Daily: 31/08/2022

As Boris Johnson Departs, Britain’s Next Leader Faces Daunting Challenges

Britain will have a new prime minister next week, nearly two months after the resignation of Boris Johnson in July, following a series of scandals. As Henry Ridgwell reports, Johnson’s successor faces a series of daunting challenges — while Britain’s allies, including Ukraine, are watching closely.

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To Ukrainians, Gorbachev Remains an ‘Imperialist’

Mikhail Gorbachev could have been celebrated for involuntarily opening a path toward Ukraine’s independence, but his support for Crimea’s annexation and silence in the face of Russia’s invasion have stained his reputation there.

Gorbachev, the last leader of the Soviet Union, triggered its demise in 1991, which led to the formation of 15 new independent countries including Ukraine.

But it is no accident that the Ukrainian government is still mute, a day after the death of Gorbachev, whose mother and wife were of Ukrainian origin.

Ukrainians walking through the streets of Kyiv on Wednesday did not mince their words about the leader of the “occupying” and “imperialist” Soviet power.

“I’m very happy he died. The more enemies and their supporters die, the happier I’ll be,” said 32-year-old Oleksandr Stepanov.

Katerina Boyuk, a 17-year-old student, is convinced that Gorbachev “did not really care” about Ukraine and that the country’s independence has “nothing to do” with him.

“He was just the ruler of the USSR, and he couldn’t manage to keep his throne,” she said.

“I think he’s as much of an aggressor as the current Kremlin leaders,” said Vytalya Formantchuk, 43, adding that Gorbachev “put a lot of effort into destroying Ukrainians, their culture and their language.”

The visible hostility of Ukrainians toward Gorbachev also stems from his silence regarding Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Gorbachev, mostly popular in the West, never publicly commented on what has turned out to be the worst conflict in Europe since World War II.

One member of his close circle, Russian journalist Alexei Venediktov, said in July that Gorbachev was “disappointed, of course.”

Even worse, Gorbachev said he “approved” Moscow’s annexation of Crimea to Russia in 2014.

He argued that “the people” had spoken in the referendum on the unification of the peninsula to Russia, widely regarded as a sham.

Kyiv never forgave him for that.

Gorbachev is perceived in Ukraine “with a lot of skepticism — we do not share the enthusiasm we’ve been seeing in obituaries all around the world,” said Volodymyr Yermolenko, philosopher and editor-in-chief of the ukraineworld.com website.

“His destiny is the same destiny as many Russian reformers who want reforms, but only up to a certain point: when people start questioning Russian imperialism and decolonization,” he said.

Gorbachev was Soviet leader in 1986, when Chernobyl’s No. 4 nuclear reactor exploded, causing the world’s worst nuclear accident and spreading radioactive contamination across Europe.

Moscow first tried to downplay the extent of the disaster, which delayed evacuation of locals.

Gorbachev is widely blamed for this and for the decision to maintain the May 1 parade in Kyiv five days later.

Thousands of people, including many children, marched through the city holding flowers and singing songs, blissfully unaware of the radioactive cloud surrounding them.

Gorbachev “was an ordinary Russian imperialist. He simply did everything he could to save the USSR and restore the Russian Empire, which is now waging war against us,” popular blogger and activist Yuri Kasyanov posted on Facebook.

Disliked by Russians, rejected by Ukrainians, Gorbachev still regularly talked about his Ukrainian roots.

“I am, after all, half Ukrainian. My mother was Ukrainian, and my wife, Raisa, was too. I spoke my very first words in Ukrainian, and the first songs I heard were Ukrainian,” he said in a 2015 interview with German news magazine Der Spiegel.

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Зеленський закликав до санкції проти атомної галузі Росії за «радіаційний шантаж» на ЗАЕС

«Російські атомники працюють на повторення Чорнобильської катастрофи – це має бути покарано»

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VOA Interview NASA Astronaut Victor Glover

VOA’s Kane Farabaugh spoke with NASA Astronaut Victor Glover ahead of Monday’s scheduled Artemis launch from Cape Canaveral, Florida. While the launch was postponed, NASA’s quest to return to the moon and eventually send humans to Mars remains a priority for the U.S. space agency.

