Ukrainian state-linked site celebrates Gorbachev’s ‘liquidation’
The late Soviet reformist leader Mikhail Gorbachev has now been marked as “liquidated” by a controversial Ukrainian website that lists supposed enemies of Kiev.
Mirotvorets, or ‘Peacemaker’, is a public database of individuals, whom anonymous moderators consider a threat to Ukrainian national security. Gorbachev is now listed among such people.
After he passed away on Tuesday at the age of 91, the Ukrainian website updated his profile, adding the date of death and stamping the word “liquidated” in red letters across his photo.
Though the term implies state assassination, the treatment is the same that Mirotvorets uses for all supposed enemies of Ukraine that it reports as dying, regardless of the cause.
Gorbachev was added to the Mirotvorets blacklist over a May 2016 interview with the British newspaper The Sunday Times, in which he said: “I’m always with the free will of the people and most in Crimea wanted to be reunited with Russia.”
He was referring to the referendum held in the former Ukrainian region after breaking from Kiev in the wake of the 2014 Maidan coup. The people of the Crimean peninsula voted overwhelmingly to reunite with Russia, which Moscow granted. Kiev and its allies described the plebiscite as conducted “at gunpoint” and refused to acknowledge its outcome.
Mirotvorets is technically a private enterprise, but is widely believed to be connected with the Ukrainian Interior Ministry. Anton Gerashchenko, who was a ministerial advisor at the time the website was launched, was a vocal promoter of the database and indicated that he had input on its content.
Gorbachev’s interview put him at odds with the new authorities in Kiev in a more direct way too. The SBU, Ukraine’s successor to the KGB, announced that he had been banned from entering the country for five years, days after it was published.