Obituary — Last Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev dies aged 91 [Just a joke…]

A worker standing in a liquor line says, ‘I have had enough, save my place, I am going to shoot Gorbachev.’ Two hours later he returns to claim his place in line.

His friends ask, ‘Did you get him?’ No, the line there was even longer than the line here.

August 31 2022 — Gorbachev died at a hospital in Moscow on Tuesday aged 91. World leaders were quick to pay tribute to Mikhail Gorbachev, the Soviet leader who oversaw the collapse of the USSR. Follow us on Twitter: @INTEL_TODAY

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“Mrs Thatcher was always attracted by the ‘roguish twinkle’ which was never far from Mr Gorbachev’s eye.”

Tony Bishop — FCO Research Analyst and Principal Conference Interpreter

Tributes have been paid worldwide, with UN chief António Guterres saying he “changed the course of history”. [France 24 : World leaders pay tribute to Gorbachev, ex-Soviet leader who helped end the Cold War]

“Mikhail Gorbachev was a one-of-a kind statesman,” UN Secretary General Mr Guterres wrote in a Twitter tribute. “The world has lost a towering global leader, committed multilateralist, and tireless advocate for peace.”

Gorbachev is indeed loved and celebrated in Brussels, Paris, London and Washington. But, most Russians have a less positive reaction to their late president’s legacy.

“Everything they told us about Communism was false. Everything they told us about Capitalism was true.”

The simple truth is that Mikhail Gorbachev is reviled by the vast majority of Russians. As a Russian friend told me in the early 90’s: “Gorbachev has been a great president. He simply forgot whose people he was the president.”

Perhaps a popular joke will best explain how Russian people remember their leaders.

A train bearing Lenin, Stalin, Khrushchev, Brezhnev and Gorbachev stops suddenly when the tracks run out. Each leader applies his own, unique solution.

Lenin gathers workers and peasants from miles around and exhorts them to build more track.

Stalin shoots the train crew when the train still doesn’t move.

Khrushchev rehabilitates the dead crew and orders the tracks behind the train ripped up and relaid in front.

Brezhnev pulls down the curtains and rocks back and forth, pretending the train is moving.

And Gorbachev calls a rally in front of the locomotive, where he leads a chant: “No tracks! No tracks! No tracks!”

Sure enough… My European and American friends will argue that Gorbachev brought all these Western values which are at the core of their civilization.

Liberal economist Ruslan Grinberg was one of the last person to visit Gorbachev in hospital. “He gave us all freedom – but we don’t know what to do with it,” Grinberg said.

“Gorbachev’s policy in Eastern Europe is being overrun by events.”

Sir Rodric Braithwaite — British Ambassador in Moscow (1989)

REFERENCES

Mikhail Gorbachev: a divisive figure loved abroad but loathed at home — The Guardian

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Obituary — Last Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev dies aged 91 [Just a joke…]

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