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Це не покарання для росіян, а питання безпеки наших країн – голова МЗС Литви про заборону віз для громадян РФ

Габріелюс Ландсбергіс вважає, що обмеження для громадян РФ у перетині кордону – це питання безпеки європейських країн

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Дипломати п’яти країн ЄС-сусідів Росії обговорять обмеження в’їзду для громадян РФ – Ландсбергіс

«Ми повинні знайти, як ми підійдемо до питання національної безпеки щодо людей, які перетинають кордон із Росії»

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Бербок пообіцяла, що Німеччина не зніматиме санкції з Росії до кінця війни

«Санкції продовжаться, зокрема і взимку, навіть якщо це буде дуже складно для політиків», заявила голова МЗС

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Україна розраховує на більш чітку позицію Сербії щодо російської агресії – МЗС

«Простір для маневрів Москви в контексті її гібридної війни проти Європи має бути закритий»

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Fans of Princess Diana Gather to Mark Her Death 25 Years Ago

Fans of the late Princess Diana placed tributes outside the gates of her Kensington Palace home on Wednesday, marking the 25th anniversary of her death in a Paris car accident.

An arrangement of white chrysanthemums spelling out “Princess Diana” sat among dozens of photos and messages left by admirers, some of whom said they make annual pilgrimages to the spot to remember the tragedy.

“We just come here, do the memorial and, you know, we just chat about things that she used to do, you know, to … let people know that we will never forget the princess, we will never forget what she’s done,’’ said Julie Cain, 59, who traveled 300 miles (480 kilometers) from Newcastle in northern England. “We just want her legacy kept, like, going as long as possible.”

Diana died on Aug. 31, 1997, at the age of 36, stunning people around the world who felt they knew the princess after seeing her successes and struggles play out on TV screens and newspaper front pages for 17 years. The tributes left outside Kensington Palace on Wednesday were a small reminder of the mountains of flowers piled there in the days after Diana’s death.

Diana was the focus of constant media attention from the moment she was engaged to marry Prince Charles until the night she died. Her fairytale wedding, ugly divorce and efforts to build a new life all made headlines.

The public watched as she blossomed from a shy teenager into an international style icon who befriended AIDS patients, charmed Nelson Mandela and walked through a minefield to promote the drive to eradicate landmines. Along the way, she showed the royal family, particularly her sons William and Harry, how to connect with people and be relevant in the 21st century.

On Wednesday morning, Cain and her friend Maria Scott, 51, paid their respects to Diana as dawn broke over the palace, just as they do every year.

“There was just something about that girl that really stood out. And of course, I watched the wedding, the fairy-tale princess,’’ Scott said. “And, you know, you see, she was like part of your life because you were seeing that every day on the television. She was in newspapers, magazines. She was all over. And you felt like she was part of your life.” 

 

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Condolences Pour in as Last Soviet Leader Gorbachev Dies At 91

Leaders and politicians around the world have expressed their condolences as news spread that the last Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, whose reforms helped end the Cold War and free Eastern Europe from communism, but also led to the collapse of the Soviet Union, died overnight at the age of 91.

Some in Russia and elsewhere took to social media to criticize the man they blamed for making Russia a second-rate power, a feeling that eventually led to the rise of President Vladimir Putin, who has tried for the past quarter-century to restore Russia to its former glory and beyond.

Gorbachev died late on Monday “after a serious and prolonged illness,” the Central Clinical Hospital in Moscow said.

The news triggered an immediate outpouring of praise from global leaders far and wide for the man who helped trigger a a pivotal turning point in world history.

Gorbachev was “a one-of-a-kind statesman who changed the course of history. He did more than any other individual to bring about the peaceful end of the Cold War,” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said. “The world has lost a towering global leader, committed multilateralist, and tireless advocate for peace.”

A trained lawyer by profession, Gorbachev took over the Communist Party and Soviet leadership in 1985 and presided over six turbulent years that saw the fall of the Iron Curtain, the reunification of Germany, and ultimately the Soviet demise that Putin has since called “the greatest geopolitical catastrophe” of the 20th century.

Gorbachev famously ushered in “glasnost” and “perestroika” in an effort to keep the struggling Soviet Union alive.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on August 31 hailed Gorbachev’s role in reuniting Germany but lamented that his attempt to establish an enduring democracy in Russia had “failed,” a thinly veiled criticism of Putin, who has been roundly criticized by the international community for cracking down on civil society in recent years.

“The democracy movements in Central and Eastern Europe benefited from the fact he was in power then in Russia,” Scholz said. However, Gorbachev “died at a time in which democracy has failed in Russia.”

Added Britain’s outgoing Prime Minister Boris Johnson: “In a time of Putin’s aggression in Ukraine, his tireless commitment to opening up Soviet society remains an example to us all.”

