Remember Gorby? I sure do, but I can’t remember the last time I actually thought about him. He’s in the news:
He said that Sunday’s referendum showed that “people really wanted to return to Russia” and was a “happy event.”
Gorbachev added that the Crimean referendum has set an example for people in Russian-speaking in eastern Ukraine, who also should decide their fate.
Gorbachev, who resigned as the Soviet president on Christmas Day 1991, has voiced regret that he was unable to stem the Soviet Union’s collapse. He has criticized President Vladimir Putin’s authoritarian policy, but said Tuesday that he supports his course in the Ukrainian crisis.
Gorbachev’s problem is that he loosened up the old USSR enough for it to unravel, but was never able to figure out a new structure around which it could adhere. Also, nationalism became a rising force during the 20th Century, due in no small part to funding and weapons provided by Moscow. Modern terrorism is also the offspring of communism, but that’s a story for another day.
Am I surprised that the man who wouldn’t send in the tanks against East German and Czech protestors is happy his successor has sent in the Spetsnaz to Crimea? Not at all. Gorby was — and remains — a Soviet nationalist, if that isn’t a contradiction in terms. So is Putin. One couldn’t hold his empire together, but the other has figured out a way to put parts of Humpty Dumpty back together again.
ASIDE: Is it just me, or is Gorby looking more like Khrushchev as he gets older and fatter?