Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
September 01, 2022

The Pizza Ad Guy Is Dead

The guy in that Pizza advertisement is dead.


His biggest mistake was his gullibility towards 'western' economist and leaders. It came at a catastrophic cost for the people in the former states of the Soviet Union. The Russians in general hated him for this. The 'western' leaders lauded him for what he has done for them.

Gilbert Doctorow has written a decent obituary:

[H]istory is always being reinterpreted in light of current developments. As I commented in my interview, the achievements and failures of Gorbachev in power must now be reevaluated in light of the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war, which is the largest and most dangerous military conflict on the European continent since 1945.

This war follows directly from the break-up of the Soviet Union, which Gorbachev failed to prevent, though he did his best. Indeed, in the spring of 1991 he oversaw a referendum on the issue and won support from the population for continuation of the USSR. However, his playing off the right and left forces within the Politburo and within the Party at large over a number of years, the deceptions he practiced to get his way, finally caught up with him and laid the way in the summer of 1991 for the Putsch by rightists intent on restoring Soviet orthodoxy, which in turn so weakened Gorbachev that he was easily pushed aside by Boris Yeltsin. Destruction of the Union was Yeltsin’s instrument for achieving the complete removal of Gorbachev from power and setting out on a course of economic reform and de-Communization that was anathema to the leaders of the more conservative Soviet republics.
I direct attention to Gorbachev’s greatest failure which resulted not from the conspiracies of his compatriots but from his own peculiar naivete in his dealings with the United States, meaning with Reagan, with Bush and their minions. The man who had shown such cunning in outfoxing his Politburo colleagues was completely outfoxed by his American and European interlocutors. Had he been more cautious to protect Soviet-Russian interests, he would have demanded and likely received much better terms of compensation for the withdrawal of Soviet forces from all of Eastern Europe and disbanding the Warsaw Pact. Had he been less gullible and more realistic, he would have demanded written treaties setting in concrete the prohibition of NATO expansion to the East and, or, he would have left Soviet garrisons in each of these states to ensure compliance. As it was, the Americans who gave him verbal assurances knew full well that they were meaningless and were perplexed at the Kremlin’s failure to defend strategic national interests.

These are the sins which patriotic Russians hold against Gorbachev today, even as they acknowledge his astonishing feats in freeing Soviet citizens from the totalitarian yoke of the past through glasnost and perestroika.

Thirty five years ago Robert Scheer published a review of Gorbachov's Manifesto. Consortiumnews has republished it. It helps us to understand why Gorbachev was gullible and failed:

When Mikhail S. Gorbachev comes to the United States next month for his summit conference with President Reagan, he will convey the main theme of this book: The Soviet Union is now in the grip of a new realism about its domestic crisis and world priorities.

His top foreign policy advisers are convinced that the “new thinking” of perestroika in foreign affairs has permitted a breakthrough on arms control beyond the signing of a ban on intermediate range nuclear force (INF) missiles. They speak openly of a dramatic deal to halve each side’s strategic missile force in return for continued strict observance of the existing Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty.
Perestroika, or restructuring, as vividly and conversationally described in this remarkable manifesto, is based on a profound criticism of the “stagnation” of Soviet society and an insistence on radically reordering its essential economic mechanisms. But perestroika requires for its success a breeze of glasnost blowing through the country’s stultified intellectual and political life.
The more dramatic changes revolve around the other magic word of Gorbachev’s revolution: glasnost, or openness. [...]

The connection between glasnost and perestroika is [..] vital, Gorbachev writes: “Today our main job is to lift the individual spiritually, respecting his inner world and giving him moral strength.” And, he adds, in italics no less, “in short we need broad democratization of all aspects of society.”

That did not work well in the Soviet Union which had zero democratic traditions and none of the institutions that are needed to develop a real democracy.

Later Scheer comes to the international part of the Manifesto. He criticizes some of it to then write:

Basically, Gorbachev argues that the time of the Cold War is over and that the Soviet Union and the United States no longer have a military avenue for pursuing their differences. It is a point not very different than that made by President Richard M. Nixon in his book, “The Real Peace,” which holds that war, either nuclear or conventional, isn’t any longer an option: “Peace is the only option,” Nixon wrote. Gorbachev puts it somewhat differently: “Having entered the nuclear age ... mankind has lost its immortality.” He adds:

“Clausewitz’s dictum that war is the continuation of policy only by different means, which was classical in his time, has grown hopelessly out of date. It now belongs to the libraries. ... Security can no longer be assured by military means–neither by the use of arms or deterrence, nor by continued perfection of the ‘sword’ and ‘shield.’ Attempts to achieve military superiority are preposterous.”

