Thursday, September 01, 2022

Mikhail Gorbachev - "Out, damn spot!"

The last Soviet dictator has died.

In the West there's been a certain amount of lamenting his demise. I haven't followed developments in Russia but I'm guessing there's a lot less Gorbachev nostalgia there. Frankly, it's hard for me to think a well-informed person would think he was some sort of great man who should be mourned, regardless of one's values. He was a failure... by his own standards, by Western (classical) liberal standards, and by Soviet standards. He was a dictator and a thug... sure, much less thuggish than the other Soviet dictators, but being "not quite as evil" is not exactly a virtue.

I'm surprised at some of the reactions I've seen from people who should know better.  There's a silly and somewhat shameful piece on the usually sensible Powerline blog, with the usually sensible John Hinderaker lamenting his passing.  I object in several places in the comments, but like a fool billygoat I used a nom de web.  One would have to know a bit of Russian to ferret out these comments.

My friend Jane Shaw also disappointed with a piece on her usually good "Jane Takes on History" blog.  "Was Mikhail Gorbachev a Hero? Yes."

No!  He was an unrepentant communist dictator!  I left a number of comments on the blog, rebutting Jane and the usually superb Constitutional law expert Rob Natelson.  What are they thinking?

I can only think that these people are simply lamenting a fictional image created by Western media.  People of the former USSR, ranging from Soviet apologists to anti-Soviet liberals and nationalists, have nothing but contempt for this defunct man.  He was anti-liberal, pro-communist, a murderer, and an incompetent by everyone's standards.  He was simply a failure, the last failed leader of a failed system and a failed empire... 

The Kyiv Post published the best analysis of him that I've seen.  It's really worth your time.

Mikhail Gorbachev -- "Spot," -- good riddance!

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