Mikhail Gorbachev is best known as the final leader of the Soviet Union, a position that inevitably comes with a lot of presuppositions. In commemorating Gorbachev posthumously, IPB remembers Gorbachev’s role as a supporter of peace and common security.
The arms reductions, particularly through nuclear accords between the US and the Soviet Union during the 1980s, paved the way for the thawing of tensions between the East and West and proved that only by reducing military spending and armament can we achieve rapprochement and create a safer world; the arms race and confrontational rhetoric that dominated most of the Cold War period – and which has again risen in modern geopolitical relations – only increases tension and makes the world more dangerous. Similarly, Gorbachev’s refusal to resort to military interventions as a reaction to popular movements in Eastern Europe is an example for the world, and especially imperial powers, to follow.
Gorbachev continued to be active – promoting peace, common security, and democratization – throughout his life, even engaging in IPB events such as the 2016 World Peace Congress in Berlin. His presence and voice for peace will be greatly missed and should serve as an example for global leaders in modern times, where we see the shadow of the Cold War returning.