RIP, Mikhail Gorbachev

 

I have had a soft spot for Gorbachev ever since the occasion — probably after the last Reykjavik meeting — when the elderly Reagan was startled by the press lights flashing, and Gorbachev very graciously took our President by the elbow and led him away from the crowd.

It was a touching sign of respect, particularly after Reagan had crushed Gorbachev in negotiations and effectively brought on the end of the Soviet Union.

RIP

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  1. Vance Richards Member
    Vance Richards
    @VanceRichards

    For you younger kids, he was the guy from the Pizza Hut commercial (viva capitalism)

    • #1
  2. Gary Robbins Member
    Gary Robbins
    @GaryRobbins

    Damn.  Rest in Peace.

    • #2
  3. Kozak Member
    Kozak
    @Kozak

    Worlds greatest magician.

    Made the entire USSR disappear.

    Actually, the credit should go to the Holy Trinity.

    Pope JP 2 Thatcher and Reagan.

    • #3
  4. MWD B612 "Dawg" Member
    MWD B612 "Dawg"
    @danok1

    Kozak (View Comment):

    Worlds greatest magician.

    Made the entire USSR disappear.

    Actually, the credit should go to the Holy Trinity.

    Pope JP 2 Thatcher and Reagan.

    Let us not forget Lech Walesa and Solidarność.

    • #4
  5. Gary Robbins Member
    Gary Robbins
    @GaryRobbins

    I wholeheartedly agree with the trio of Reagan, Thatcher and John Paul the Second, as well as the Polish People.

    I would like to give an Honorable Mention to George H.W. Bush.  When the Berlin Wall fell, he communicated throughout the federal government that it was essential that America not dance a victory dance in any way, shape or form.  There is a time for modesty and not rubbing your victory in your opponent’s face.  Bush called it right.  Reagan won the Cold War, and Bush handled it with grace and modesty.

    • #5
  6. Kozak Member
    Kozak
    @Kozak

    MWD B612 "Dawg" (View Comment):

    Kozak (View Comment):

    Worlds greatest magician.

    Made the entire USSR disappear.

    Actually, the credit should go to the Holy Trinity.

    Pope JP 2 Thatcher and Reagan.

    Let us not forget Lech Walesa and Solidarność.

    And an assist from the Saudi King who helped bankrupt the USSR by running the pumps at warp speed.

    • #6
  7. Justin Other Lawyer Coolidge
    Justin Other Lawyer
    @DouglasMyers

    Vance Richards (View Comment):

    For you younger kids, he was the guy from the Pizza Hut commercial (viva capitalism)

    He was better in the movies

    • #7
  8. Kozak Member
    Kozak
    @Kozak

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    I wholeheartedly agree with the trio of Reagan, Thatcher and John Paul the Second, as well as the Polish People.

    I would like to give an Honorable Mention to George H.W. Bush. When the Berlin Wall fell, he communicated throughout the federal government that it was essential that America not dance a victory dance in any way, shape or form. There is a time for modesty and not rubbing your victory in your opponent’s face. Bush called it right. Reagan won the Cold War, and Bush handled it with grace and modesty.

    Uh. He gave the “Chicken Kyiv” speech that was very poorly received in much of the former USSR.

     George H. W. Bush

    The Chicken Kiev speech is the nickname for a speech given by the United States president George H. W. Bush in Kiev, Ukraine, on August 1, 1991, three weeks before the Declaration of Independence of Ukraine and four months before the December independence referendum in which 92.26% of Ukrainians voted to withdraw from the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union collapsed 145 days after the speech, partially pushed by Ukraine. The address, in which Bush cautioned against “suicidal nationalism”,[1] was written by Condoleezza Rice—later Secretary of State under President George W. Bush—when she was in charge of Soviet and Eastern European affairs for the first President Bush.[2] It outraged Ukrainian nationalistsand American conservatives, with the conservative New York Times columnist William Safire calling it the “Chicken Kiev speech”, named after a dish of stuffed chicken breast, in protest at what he saw as its “colossal misjudgment” for the very weak tone and miscalculation.[3]

     

    • #8
  9. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    RIP Gorbachev – unmourned (perhaps unfairly) by your own people.

