September 08, 2022

A Rain Check for Respect


A Rain Check for Respect
Gorbachev at his wife Raisa's funeral, 1999. Wikimedia Commons, RIA Novosti

On September 1, a few days after the passing of Mikhail Gorbachev, the Soviet Union's final leader, Putin visited the hospital where Gorbachev lay in an open casket. Putin placed red roses next to the casket, gave a few moments of silence, crossed himself, bowed, and walked away.

Fifteen hours after Gorbachev had passed away, Putin released a statement expressing his condolences. He reminded the world that Gorbachev was a leader who had a "huge impact on the course of world history" and "deeply understood that reforms were necessary" when facing the Soviet Union's many problems. But even with these kind statements, it can not be forgotten that Putin believes the dissolution of the Soviet Union was the single greatest geopolitical disaster to take place in the 20th century, and that Gorbachev was the man that precipitated the USSR's downfall.

Mikhail Gorbachev's funeral was scheduled for September 3, and while many who loved him were in attendance and the state played a part in the proceedings, Russia's president was unable to attend due to scheduling conflicts.

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