In a statement issued in the early hours of Tuesday, U.S. President Joe Biden called Gorbachev a “rare leader — one with the imagination to see that a different future was possible and the courage to risk his entire career to achieve it. The result was a safer world and greater freedom for millions of people.”

French President Emmanuel Macron praised Gorbachev as a “man of peace” whose decision opened a “path of freedom” for Russians. “His commitment to peace in Europe changed our common history,” Macron said on Twitter.

China praised Gorbachev for his part in improving ties between Beijing and Moscow in the 1980s and ’90s after decades of tensions over ideological differences and competing geopolitical interests.

“Mikhail Gorbachev made positive contributions to the normalization of Sino-Soviet relations,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told a press conference, adding: “We mourn his death and express our condolences to his family.”

At home, however, Gorbachev’s legacy was being spoken of in a different tone.

The developments in Eastern Europe triggered by Gorbachev helped fuel aspirations for democracy and autonomy among the 15 republics of the Soviet Union, which fell apart, sometimes violently.

In January 1991, Soviet troops killed 14 people at Lithuania’s main TV tower in an attack that Gorbachev denied ordering. In Latvia, five demonstrators were killed by Soviet special forces.

“Lithuanians will not glorify Gorbachev,” tweeted Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis, the son of Vytautas Landsbergis, who led Lithuania’s independence movement in the early 1990s.

“We will never forget the simple fact that his army murdered civilians to prolong his regime’s occupation of our country. His soldiers fired on our unarmed protesters and crushed them under his tanks. That is how we will remember him,” he added.

Gorbachev was politically debilitated by a hard-line coup in August 1991 that failed in large part due to a popular resistance led by Boris Yeltsin.

A week later, Gorbachev resigned as Communist Party general secretary.

In late December 1991, his resignation as president of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics effectively spelled the end of the Soviet empire.

Putin paid tribute to Gorbachev for his reform efforts and humanitarian work.

“Mikhail Gorbachev was a politician and statesman who had a tremendous influence on the course of world history,” reads the condolence message to relatives released by the Kremlin on August 30.

Gorbachev led the country to a time of “dramatic change” and recognized the great need for reform at the time, Putin’s message said.

“I would like to particularly emphasize the great humanitarian, charitable and educational activity that Mikhail Sergeevitch Gorbachev carried out all these past years,” it added.

Alexsey Navalny, the imprisoned Russian opposition politician, praised Gorbachev for “peacefully” departing from power.

Navalny, who is being held in a facility about 260 kilometers east of Moscow, made the statement on Twitter on August 31, most likely via his team members.

Oleg Morozov, a member of Russia’s lower house of parliament, or Duma, representing the ruling United Russia party, called Gorbachev one of the “co-authors” of a new world order that he labeled as “unjust” for Russia.

Morozov described Russia’s unprovoked war in Ukraine as an attempt to alter the post-Soviet world order. He said he hoped that in his last days Gorbachev felt “remorse” for the consequences of his actions.

The Kremlin called Gorbachev “an extraordinary politician” but said that his “romanticism” over forging strong ties with the West “failed to be true.”

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, speaking at an educational event in Moscow on August 31, said Gorbachev will be forever remembered both at home and abroad for his statesmanship.

“Many argue about the role he played [in history], but it is clear that he was extraordinary, a unique person,” Peskov said, adding that the death of the Soviet leader is “a real loss for us all.”

“Gorbachev gave the impulse for the end of the Cold War, and he sincerely wanted to believe that it will end and a permanent romantic period of ties between a new Soviet Union and the collective West would follow. That romanticism failed to be true. No romantic period or honeymoon came,” Peskov added, blaming the West for failing to further the relationship.

Peskov said Putin had sent a telegram of “condolences to Mikhail Gorbachev’s relatives and loved ones,” the text of which appeared on the Kremlin’s website.

“Mikhail Gorbachev was a politician and statesman who had a huge impact on the course of world history. He led our country during a period of complex, dramatic changes, large-scale political, economic, and social challenges. He deeply understood that reforms were necessary and strove to offer his own solutions to emerging problems,” Putin’s telegram says, adding Gorbachev was involved with “great humanitarian, charitable, and educational activities” after the Soviet Union was officially dissolved in December 1991.

The former Soviet leader is expected to be buried at Moscow’s Novodevichy Cemetery alongside his wife, Raisa, who died in 1999, according to state media. However, Interfax reported that there wouldn’t be a state funeral for Gorbachev.

