For his half, Putin, who was serving within the KGB in East Germany throughout Gorbachev’s time as chief, made it clear through the years that he noticed the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the collapse of the Japanese bloc in Europe as humiliating to Russia.
Western leaders saluted Gorbachev for his achievements.
In an announcement that known as Gorbachev “a person of exceptional imaginative and prescient” and “a uncommon chief,” Biden mirrored on a 2009 assembly with the previous Soviet president within the White Home.
“It was simple to know why so many worldwide held him in such excessive esteem,” Biden mentioned. Biden praised Gorbachev’s democratic reforms, crediting him with fostering “a safer world and better freedom for tens of millions.”
United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson drew a comparability between the 2 males that was unflattering to Putin, as he expressed admiration for Gorbachev’s half in ending the Chilly Struggle.
“In a time of Putin’s aggression in Ukraine, [Gorbachev’s] tireless dedication to opening up Soviet society stays an instance to us all,” Johnson mentioned.
Different leaders additionally contrasted Putin with Gorbachev of their condolence messages. Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), who met Gorbachev each in Russia and the US, described him as “a daring chief who was unafraid to confront actuality.”
Gorbachev “would by no means be the warfare prison that Putin is,” Leahy mentioned.
Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) mentioned Gorbachev’s “absence has loomed giant amid Putin’s bloody, unprovoked warfare in Ukraine.“
On Twitter following his loss of life, she paid tribute not solely to Gorbachev’s family members, but in addition to pro-democracy Russian opposition leaders together with Alexei Navalny.
Elsewhere in the US, Rep. Dean Phillips (D-Minn.), recalled stopping his automobile on the Minneapolis interstate in 1990, as Gorbachev’s motorcade handed.
“A brand new, extra peaceable and promising world appeared to be on the horizon,” Phillips mentioned. “I mourn his passing and his braveness, as I do the nation he tried so onerous to reform.”
Former Secretary of State James Baker III, one of many final surviving world leaders from the Gorbachev period, advised Reuters: “Historical past will bear in mind Mikhail Gorbachev as an enormous who steered his nice nation in the direction of democracy. He performed the essential function in a peaceable conclusion of the Chilly Struggle by his resolution towards utilizing power to carry the empire collectively.”
European leaders honored Gorbachev because the chief who put an finish to Russian dominance of Japanese Europe, creating an period of stability all through Europe that lasted largely till the Russian invasion of Ukraine earlier this 12 months.
European Union Fee President Ursula von der Leyen celebrated Gorbachev’s legacy in “carry[ing] down the Iron Curtain. It opened the best way for a free Europe.”
Additionally in Europe, Irish Prime Minister Micheál Martin mentioned he was “saddened” by Gorbachev’s loss of life.
“His sense of historical past, and dedication to openness, reform, and constructing bridges with the West, modified the world,” Martin wrote on Twitter.
French President Emmanuel Macron wrote in French that Gorbachev was “a person of peace” who “modified our frequent historical past.”
And British Overseas Secretary Liz Truss — the frontrunner to grow to be the following British prime minister — too praised Gorbachev’s work with the West.
“Now greater than ever, this legacy of cooperation and peace should prevail,” Truss mentioned.