Gorbachev mourned as rare world leader

U.S. President Joe Biden praised Gorbachev for being open to democratic changes. Gorbachev won the 1990 Nobel Peace Prize for his role in ending the Cold War.

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World News

August 31, 2022 - 3:27 PM

Former Soviet Union President Mikhail Gorbachev answers questions from the Chicago Tribune editorial board during a meeting Thursday, March 4, 1999. (John Kringas/Chicago Tribune/TNS)

BERLIN (AP) — Mikhail Gorbachev, the last leader of the Soviet Union and for many the man who restored democracy to then-communist-ruled European nations, was saluted Wednesday as a rare leader who changed the world and for a time brought hope for peace among the superpowers.

But the man who died Tuesday at 91 was also reviled by many countrymen who blamed him for the 1991 implosion of the Soviet Union and its diminution as a superpower. The Russian nation that emerged from its Soviet past shrank in size as 15 new nations were created.

The loss of pride and power also eventually led to the rise of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has tried for the past quarter-century to restore Russia to its former glory and beyond.

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