Gorbachev, Kfortov: “Controversial figure, naive ideas but with vision”

the director of the Riac: “If there was a survey we would discover that there are more people who criticize him than those who support him”

A “very controversial” figure, with “idealistic, even naive” ideas, but with an “important” worldview. This is the opinion that Andrey Kfortov, director general of the Russian International Affairs Council, gives of Mikhail Gorbachev, the former Russian president who died yesterday at the age of 91.

“On the one hand, many in Russia believe that under Gorbachev the country enjoyed freedom as never before or after him. At the same time many people here hold him responsible for the disintegration of the Soviet Union, which is perceived as a negative development for the Russia “, says Kfortov, according to which” if we did a poll, we would probably find that there are more people who criticize Gorbachev than those who support him “.

The negative judgments, he stresses, would be concentrated among people who lived through the 90s and for whom “he will remain mostly a negative hero who brought a lot of problems into their lives”, while the current “teens or twenties may find some attraction in Gorbachev’s ideas “.

The expert then explains the reasons that make the former president a figure, according to him, “very controversial”. The point, he argues, is that many of his ideas about him in today’s Russia and even in the contemporary world in general are “idealistic and even naive.”

Gorbachev thought that “the balance of interests should have replaced the balance of power. He thought of a great Europe stretching from Lisbon to Vladivostok, he spoke of global values. For many people these ideas are clearly very romantic, but not very practical. – Kfortov continues – At the same time, I believe that Gorbachev’s vision remains important and alive despite the many setbacks and disappointments that all of us have encountered in the last 30 years “and that” it is probably premature to argue that Gorbachev is already completely obsolete “.

In any case, the analyst points out, “it is too early to say that history has already given its judgment and I think it is still to be seen what legacy it will leave in Russia”.

On Gorbachev’s relations with the West, Kfortov highlights how the former president was removed from power not because of his foreign policy, but because of his failures in the economic field and in domestic politics. “We don’t really know if his policy towards the West was naive or realistic – he declares – He made mistakes and some mistakes were made by his Western counterparts. But relations between Russia and the West with Gorbachev were better than as they are now and this is something we cannot ignore. “

Finally, the analyst comments on President Vladimir Putin’s “controversial” statements on Gorbachev. On the one hand, he notes, “he supported some aspects of foreign policy, but he was critical of some other aspect. I think – he concludes – that Gorbachev was not happy with current developments in Europe because they eroded his legacy, his ideas of common European home “.