Some information came from Reuters

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ГУР: Росія планує зміцнити оборону Криму призовниками із Москви та Санкт-Петербурга

За даними розвідки, військові комісаріати Московської та Ленінградської областей отримали вказівки стосовно масового призову на військову службу місцевих жителів

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Країни Балтії, Польща та Фінляндія назвали в’їзд громадян Росії до ЄС загрозою громадській безпеці

Спільна заява п’яти країн була представлена на зустрічі міністрів закордонних справ країн Євросоюзу, яка проходить у Чехії

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UN Team Heads to Assess Ukrainian Nuclear Power Plant 

A team of inspectors from the U.N.’s nuclear watchdog headed Wednesday to Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant to assess safety and security issues at the Russian-controlled site.

International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Rafael Grossi said the team he is leading will spend several days at the plant and said their mission is a “very complex operation.”

“We are going to a war zone. We are going to occupied territory. This requires the explicit guarantees from not only from the Russian Federation but also from the Republic of Ukraine. And we have been able to secure that,” Grossi told reporters in Kyiv.

He also said inspectors would be talking to personnel at the nuclear plant, which despite Russian control is being run by Ukrainian engineers.

“Of course, that is one of the most important things I want to do, and I will do it,” Grossi said.

Both Russia and Ukraine allege the other has continued to shell territory near the facility, with world leaders expressing fears that a nuclear disaster is possible.

The IAEA met Tuesday with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy who called for the “immediate demilitarization of the plant” and its transfer to “full Ukrainian control.”

According to The New York Times, the plant showed signs of being hit by artillery fire and is blanketed in smoke from nearby wildfires.

The IAEA said the mission will focus on assessing physical damage at the plant, determining the functionality of safety and security systems, evaluating staff conditions and performing “urgent safeguards activities.”

Some information for this story came from The Associated Press, Agence France-Presse and Reuters.

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Помер перший і єдиний президент СРСР Михайло Горбачов

За даними ЗМІ, він помер після «важкої і тривалої хвороби»

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Mikhail Gorbachev, Last Soviet Leader, Dies at 91

Mikhail Gorbachev, who presided over the demise of the Soviet Union and helped end decades of Cold War fear, earning a Nobel Peace Prize and the lasting enmity of millions of Russians bitter about the chaos unleashed by the collapse of the world’s largest country, has died at age 91.

The Central Clinical Hospital on the outskirts of Moscow told the state news agency Tass that Gorbachev died Tuesday night “after a serious and prolonged illness.”

Born in a rural corner of Russia less than 15 years after the Bolshevik Revolution to parents whose families had been peasants, Gorbachev became one of the most influential figures of the 20th century, gathering global accolades for his role in reducing the threat of a nuclear apocalypse and in freeing millions of people from Soviet oppression in his country and beyond.

Just as notably, he was a target of the scorn of millions of Soviets who blamed him for the life-changing economic and social upheaval that accompanied the country’s collapse and for the loss of a mighty empire that spanned 11 time zones.

This was Gorbachev’s paradox: loved and loathed for a process that he set in motion and whose ultimate result was foreseen by few. It was a result that Russian President Vladimir Putin, who rose to power less than a decade after Gorbachev resigned and remains in the Kremlin today, once called the “greatest geopolitical catastrophe” of the 20th century.

Gorbachev made clear he never meant to bring down the country, repeating almost as a mantra that “the union could have been preserved.”

But despite occasional reversals, he ultimately sided with the forces of change that he helped unleash. And in retrospect, a dozen years after the Soviet Union was done, Gorbachev insisted that those momentous changes were the result of a conscious and very personal decision.

“Other people could have [come into office] and they might have done nothing to put the country on the road to humane, free and democratic development,” he said in an interview with RFE/RL in 2003.

Humble beginnings

In any case, Gorbachev will rank alongside such towering 20th-century figures as Winston Churchill, Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Josef Stalin and Mao Zedong — leaders who changed the fate of nations and had a profound impact on the lives of millions of people.

Born on March 2, 1931, into a poor family in Privolnoye, a village in southern Russia’s Stavropol region, Gorbachev grew up amid the immense upheavals that roiled the Soviet Union in the first two decades of his life: collectivization, Stalin’s “Great Terror,” and the Great Patriotic War, as World War II is best known within Russia.

At about age 21, he joined the Communist Party while studying law at Moscow State University in 1952.

After marrying classmate Raisa Titorenko, Gorbachev returned to southern Russia, where he began to climb the ladder of the regional Communist bureaucracy, specializing in agriculture.

By 1970, he had risen to the top of the party hierarchy in Stavropol.