    • #9
  10. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    I wholeheartedly agree with the trio of Reagan, Thatcher and John Paul the Second, as well as the Polish People.

    I would like to give an Honorable Mention to George H.W. Bush. When the Berlin Wall fell, he communicated throughout the federal government that it was essential that America not dance a victory dance in any way, shape or form. There is a time for modesty and not rubbing your victory in your opponent’s face. Bush called it right. Reagan won the Cold War, and Bush handled it with grace and modesty.

    Now is not the time to go wobbly, George. 

    • #10
  11. Not a Gubmint Spy Member
    Not a Gubmint Spy
    @OldDanRhody

    I didn’t even know he was sick.

    • #11
  12. kedavis Inactive
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Not a Gubmint Spy (View Comment):

    I didn’t even know he was sick.

    Was this another time when Russian radio just suddenly started playing sad music?

    • #12
  13. Vance Richards Member
    Vance Richards
    @VanceRichards

    Justin Other Lawyer (View Comment):

    Vance Richards (View Comment):

    For you younger kids, he was the guy from the Pizza Hut commercial (viva capitalism)

    He was better in the movies.

    And when Gorby clapped for Rocky after he beat Drago, that was the beginning of the end for the Cold War.

    • #13
  14. David Foster Member
    David Foster
    @DavidFoster

    He could have elected for the Soviet Union to go out in a wave of blood and glory, like Imperial Germany, Nazi Germany, and Imperial Japan, but chose a better way.

    That should be remembered.

    • #14
  15. RushBabe49 Thatcher
    RushBabe49
    @RushBabe49

    Pardon me if I don’t mourn, right about now.

    • #15
  16. James Lileks Contributor
    James Lileks
    @jameslileks

    I remember when he came to Minnesota. Big PR push, favorable treatment. People ran after his car like he had the reunited Beatles stuffed in the trunk. Never did get close, which I regret. A consequential man who will be remembered, perhaps, for what he did, yes – glasnost and perestroika and all that, the intention of which was to build a better Communist state – but also remembered for what he did not do. There may, at some point, been men waiting for the orders to shoot. The order never came.

    • #16
  17. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    I thought I invented the term “Gorby Groupies” to refer to our media but maybe it was invented simultaneously by others.  I soon developed a much higher opinion of Gorbachev than when I came up with that phrase, but not of the groupies.  

    • #17
  18. kedavis Inactive
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    I thought I invented the term “Gorby Groupies” to refer to our media but maybe it was invented simultaneously by others. I soon developed a much higher opinion of Gorbachev than when I came up with that phrase, but not of the groupies.

    I never thought about it before, but “Gorbyfans” sounds better to me.

    “Gorbylytes?”

    “Gorbregation?”

    • #18
  19. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    kedavis (View Comment):

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    I thought I invented the term “Gorby Groupies” to refer to our media but maybe it was invented simultaneously by others. I soon developed a much higher opinion of Gorbachev than when I came up with that phrase, but not of the groupies.

    I never thought about it before, but “Gorbyfans” sounds better to me.

    “Gorbylytes?”

    “Gorbregation?”

    Gorbyniks

    • #19
  20. kedavis Inactive
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Zafar (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    I thought I invented the term “Gorby Groupies” to refer to our media but maybe it was invented simultaneously by others. I soon developed a much higher opinion of Gorbachev than when I came up with that phrase, but not of the groupies.

    I never thought about it before, but “Gorbyfans” sounds better to me.

    “Gorbylytes?”

    “Gorbregation?”

    Gorbyniks

    I’m thinking there’s the perfect option in there somewhere, I just haven’t found it yet.

    But I remember talk of people having “Gorbasms.”

    • #20
  21. BDB Coolidge
    BDB
    @BDB

    Not a Gubmint Spy (View Comment):

    I didn’t even know he was sick.

    Beyond a certain age, I figure, it’s not unexpected.  I expect that he was beyond that age, especially for a FUSSR type.

    • #21
  22. BDB Coolidge
    BDB
    @BDB

    I disagreed with many of his later (supposed) pronouncements, but with him being the man in the arena at the time, I thought him to be a decent man in an indecent milieu.

