"World has lost a courageous reformer," Dutch PM says about Mikhail Gorbachev's death
Mikhail Gorbachev, the last president of the Soviet Union, died at age 91 on Tuesday, the Russian state news agencies reported. His passing saddens Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Minister Wopke Hoekstra of Foreign Affairs.
“With the death of Mikhail Gorbachev, the world has lost a courageous reformer with immense influence on history. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for paving the way for the end of both the Cold War and the arms race. My thoughts are with his loved ones,” Rutte said on Twitter.
Hoekstra tweeted: “Saddened to hear that Mikhail Gorbachev has passed away. He was crucial in ending the Cold War and made the world safer through his diplomacy to limit nuclear weapons. His name will forever be associated with glasnost & perestroika, which have lost none of their relevance today.”
Gorbachev brought about major changes in the Soviet Union in the 1980s, enforcing openness and reforms. “Glasnost” is a Russian term that translates to publicity and openness. In the 1980s, the term was associated with the reforms of the judicial system. Perestroika was a political movement for reform within the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.
Gorbachev believed that the Soviet Union could only remain a world power if it made radical changes, NU.nl reports. In 1989, he decided to end the Soviet Union’s costly occupation of Afghanistan. He improved relations with the United States, made reunification with Germany possible, and implemented Russia’s first steps toward a free economy. Soviet citizens gained more freedom, and political prisoners were released.
Gorbachev’s policies led to the end of the Cold War but also inadvertently to the disintegration of his country. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1990.