Politicians from Germany and the world have the Russian Nobel Peace Prize winner and former Soviet head of state Mikhail Gorbachev short honored after his death became known. Without Gorbachev, “the peaceful revolutions in the countries of the Eastern Bloc would not have been conceivable here,” wrote Bundestag Vice President Katrin Göring-Eckardt (Greens) on Tuesday evening on Twitter. “His words have encouraged us, made me strong.”
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Germany owes a lot to Gorbachev, Federal Education Minister Bettina Stark-Watzinger (FDP) also wrote on Twitter. “He ushered in the end of the Cold War, enabled Germany’s reunification and gave his country democratic momentum. A brave man of conviction whose voice will be missed.”
Federal Agriculture Minister Cem Özdemir (Greens) made a similar statement, adding: “His death depresses. Even more so at this time. Thanks & #RIP“.
The CDU chairman Friedrich Merz declared: “Without Mikhail Gorbachev, German unity in freedom would not have been possible. The CDU mourns the loss of a statesman whom Germany could trust and who trusted us.”
Green politician Jürgen Trittin tweeted: “I bow to a great politician of peace Michael #Gorbachev RIP”. Gorbachev died in Moscow on Tuesday evening at the age of 91.
Alexander Lambsdorff, deputy chairman of the FDP in the Bundestag, tweeted with regard to the current war in Ukraine: “We Germans owe you so much. I’m sure your compatriots will also realize from a distance that you were a true statesman, a man of peace.”
EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has highlighted the importance of the former Soviet head of state Mikhail Gorbachev for Europe. “He played a crucial role in ending the Cold War and the fall of the Iron Curtain,” von der Leyen wrote on Twitter Tuesday night.
She described Gorbachev as a leader who was reliable and respected. “He paved the way for a free Europe. We will never forget this legacy.” Gorbachev died in Moscow on Tuesday evening at the age of 91.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson paid tribute to the legacy of the late Russian Nobel Peace Prize winner and former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. “I have always admired the courage and integrity he showed in bringing the Cold War to a peaceful end,” Johnson wrote on Twitter late Tuesday night.
He also confronted Gorbachev with Russian President Vladimir Putin. “At a time of Putin’s aggression in Ukraine, his relentless commitment to opening up Soviet society remains an example to all of us,” Johnson wrote. Gorbachev died on Tuesday at the age of 91.
According to a spokesman, Russian President Vladimir Putin also expressed his deepest sympathy for the death of Mikhail Gorbachev. Putin will send the family a telegram on Wednesday morning, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov announced on Tuesday evening in Moscow.
“He did more than anyone to bring the Cold War to a peaceful end,” said UN Secretary-General Antonion Guterres.
Mikhail Fedotov, who was the human rights adviser to the Russian president from 2010 to 2019 and who, as press minister, co-authored Russia’s then-liberal media law in 1992, said the following: “Gorbachev restored Russia to the course of civilized development – and the world from nuclear war and the division into different blocs moved away.”
Gorbachev became general secretary of the Communist Party in 1985 at the age of 54. He set about reforming the system through political and economic freedoms. His “glasnost” policy of transparency not only allowed criticism of the party and the state. She encouraged nationalists who called for independence for the Baltic states, for example. Many Russians did not forgive him for the dislocations unleashed by his reforms.
When pro-democracy demonstrations swept the Eastern bloc in 1989, Gorbachev refrained from using violence. The Nobel Peace Prize winner is considered one of the fathers of German reunification. (dpa, Reuters)