Biden hails Gorbachev as ‘remarkable’ leader
US President Joe Biden expressed his deepest condolences over the death of Mikhail Gorbachev to his family and friends, praising his willingness to “risk his entire career” for a “safer world and greater freedom for millions of people.”
“When he came to power, the Cold War had gone on for nearly 40 years and communism for even longer, with devastating consequences. Few high-level Soviet officials had the courage to admit that things needed to change,” Biden said in a statement shared by the White House on Tuesday night, describing Mikhail Gorbachev as a “man of remarkable vision.”
Gorbachev “believed in glasnost and perestroika… not as mere slogans, but as the path forward for the people of the Soviet Union,” the president continued, going on to claim the Soviet leader “embraced democratic reforms” which ended “decades of brutal political repression.”
These were the acts of 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.
Biden also recalled Gorbachev’s visit to the White House in 2009, where they “spoke for a long time about our countries’ ongoing work to reduce US and Russian nuclear stockpiles.”
“We send our deepest condolences to his family and friends, and to people everywhere who benefited from his belief in a better world,” Biden added.
Gorbachev, 91, died on Tuesday in Moscow. He became the general secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in 1985, and in 1990 made history as the first president of the USSR. He would also be the last, as the Soviet Union broke up at the end of 1991.