Gorbachev – #9 On the Worst List

Yuryi Abramochkin / Юрий Абрамочкин Photo of Gorbachev

Yuryi Abramochkin / Юрий Абрамочкин Photo of Gorbachev

Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev is considered by many in the West as being one of the most enlightened Soviet or Russian rulers of all time. In Russia on the other hand, he ranks at or near the bottom and for good reason. Despite the Nobel Peace Prize and the West’s glee at the end of communist rule in the USSR, his domestic policies were an unmitigated disaster for the people he was supposed to protect.

Born in Gorbachev was born in Stavropol Krai in Russia into a peasant UkrainianRussian family on March 2, 1931. His beginnings were humble and the work hard but young Gorbachev made do. He was considered quite a bright young man but schooling would have to take a back seat in 1941 when the Soviet Union was invaded by Adolph Hitler’s Nazi forces. While he claims in his memoirs that the Nazi’s planned to kill everyone in his village, he never was at risk for death in his lifetime until possibly the attempted coup in 1991.

When he took over as head of the Soviet state in 1985 as General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, he was handed a totally corrupt and rotting system. Despite that, he was very naive in how he handled the domestic issues with no clear cut plan on how to overcome the issues. At first he believed that simply by replacing and moving old time Brezhnev cronies and replacing them with younger and supposedly more idealist communists that things would rebound. Instead, things kept getting worse by the day.

Seeing this happening, Gorbachev decided on radical reform without truly thinking things out. Perestroika and Glasnost were his two guiding ideologies but they were only vague ideas that meant little economically to the people of the Soviet Union. When the country began to dissolve, his policies did little to reverse the suffering of the people as food and consumer good shortages were rampant. When the country finally was disbanded, hunger and misery were widespread throughout Russia.

When I initially began my research into Gorbachev, I was wearing rose-colored glasses as the media and the U.S. government painted a pretty picture of the man. As I delved further into his life and times, it became more and more apparent that his reign as head of the Soviet state puts him on the list of worst rulers of Russian or Soviet history.

 

About Mark Schauss

Hi, I'm Mark Schauss and I an internationally known lecturer on environmental and nutritional health issues having spoken in North America, Asia, South America, Europe and soon in Australia. I also have a deep interest in history, especially Russian history because of my heritage through my mother's side of the family. Another large influence on my love of Russian History is my college professor the late Dr. Paul Avrich. His classes were always full and his passion for history was amazing. I wish he could have found out about my podcast before he passed away.

5 Responses to Gorbachev – #9 On the Worst List

  1. Vadim Jivov December 28, 2012 at 12:05 pm #

    Fully agree. He destroyed the national pride, by his actions or non actions he put all the republics through decade of misery and mess, he did not leave behind any sustainable laws or regime he can be proud off. He claims that he is a liberator, he is, but by chance and by his irresponsible actions. Remember that he was holding the keys to 22000 nuclear warheads which was located not only in Russia, thanks to Americans and the rest of the world that Kazakhs and Ukrainians agreed to get rid off them, but Russia still have them (2200 now) in Putin’s hands. We can see more and more what actually are the result of his ruling.

  2. mark December 28, 2012 at 4:57 pm #

    What exactly did Gorbachev do to crack down on alcohol? You mentioned that the

    Russian people wouldn’t have taken kindly to his policy, but as it lost him revenue, does

    this mean alcohol consumption went down, or did people start getting theirs underground,

    like prohibition in America?

    • Mark Schauss December 28, 2012 at 8:25 pm #

      Cutting off availability. Really reduced consumption from government sources. Big time moonshine operations.
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  3. Cory Koehler February 23, 2013 at 1:58 pm #

    I find this one surprising as Gorbechev is on this list yet Khrushchev is on the good leader list. Gorbechev did, as admitted, inherit a disaster. When I look at Khrushchev and Gorbechev I see two very similar leaders. Here has always been the most interesting discussion for me, why was Khrushchev successful in reform and Gorbechev not?

    I see two differences. The first, Khrushchev crushed uprisings that went beyond his idea of acceptable reform. An example of this is the Hungarian uprising. Gorbechev would not spill blood to control his neighbors.

    The second difference I see is that, under Khrushchev, the Soviet people seemed to still believe in Communism and the Party. Stalin’s power had run wild and The Party would emerge from his cult of personality stronger. That all seems to have changed by Gorbechev. The people had little faith in the party and Gorbechev’s reforms were met with indifference. While many Eastern European nations were content with modest reform under Khrushchev, Gorbechev seems to have inherited a situation in which the Europe was already lost.

    I’m not saying Gorbechev was perfect, but could you provide some alternatives to policies that he instilled that may have returned the Warsaw Pact to glory? I think he caused a drastic change rather than allowing a slow, long decay of the Soviet system.

    • Mark Schauss February 25, 2013 at 12:13 pm #

      When talking to people from the former Soviet Union they have almost universally condemned his reign especially after the fall of the USSR. He did not fully think out his reforms, especially not considering all the consequences of his actions and policies. Read Zubok’s book, “A Failed Empire” to learn more about why he is considered so poor of a leader.
      Mark Schauss recently posted…Nicholas I – #6 Worst Russian RulerMy Profile

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