That belief was and is delusional. The U.S. did not swallow that bullshit and, being rid of the former competing power, it proceeded to menace the world more than ever:

The United States has conducted nearly 400 military interventions since 1776, according to innovative research by scholars Sidita Kushi and Monica Duffy Toft.
Until the end of the Cold War, note Kushi and Toft, U.S. military hostility was generally proportional to that of its rivals. Since then, “the U.S. began to escalate its hostilities as its rivals deescalate it, marking the beginning of America’s more kinetic foreign policy.” This recent pattern of international relations conducted largely through armed force, what Toft has termed “kinetic diplomacy,” has increasingly targeted the Middle East and Africa. These regions have seen both large-scale U.S. wars, as in Afghanistan and Iraq, and low-profile combat in nations such as Burkina Faso, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Chad, and Tunisia.

From the abstract of the published study:

According to MIP, the US has undertaken almost 400 military interventions since 1776, with half of these operations undertaken between 1950 and 2019. Over 25% of them have occurred in the post-Cold War period.

Those were 100 intervention after the cold war during which the U.S. tried to implement its policies by military means.

And Gorbachev had thought doing such "hopelessly out of date". His failure to understand that real power flows from the sword was a major defect in his thinking.

His belief was the reason why he fell for sweet 'western' assurances without making sure that they were enforceable. The current proxy war the U.S. is waging against Russia is a direct consequence of this.

As such: Good riddance.

Posted by b on September 1, 2022 at 17:32 UTC | Permalink

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it is easy to shit on gorbachev..... at the time he could be accused of being naive and idealistic, not recognizing the nature of his opposition..

in reading michael hudsons latest book, he basically suggests financial control is what is sought.. if you have that, you don't need to go to war... it seems that is what is at stake here at this moment... unfortunately neither gorbachev or a lot of ordinary people today see the extreme importance of this... there is always some evil lurking in the future... very few are capable of foreseeing it either...

Posted by: james | Sep 1 2022 17:46 utc | 1

History is filled with tragic figures, Gorbachev was one. But when it comes to the USSR's dissolution, many are guilty, Lenin and Stalin foremost. So, there's lots of blame to be spread around, Gorbachev was just the easiest one to point out.

Soon, the Outlaw US Empire will be in worse shape than the former USSR, and who will be blamed for that result? As with the USSR, the list is long; but to be sure, whoever's POTUS will get the blame.

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 1 2022 17:54 utc | 2

Lenin and Stalin found Russia a broken wreck and made it into the world's foremost power of its day. Gorbachev represented a political project which consciously sought to destroy that.

Posted by: Cesare | Sep 1 2022 18:14 utc | 3

When the enemies of your country love you and the citizens of your country hate you, then what are you to your country? Gorbachev is unanimously sanctified in Western press while democratically elected Russian president Putin is vilified. No country needs weak and gullible leaders like Gorbachev. Good riddance indeed.

Posted by: xor | Sep 1 2022 18:15 utc | 4

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 1 2022 17:54 utc | 2

How were Stalin and Lenin foremost guilty for the dissolution of the USSR? They were both leaders who built the USSR and you can criticize the mistakes they made but dissolution of the USSR is not one of them. Certainly if you want to criticize either or both you need to do this more critically. Lenin had to build a system from scratch against the background of the first world war and the civil war with interventions by the west. This was a huge task. Stalin, whom I do not admire at all, had to raise the Russian empire from a simple agrarian society to a highly developed industrial one, also in his later years on the background of the second world war and against the most advanced industrialized country but also having to keep an eye on the west even though it was supposedly an ally.

I sort of understand where you are coming from but it just so happens that Gorbachev was the directly responsible not only for the dissolution, but the lack of vision to make the most out of it and protect Russia.

