Nobelist and Andropov Acolyte Slaps Russia's Leadership Duo

|

I could be the only (non-Russian) person alive who thinks Mikhail Gorbachev, accidental destroyer of the Soviet empire, is a one of the most overrated historical figures of the last half century. I outlined some of my objections here, quoting Robert Service's observation that Gorbachev intended glasnost as "a renaissance of Leninist ideals" and that his books on glasnost and perestroika "still equivocated on Stalin." But periodically, Gorbi gets it right. Having previously endorsed Vladimir Putin's autocratic rule, the former Soviet dictator (a word rarely, if ever, used to describe a man who never allowed his leadership to be democratically challenged) has offered some guarded criticism of the Medvedev-Putin tag team.

"The current authorities haven't become leaders for me yet," said Gorbachev, who usually avoids criticizing President Dmitry Medvedev, 45, and his predecessor, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, 58. Gorbachev said the so-called tandem rule of the two politicians is "legitimate and legal," though something "unexpected" may happen in the 2012 presidential election, when both men are eligible to run.

"Our government fears its own citizens," Gorbachev said, warning the patience of Russians with "a swamp of stagnation, indifference and corruption" may eventually snap. "When people finally realize that their opinion is ignored and that nothing depends on them, they'll go out on the street," he said.

In the same interview, Gorbachev identifies the Russian leader to whom he "feels closest" as Yuri Andropov, the humorless thug who violently suppressed the 1956 Hungarian uprising.

In other Moscow-related news: According to a report from Russia's Interfax news wire, the spies thrown out of the US earlier this year (including tabloid darling Anna Chapman) were presented with the Kremlin's "highest honors" yesterday. Meanwhile, in Washington, officials are furiously hitting that "overcharge" button, shouting something about "no whammies."

NEXT: Last Week's Top 5 Hit & Run Posts

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. “When people finally realize that their opinion is ignored and that nothing depends on them, they’ll go out on the street,” he said.

    Let’s hope that happens here too.

    1. You mean like hitting the streets with a protest to keep the war going?

  2. In Russia, button press you!

  3. “When people finally realize that their opinion is ignored and that nothing depends on them, they’ll go out on the street,” he said.

    A Russian Tea Party?

  4. “”Our government fears its own citizens,” Gorbachev said, warning the patience of Russians with “a swamp of stagnation, indifference and corruption” may eventually snap.”

    This is a remarkably self-aware statement, considering that it basically describes Russia’s entire civic history, even more so after the Communist takeover solidified a culture of perpetual internal conflict–a government not just hostile to its citizens, but citizens hostile to each other.

    Putting a fundamentally coercive ideology of reverse feudalism in a nation like Russia, was a guaranteed recipe for perpetual dysfunction.

  5. When Andropov died the Kremlim stated the cause of death was total pulminary and resperatory failure. Which is more the effect of death than the cause…

  6. I could be the only (non-Russian) person alive who thinks Mikhail Gorbachev, accidental destroyer of the Soviet empire, is a one of the most overrated historical figures of the last half century.

    No you couldn’t. I consider myself a member of that club too.

    Gorbachev needs to be deported to Lithuania to explain his role in the January 1991 killings at the Lithuanian TV tower.

    Why Team Blue ignores this, but was anxious to see somebody stand trial in Spain for things that happened in Chile, is beyond me.

  7. Shouldn’t the headline be “Former Pizza Hut Spokesman Slaps Russia’s Leadership Duo”?

  8. It was either Andropov or the even-more-sinister Suslov that mentored Gorby, on the basis of the observation that Gorby “has a nice smile, but teeth of iron.”

    Bad call, that one, but I guess that’s just one drawback to a system where everyone lies about everything to everyone else.

  9. Gorbi was way overrated. His big contribution to the world was deciding not to gamble everything on a military solution when he saw that the USSR was about to go over a cliff. But you don’t get points just for deciding not to be a war criminal.

    @Ted S. — Gorb’s crimes include not just Lithuania, but what about Afghanistan, too, while we’re at it?

  10. Personally I know a guy is gay when we meet and i feel the need to check my fly~her547

  11. former Soviet dictator (a word rarely, if ever, used to describe a man who never allowed his leadership to be democratically challenged)

    He won the legislative elections in 1989 and the Congress elected him Chairman of the Supreme Soviet and later President of the Soviet Union (Although former Soviet dictator remains a correct term)

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.