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Statement by President Michael D. Higgins on the death of Mikhail Gorbachev

Date: Wed 31st Aug, 2022 | 11:10

“Among the expressions of sadness at the passing of Mikhail Gorbachev, most painful perhaps will be those who, living in conditions of Cold War, saw his ‘perestroika’ and ‘glasnost’ as instruments of hope. Concerned citizens all over the world who saw hope in the agreements he pursued with others on the reduction, rather than the production and dissemination, of the instruments of war when so many global problems of hunger and poverty prevailed.

For them, he seemed to recognise the power of diplomacy, with its capacity to show even powerful governments the capacity to approach, even resolve, ideological differences, and to bring these to the centre of the places of discourse with discussions based on mutual respect.

His own deep distress, as given in rare interviews late in life, was that he had underestimated the power and influence of institutional forces raised against this, including military-industrial complexes without borders. He spoke of how he had trusted where he should have recognised that there was no basis of trust. There were internal and external forces who would never allow the radical reforms to come to be.

He was a man of good instinct who offered hope and who will be rightly remembered by so many for that most human of instincts.”