Posted by: Orage | Sep 1 2022 18:21 utc | 5

how does a person not know the nature of the enemy from watching Vietnamese villages being napalmed? from watching the US cultivate the mujahideen? from the etc, etc, etc that the US engaged in from '45 to '89? gullibility and naivete are excuses. Gorbachev and co didn't "misread" the enemy. They capitulate and happily took their supersized pizza slices. What else is there to know about the man Gorbachev than his appearance in that obscene commercial? he met his doppelgängers in Maggie and Ronnie.

Posted by: rjb1.5 | Sep 1 2022 18:22 utc | 6

Álvaro Cunhal on the resignation of Michail Gorbatchov (December 26, 1991)

These are serious events, not only for the peoples of the Soviet Union, wich are already suffering consequenvies, but also for workers and people around the world.

Posted by: António Ferrão | Sep 1 2022 18:25 utc | 7

To be fair, R.I.P. Mikhail, even the smartest Russian was totally unaware of the level of hatred towards their country. Only since Maidan has western contempt, deceit and outright wickedness raised fully its ugly head.

Posted by: WTFUD | Sep 1 2022 18:29 utc | 8

@ crapitect 9

You offering to go to the frontline numbnuts?

Posted by: WTFUD | Sep 1 2022 18:40 utc | 9

I think Russian criticism is warranted, I think it was indeed vanity and perhaps a bit of hubris that got him. Raygun himself said trust but verify. Raygun had that old Jimmy Stewart act down.

But at the same time I have to give him credit, and Yeltsin has his own huge share of the blame, and its been a while since any western leader looked much better. And the perfidy of the West in all this still causes many brains to lock up.

What I notice is Putin pays his respects to both.

I say Rest In Peace. There are better things to do than kick Gorbachov one more time.

Posted by: Bemildred | Sep 1 2022 18:48 utc | 10

It took a capable and gifted leader, Putin, to start to repair the catastrophic damage done to Russia by gullible and drunken clowns like Gorbachev and Yeltsin. At the time the damage appeared irreparable, and there are limits to what even a Putin could achieve. In all this time, Washington's objectives and intentions and those of its satellites have remained remarkably consistent. The destruction and break up of the Russian Federation into a dozen or so statelets treated as African resource colonies run by comprador oligarchs, coupled with a general depopulation. Indeed the Polish president recently called for the population of Russia to be reduced to 50 million. How this was to be achieved and the fate of the other 100 million people was not explained. The current western "decolonisation" plans for Russia bear a remarkable similarity to the Nazi General Plan Ost of 1941 vintage. 60% of Russians (and, incidentally 85% of Poles), were to "disappear" like the Red Indians, though this would still leave a sizeable rump of expendable slave labour to be used in the new colonies of "Muscovy", "Ukraine". "Caucasus", and the like, with sizeable chunks being gifted to Finland, Romania, and even Japan. It took rivers of blood to prevent this; it is taking great further bloodshed to prevent the implementaion of such plans in their current incarnation.

Posted by: Paul | Sep 1 2022 18:57 utc | 11

osted by: rjb1.5 | Sep 1 2022 18:22 utc | 6

I don't want to shit on Gorbachev, but it is hard to believe he was this naive about the US.

Posted by: pretzelattack | Sep 1 2022 19:00 utc | 12

All these "big man" assertions about who built the Soviet Union!

The 1917 revolution was made by the people of Russia, guided by the Bolshevik party under the leadership of Lenin and Trotsky. But the expected continuation of the revolt in Europe, esp. in Germany, was stillborn.

This gave Stalin an opening to pervert the gains of the revolution and hand them over in deals with the capitalists of the West. Stalin was Gorby's precursor, looking to put the oligarchs back in power.

Putin's remarks about the dissolution of the USSR being a tragedy are echoed by many Russians. And now, I would imagine, by many people around the globe witnessing USA/NATO's bloodthirsty attempts to plunder the world's resources for the benefit of the elite cabal.

Posted by: lindaj | Sep 1 2022 19:01 utc | 13

The word perestroika itself says that it cannot be done. You just cannot rebuild without destroying the structure. If you destroy the structure, you destroy the country. Gorbaczow didn't appear to see it.

Posted by: rp | Sep 1 2022 19:03 utc | 14

Gorbachev was a breath of fresh air...that gave the Russian people pnuemonia. Their state was already in the process of collapse, but he hastened it.