‘The state is there to serve the people’

In 1980, Gorbachev was appointed a full member of the Communist Party’s Politburo in Moscow.

To the surprise of many Kremlin watchers and Soviet citizens, he almost immediately began calling for reform, espousing twin doctrines that would become bywords for his time: “glasnost” (openness) and “perestroika” (restructuring).

“The state is there to serve the people,” he said. “The people are not there to serve the state.”

That, according to Gorbachev, would be the new guiding principle.

Gorbachev and Raisa brought new style to the Kremlin, traveling around the USSR and abroad, plunging into crowds and leading impromptu discussions on the street.

A relaxation of economic regulations brought the rebirth of small businesses, cafes and restaurants for the first time since Lenin’s New Economic Policy in the 1920s. A partial lifting of censorship led to a renaissance in cultural life. Literary journals published previously banned authors, and theaters staged ever-more daring productions.

The disaster at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine in 1986 forced a reluctant leadership to allow even greater freedom of expression and information. The government began to release political prisoners, most famously Andrei Sakharov, the physicist who designed nuclear weapons and later campaigned against them, resulting in his internal exile from 1980 to 1986.

Gorbachev called for an end to the arms race, and he improved relations with Washington, helping remove thousands of warheads that threatened Europe with destruction by signing the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty with U.S. President Ronald Reagan in 1987. In 1989, he ended the Soviet war in Afghanistan, begun 10 years earlier under Leonid Brezhnev.

End of an empire

But all was not well in the empire. By 1989, what had begun as an effort to reform the Soviet Union’s economy and foreign policy had precipitated a crisis in industry and encouraged cries for self-determination that would soon engulf the entire region.

Gorbachev vastly underestimated the degree of economic decay. Shortages of basic household goods and foodstuffs were growing, and conservatives within the Communist Party grew ever-more strident in their criticism of his leadership.

He had also not counted on the fact that greater freedom would fan the forces of nationalism.

In October 1989, during a visit to East Berlin to mark the 40th anniversary of the establishment of the German Democratic Republic, Gorbachev signaled that Moscow would not try to turn back the clock.

A month later, the Berlin Wall fell.

“We have given up pretending to have a monopoly on truth,” Gorbachev said a few weeks after that, in a speech in Rome a day before a historic meeting with Pope John Paul II. “We no longer think that those who don’t agree with us are enemies.”

‘Freedom of choice’

In 1990, Gorbachev was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his contribution to reducing East-West tensions, but he had precious little time to reflect on his achievement. While feted across Europe and the rest of the world, he continued to confront growing unrest at home.

On August 4, 1991, Gorbachev left with his family for his annual vacation in Crimea on the Black Sea, intending to complete a new version of a union treaty aimed to keep the USSR together as centrifugal force was pulling it apart.

On August 18, his chief of staff, accompanied by a group of senior government officials, arrived at the presidential dacha at Foros. They demanded that Gorbachev sign a decree declaring a state of emergency or resign. Gorbachev refused to do either. The officials confiscated the codes needed to launch the Soviet Union’s nuclear weapons. Gorbachev and his family were, in effect, under house arrest.

State television announced the imposition of a state of emergency “starting at 1600 Moscow time, on August 19, 1991,” claiming it was in response “to demands by broad sections of the population for the most decisive measures to prevent society from sliding toward a national catastrophe.”

Three days later, the coup collapsed, thanks to the incompetence of the plotters and the resistance demonstrated by Russia’s nascent political leader, Boris Yeltsin, and crowds of citizens who came out into the streets to oppose the attempted takeover.

‘A different direction’

In the months that followed, more republics declared independence from Moscow. On December 8, Yeltsin, along with the leaders of Belarus and Ukraine, signed accords proclaiming the Soviet Union’s end and announcing the creation of a new entity called the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).

Gorbachev stayed on in the Kremlin for a few more weeks, but power had slipped from his hands. On December 25, he resigned — stepping down as the leader of a country that had effectively ceased to exist.

In 1991, he founded The Gorbachev Foundation in an effort to maintain a voice in Russian affairs. In 1996, he ran for president but came in a distant seventh in a field of 10, with 0.5% of the vote. Later, he became a sometime critic of Putin, to whom Yeltsin handed the presidency on the last day of 1999.

Gorbachev was an approving voice for some of Putin’s most controversial actions on the international stage, including Moscow’s 2014 seizure of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula. Suggesting he viewed the annexation in terms of Russia’s national interests, he told the media he would have acted “the same way” had he had the choice.

