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Business News/ News / World/  It’s complicated: Relationship status of Mikhail Gorbachev and Vladimir Putin

It’s complicated: Relationship status of Mikhail Gorbachev and Vladimir Putin

Nobel Peace Prize winner Mikhail Gorbachev, the last Soviet president, died at the age of 91.

Mikhail Gorbachev and Vladimir Putin (MINT/Sounak Mukhopadhyay)Premium
Mikhail Gorbachev and Vladimir Putin (MINT/Sounak Mukhopadhyay)

American political scientist Ian Bremmer tweeted an old photo of Mikhail Gorbachev and Vladimir Putin. As Putin stands behind the former president of the Soviet Union who passed away on August 31, Bremmer commented: “sometimes your worst nightmare is right behind you".

Vladimir Putin (L) and Mikhail Gorbachev (R)
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Vladimir Putin (L) and Mikhail Gorbachev (R) (Twitter/@ianbremmer)

Gorbachev, whom liberals regard as a monumental leader, had a complicated relationship with Putin, a highly-popular leader in his country. As a Putin fanboy puts it on Twitter, Russia’s present president is currently “saving the globe from a sick and twisted Liberal Order, and preventing Ukraine from butchering anymore of their own citizens in the Eastern part of the country".

Also Read: Vladimir Putin to give financial benefits to Ukrainians coming to Russia

Gorbachev was more about negotiations and less about throwing missiles. He issued a statement when Russia controversially invaded Ukraine.

“There is nothing more precious in the world than human lives. Negotiations and dialogue on the basis of mutual respect and recognition of interests are the only possible way to resolve the most acute contradictions and problems," Gorbachev said.

Mikhail Gorbachev, unlike Vladimir Putin, was more about negotiations and less about throwing missiles.
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Mikhail Gorbachev, unlike Vladimir Putin, was more about negotiations and less about throwing missiles. (Twitter/@HistoryFoto)

Gorbachev initially commended Putin for strengthening the Russian state following the anarchy under Boris Yeltsin, but he quickly became concerned.

“It’s perhaps understandable that during the initial phase he used certain authoritarian methods in his leadership, but using authoritarian methods as a policy for the future – that I think is wrong. I think that’s a mistake," he said in 2011.

Also Read: Putin boasts of Russian weapons prowess, says Moscow ready to share with allies

In 2016, he was more open about his criticism of Putin. In an article published in the TIME magazine, he called Putin’s policies “an obstacle to progress". He censured Putin’s decision to run for president for the third time and accused him of “creating an illusion of stability and prosperity".

Outgoing UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson made an unfavourable comparison between Putin and Gorbachev while praising the latter’s role in ending the Cold War.

Also Read: Is Putin pushing Europe towards a recession?

“In a time of Putin’s aggression in Ukraine, (Gorbachev’s) tireless commitment to opening up Soviet society remains an example to us all," he said.

Putin, on his part, has been harshly critical about the fall of the Soviet Union that Gorbachev oversaw.

“First and foremost it is worth acknowledging that the demise of the Soviet Union was the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the century," Putin famously said in 2005. “As for the Russian people, it became a genuine tragedy. Tens of millions of our fellow citizens and countrymen found themselves beyond the fringes of Russian territory.

On August 31, Putin offered the late Soviet leader his sincere condolences.

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Sounak Mukhopadhyay
Sounak Mukhopadhyay, who also goes by the name Sounak Mukherjee, has been producing digital news since 2012. He's worked for the International Business Times, The Inquisitr, and Moneycontrol in the past. He's also contributed to Free Press Journal and TheRichest with feature articles. He covers news for a wide range of subjects including business, finance, economy, politics and sports. Before working with digital news publications, he worked as a freelance content writer.
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Published: 31 Aug 2022, 10:55 AM IST
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