Posted by: Mikhail | Sep 1 2022 19:03 utc | 15

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 1 2022 17:54 utc | 2

I agree karlof, and the more so if we move on from this to realise that Russia swallowed the hard medicine and came out stronger. In the end blind and unthinking adherence to an un-evolving ideology was a dead end. Soviet communism had had its day and was no longer suited to fighting the class struggle because the enemy had become what Jameson called 'late capitalism' (i.e., no longer the big capital facing off the working class of the 19th-early 20th centuries), a very different beast indeed. How the Left has tried to reorganise itself to address this foe is another of the world's tragedies (if not farce if one thinks of the parliamentary 'Left' in the West generally).

Thus, by going through the cold turkey of withdrawal from ideology, Russia was able to see if it could emerge again with its advances intact and yet with a redefined identity. And, not untypically of Russian history, it was a quasi-Tsar who achieved just that. Putin has been the Russian Augustus to Gorbachev's Julius Caesar: the latter could hardly have known how to transition the USSR out of atrophy without a clear model. b calls it naivety, but it's easy to make the accusation with the benefit of 35 years. It was Putin who was able to harness the hindsight, a man forged by the USSR but thrown clear of it through the 90s to learn one key truth advantageous to Russia: the West was now the bloc caught in blind and unthinking adherence to an un-evolving ideology, namely Liberalism.

So, speaking of naivety, as I watch Annalena Baerbock explain how she will continue Germany's support of Ukraine despite the wishes of German voters, I become acutely aware of the stultifying effect of Liberalism, which has now abandoned any pretence to 'democracy' in favour of a transcendent morality ('the right thing to do'), thus revealing itself to be the most abject form of ideology mystification. It will be as ruinous for contemporary Europe as Nazism was for Germany, or late communism was for the DDR and USSR; if current prognostications are right, perhaps worse.

If then the tragedy was Gorbachev as the naive Julius Caesar screwing up the res publica for want of a different mental frame for thinking through contemporary realities, then the real farce and clown show that followed are the consequences of late liberal capitalism corroding the West from within. Russia made it through (we never doubted she would!) because Putin has been able to salvage what was best of the Soviet era and build it into a new framework of Russian sovereignty by slowing excising the corrosive ideology, just as Augustus found the formula for articulating the new realties of the Roman world without jettisoning what really made Rome an effective power in the first place (namely, that the idea of 'Rome' had to break with the model of Mediterranean city-state to become larger territorial governance). What Putin has achieved in 20 years is actually quite astonishing and achieved with an extraordinary inclusive diplomacy. I do not see this ever happening in the West, where the cold truths of the world will steamroller its retarded social and political culture—the moronic nature of wokism, the bubbles of educated middle class banality, the complete failure to understand history, the vacuousness of social media. There will be no renaissance in the west like the one Putin has wrought in Russia. Liberalism is a far more tenacious and pernicious ideology than Nazism and Bolshevism ever were.

Gorbachev then was, perhaps, a necessary tragedy from which Russia has emerged in a better position than it might have been had the Soviet form been retained. Now it remains to be seen whether the West can similarly re-emerge after the coming collapse of liberalism, and do so without a real despotism. I can't see it. If Russia had one tragic Gorbachev we seem to be ruled by scores of lesser clownish copies, less tragic, but more depressing.

Posted by: Patroklos | Sep 1 2022 19:06 utc | 16

"Security can no longer be assured by military means"

Libya, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Yemen... their people likely have a different view, as would their leaders, had they not all been murdered, Assad being the single notable exception thus far.

While the selective list above proves that defeat certainly can be inflicted by military means, victory cannot be assured by military means alone. China knows this, and Russia is doing its best to balance that truth into its calculus.

Posted by: Et Tu | Sep 1 2022 19:13 utc | 17

Posted by: rjb1.5 | Sep 1 2022 19:16 utc | 17

I mean I largely agree with you. as another poster pointed out, Gorbachev is almost deified in the west, hated in Russia.

Posted by: pretzelattack | Sep 1 2022 19:19 utc | 18

I'm surprised the Charles Koch foundation financed that study of US interventions. I would quibble with some of the ways the study classified the interventions, i don't have nearly as rosy a view of US motivations in intervening and Greece and Italy after world war 2, or see its motivations ever including altruism, but the numbers seem solid.

