Mikhail Gorbachev's death: world leaders pay tribute to a man of peace who changed the course of history

Sylvie Claire / August 31, 2022

The death Tuesday night at 91 of Mikhail Gorbachev, the last leader of the USSR, has prompted vibrant tributes in the West, where his crucial role in ending the Cold War and his fight for peace have been hailed, taking on special significance six months after the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The emotion of the Western reactions contrasts with the sobriety of Russian President Vladimir Putin who expressed his deep condolences and who will send (Wednesday) morning a telegram of condolences to the family and relatives of the former leader, according to the Kremlin spokesman.
In a statement, U.S. President Joe Biden praised Mikhail Gorbachev as a rare leader. His actions were those of a leader with enough imagination to see that another future was possible and the courage to risk his entire career to achieve it. The result was a safer world and more freedom for millions of people, Biden said.
History will remember Mikhail Gorbachev as a giant who guided his great nation toward democracy, said former Secretary of State James Baker, who led U.S. diplomacy from 1989 to 1992.
For UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, the world has lost an immense world leader, committed to multilateralism, and a tireless defender of peace.
The UN chief hailed, in a statement, a unique statesman who changed the course of history and did more than anyone else to bring about a peaceful end to the Cold War.
I have always admired his courage and integrity in ending the Cold War, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson also said in a tweet. At a time of (Vladimir) Putin's aggression in Ukraine, his tireless commitment to opening up Soviet society remains an example to us all, he insisted.
For Emmanuel Macron, Mikhail Gorbachev was a man of peace whose choices have opened a path of freedom for Russians. His commitment to peace in Europe has changed our common history, said the French president in a tweet.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen praised on Twitter a trustworthy and respected leader who played a crucial role in ending the Cold War and bringing down the Iron Curtain. He paved the way for a free Europe, she said.
For former Colombian president and 2016 Nobel Peace Prize winner Juan Manuel Santos, Mikhail Gorbachev --who himself received the Nobel in 1990-- was a champion of peace. The world needs many more leaders like him, he wrote in a tweet.
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