    Some day, I’ll tell you about an unclassified anecdote from a classified briefing.  You know — back in the day.  Not that it has anything to do *really* with Gorby — just as a sign of the times, which had a lot to do with Gorby.

    • #22
  23. GlennAmurgis Coolidge
    GlennAmurgis
    @GlennAmurgis

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    I thought I invented the term “Gorby Groupies” to refer to our media but maybe it was invented simultaneously by others. I soon developed a much higher opinion of Gorbachev than when I came up with that phrase, but not of the groupies.

    Corporate media would rather give Grobachev credit than admit they were wrong about Reagan. 

    • #23
  24. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat
    @FrontSeatCat

    I learned more about Gorbachev in Claire Berlinski’s excellent biography of Margaret Thatcher than anywhere else. They all respected each other and it sounded like he welcomed change.  

    • #24
  25. Doctor Robert Member
    Doctor Robert
    @DoctorRobert

    GlennAmurgis (View Comment):

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    I thought I invented the term “Gorby Groupies” to refer to our media but maybe it was invented simultaneously by others. I soon developed a much higher opinion of Gorbachev than when I came up with that phrase, but not of the groupies.

    Corporate media would rather give Grobachev credit than admit they were wrong about Reagan.

    That’s what I remember, too.  in the 1990s Gorby got all the accolades for the downfall of Soviet Communism.  Mrs Thatcher, His Holiness and Ronaldo Magnus were viewed as bit players.  This utterly mis-states history.

    • #25
  26. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Kozak (View Comment):

    Worlds greatest magician.

    Made the entire USSR disappear.

    Actually, the credit should go to the Holy Trinity.

    Pope JP 2 Thatcher and Reagan.

    The MSM is already heaping most of the praise on Gorby.  The “Gorbasm” still exists . . .

    • #26
  27. James Hageman Coolidge
    James Hageman
    @JamesHageman

    kedavis (View Comment):

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    I thought I invented the term “Gorby Groupies” to refer to our media but maybe it was invented simultaneously by others. I soon developed a much higher opinion of Gorbachev than when I came up with that phrase, but not of the groupies.

    I never thought about it before, but “Gorbyfans” sounds better to me.

    “Gorbylytes?”

    “Gorbregation?”

    Remember Rush’s “Gorbasm”?

    • #27
  28. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    kedavis (View Comment):

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    I thought I invented the term “Gorby Groupies” to refer to our media but maybe it was invented simultaneously by others. I soon developed a much higher opinion of Gorbachev than when I came up with that phrase, but not of the groupies.

    I never thought about it before, but “Gorbyfans” sounds better to me.

    “Gorbylytes?”

    “Gorbregation?”

    Gorby Groupies has gone down in history without anyone acknowledging it as my contribution.

    • #28
  29. Old Bathos Moderator
    Old Bathos
    @OldBathos

    Gorbachev presaged the Davos Man.  He wanted to create prosperous, innovative productivity but all entirely contained inside a bubble controlled by an external elite and with limited entre for the masses.  He and Raisa could wear designer clothes, enjoy Western goodies available at the stores for party members but still keep absolute control.  The Party would evolve to be comprised of enlightened types like him but still with enough hard men in the shadows to prevent threats to power.

    But he did not think it through.  Because it would conflict with his new image to send tanks into Poland to crush Solidarnosc it got out of hand and that Polish pope was a wild card.    

    The freedoms necessary to expand production of consumer goods just would not stay in the bubble. 

    It is possible that the whole mess would have collapsed anyway but Gorbachev’s image ambitions and aversion to old-style (overt) Soviet repression perhaps allowed the collapse to be less violent and not a matter of the masses overcoming tanks and bullets.

    • #29
  30. Kozak Member
    Kozak
    @Kozak

    Old Bathos (View Comment):

      He and Raisa could wear designer clothes, enjoy Western goodies available at the stores for party members but still keep absolute control.  The Party would evolve to be comprised of enlightened types like him but still with enough hard men in the shadows to prevent threats to power.

     

    You just described Communist China that  actually pulled it off.

    • #30
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