However, he continued to criticize many of Putin’s repressive domestic policies and opposed Putin’s decision to return to the presidency in 2012, when Dmitry Medvedev turned out to have been a placeholder after four years of hinting at reform. In 2013, Gorbachev commented that “politics is increasingly turning into imitation democracy.”

Gorbachev was also harshly critical of the United States, largely blaming Washington for poor ties by charging that it failed to develop good relations with Russia after the Soviet collapse.

In positions echoed by or echoing Putin’s, he accused the United States of relishing its status as the world’s sole superpower and lambasted the eastward expansion of NATO. He opposed NATO’s bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999 and the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003. He criticized U.S. President Donald Trump’s 2018 decision to withdraw from the INF Treaty, which he had negotiated and signed with Reagan in 1987, as “not the work of a great mind.”

The ailing Gorbachev, who turned 91 a week after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February, had made few public comments, about the war in Ukraine or anything else.

RFE/RL’s Jeremy Bransten contributed to this report.

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Global Reaction to Death of Mikhail Gorbachev

Mikhail Gorbachev, who ended the Cold War without bloodshed but failed to prevent the collapse of the Soviet Union, died on Tuesday at the age of 91, hospital officials in Moscow said.

Below are some reactions from around the world:

Russian President Vladimir Putin: He expressed “his deepest condolences,” his spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Interfax news agency. “Tomorrow he will send a telegram of condolences to his family and friends.”

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres: “I was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Mikhail Gorbachev, a one-of-a kind statesman who changed the course of history. He did more than any other individual to bring about the peaceful end of the Cold War.

“On behalf of the United Nations, I extend my heartfelt condolences to Mikhail Gorbachev’s family and to the people and government of the Russian Federation.

“The world has lost a towering global leader, committed multilateralist, and tireless advocate for peace.”

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen: “Mikhail Gorbachev was a trusted and respected leader. He played a crucial role to end the Cold War and bring down the Iron Curtain. It opened the way for a free Europe. … This legacy is one we will not forget.”

Former U.S. Secretary of State James Baker III: “History will remember Mikhail Gorbachev as a giant who steered his great nation towards democracy. He played the critical role in a peaceful conclusion of the Cold War by his decision against using force to hold the empire together. … The free world misses him greatly.”

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson: “I always admired the courage & integrity he showed in bringing the Cold War to a peaceful conclusion. … In a time of Putin’s aggression in Ukraine, his tireless commitment to opening up Soviet society remains an example to us all.”

The Reagan Foundation and Institute: “The Reagan Foundation and Institute mourns the loss of former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, a man who once was a political adversary of Ronald Reagan’s who ended up becoming a friend. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Gorbachev family and the people of Russia.”

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Musk Cites Whistleblower as New Reason to Exit Twitter Deal

Elon Musk and Twitter lobbed salvos at each other Tuesday in the latest round of legal filings over the billionaire Tesla CEO’s efforts to rescind his offer to buy the social media platform. 

Musk filed more paperwork to terminate his agreement to buy Twitter, this time based on information in a whistleblower complaint filed by Twitter’s former head of security. Twitter fired back by saying his attempt to back out of the deal is “invalid and wrongful.” 

In an SEC filing, Musk said his legal team notified Twitter of “additional bases” for ending the deal on top of the ones given in the original termination notice issued in July. 

In a letter to Twitter Inc., which was included in the filing, Musk’s advisers cited the whistleblower report by former executive Peiter Zatko — also known by his hacker handle “Mudge.” 

Zatko, who served as Twitter’s head of security until he was fired early this year, alleged in his complaint to U.S. officials that the company misled regulators about its poor cybersecurity defenses and its negligence in attempting to root out fake accounts that spread disinformation. 

The letter, addressed to Twitter’s Chief Legal Officer Vijaya Gadde, said Zatko’s allegations provide extra reasons to end the deal if the July termination notice “is determined to be invalid for any reason.” 

Billionaire Musk has spent months alleging that the company he agreed to acquire undercounted its fake and spam accounts, which means he doesn’t have to go through with the $44 billion deal. Musk’s decision to back out of the transaction sets the stage for a high-stakes legal battle in October. 

In a separate SEC filing, Twitter responded to what it called Musk’s latest “purported termination,” saying it’s “based solely on statements made by a third party that, as Twitter has previously stated, are riddled with inconsistencies and inaccuracies and lack important context.” 

The company vowed to go through with the sale at the price agreed with Musk. 

 

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