022 at 7:04 pm
We owe it to people like Stanislav Petrov and Mikhail Gorbachev that Europe did not become a nuclear debris field. That they were Russians is beside the point.
Where are such people today, who prove again that man is guided by reason and solidarity, and not by lust for power?
Jürg Brechbühl, Aeschau
on 1.09.2022 at 7:05 pm
From the "coalition of reason" then nothing has become. Probably we think too much of "reason" here in the West.
Gorbachev actually did a lot for world peace. Nevertheless, one must clearly see that he was a Soviet and a part of the apparatus. He was simply realist enough to realize that the Eastern bloc was economically down and needed a way out.
Unfortunately, the Putain then abused the new freedoms to enrich himself and his cronies not only massively, but to subjugate and systamtically plunder his country. It is not about a new "Iron Curtain" but about a small clique of crooks plundering Russia.
I have just read Anders Alsund (2019): Russia's Crony Capitalism read.
Peter Langhammer, Lindberg
on 09/2/2022 at 09:25 AM
We humans seem to have a hard time with freedoms and their responsible use.
What would have been a realistically implementable, better alternative for Gorbachev?
To what extent individuals have plundered Russia in the last decades I cannot judge, that it is so is probably undisputed. But wasn't the foundation for this laid primarily in the Yeltsin era, when U.S. influence in Russia was at its greatest?
The western oligarchy plunders not only its own countries, but the whole earth - for 5 centuries: human beings, all other life and all resources, what remains (in the truest sense of the word in view of climate change) is scorched earth, peoples traumatized by colonization and wars, a collapse of living diversity and life systems.
So let everyone first sweep in front of his own door ...
Hans L. Schmid, Herrenschwanden
on 3.09.2022 at 6:20 pm
Thank you very much, Mr. Ensel, for your exciting report!
Right now leaders like Michael Gorbachev are needed in the East as well as in the West to end the war, by millions of citizens all over Europe forcing their leaders on http://www.our-new-europe.eu to stand up "with unconditional will":
-Nationally: for democracy, freedom and human rights - with glasnost and perestroika;
-International: for an end of war - by disarmament instead of rearmament, negotiations instead of destruction and humiliation of the enemy, and for a "common European house" in which all European countries successfully cooperate - also Russia, Belarus and a neutral Ukraine as a bridge between East and West!
Indeed, "Now it is up to us to be good heirs" - to end the war and to create peace, freedom and democracy in Europe!
Does the DRF, "Мир Перемен", the "Broad Coalition of Reason" and the "STOP Appeal" exist? - Could "Our New Europe" participate in it?
Peter Langhammer, Lindberg
on 3.09.2022 at 8:22 p.m.
I would like to mention, for the sake of completeness, a completely different view of M. Gorbachev, as formulated for example in R. Lauterbach's obituary in Junge Welt and the accompanying comments: https://www.jungewelt.de/artikel/434016.nachruf-der-verschlimmbesserer.html
I appreciate R. Lauterbach's articles very much for the most part. But even if the aspects mentioned in his obituary may be "objectively" true, I find it disappointing how much there and even more in the commentaries Gorbachev's work and the resulting historical opportunity are reduced to the competition of two systems and Gorbachev is judged very negatively.
In such a tense situation as it was then - and is today! - it probably needs readiness for openness and trust (naivety?), also for giving, to reach big goals like peace. The crass developments in the time after should be blamed on those who are actually responsible for them.