Posted by: pretzelattack | Sep 1 2022 19:22 utc | 19

Posted by: Bemildred | Sep 1 2022 18:48 utc | 9

I would say Putin has better things to do right now than concern himself with the state of the propaganda war in the West, but I think it is a live issue in the US and NATO countries. the narrative around Reagan-Gorbachev and the breakup of the USSR is intimately connected to the justifications for the proxy war, and it needs deconstructing imo.

Posted by: pretzelattack | Sep 1 2022 19:25 utc | 20

@11 Pretzel

Our propaganda is everywhere, all pervasive and almost omnipotent.

Perception is power and the US had hollywood.

If you don't believe it watch how people in the enlightened west vote now... see?

Posted by: S.O. | Sep 1 2022 19:31 utc | 21

The blame for the collapse of the Soviet Union should be shared by those that followed Stalin, a pre-selected bunch of mediocrities given Stalin’s habit of killing off the gifted around him. They allowed alternative power bases to develop due to the lack of rotation of personnel, removed incentives for the more productive worker (yes, these existed under Stalin), and allowed corruption free reign while using fossil fuel foreign earnings to be wasted on the import of consumer goods and food that the Soviet Union was unable to produce. Gorbachev just finished the job, aided by Yeltsin, through a somewhat controlled implosion.

Stalin forced the collectivization necessary to produce the surplus to drive the industrialization of the USSR, carried out in 10 years just in time to stop the Germans. If you read Stalin’s speeches you regularly find him speaking about the necessity of the USSR to industrialize so that it could defeat the Germans/West that wanted to destroy socialism. He had many faults (some greatly exaggerated by Western propaganda) but on balance he was an effective leader who did what was required to beat the German/Western threat. To blame Stalin for the collapse of the USSR is like blaming the builder for the collapse of a house he built left to decay by its new owners.

Posted by: Roger | Sep 1 2022 19:32 utc | 22

I cannot disagree in principle with the premise of MoA's article.

Nevertheless, i wonder whether Gorbachev has been unnecessarily vilified for putting lipstick rhetoric on the reality that the USSR pig had little if any leverage left, being broke and dysfunctional to the point where declaring defeat was merely a matter of how it would be sold to the public.

Perhaps all that peace-loving and hopeful post-cold-war rhetoric was just that: masking the reality of a defeated system that could no longer sustain itself.

Let us not forget, that for every rapacious Western capitalist, there had to be an equally depraved, opportunist, unpatriotic Soviet, willing to sell out his country for personal gain.

I doubt Gorbachov can be personally blamed for that, though being not only familiar, but also responsible and in charge of that system, i understand why Russians still resent him for facilitating circumstances that would have led to so many tragic events.

Posted by: Et Tu | Sep 1 2022 19:35 utc | 23

pretzelattack | Sep 1 2022 19:19 utc | 18
someone else posting as me.

Posted by: rjb1.5 | Sep 1 2022 19:38 utc | 24
"Reagan, despite the CIA’s opposition and that of the US military/security complex, carried out his plan not in order to win the cold war but as Reagan repeatedly stressed to all of us involved to end the Cold War. None of us, Reagan included, had any idea of Soviet collapse. Our purpose was to halt a gratuitous conflict that threatened humanity with nuclear Armageddon.

What we did not realize was that hardline elements of the Soviet Communist Party thought that Gorbachev was making too many concessions to the West too soon without sufficient reciprocal concessions and guarantees. Apparently, Gorbachev himself did not realize it."


I posted these links on the Open thread but then b just offered this thread about Gorbie. I think his last sentence is a little harsh, but no matter.

PCR again from the cold war article:

"It took the neoconservatives time. They had to isolate and marginalize other foreign policy views, monopolize policy positions in the Defense and State departments and National Security Council and use the CIA’s control of the media to form and control the narrative.

If Reagan and Gorbachev had foreseen these developments, they would have had prescience beyond human capability.

The conclusion seems clear. The Politburo destroyed the Soviet Union by arresting Gorbachev.
The removal of the Soviet constraint on Washington’s unilateralism gave the neoconservatives the opportunity to achieve the hegemony they desired, and they took it."

Some may feel he is exonerating himself from blame, which is quite reasonable, but it doesn't mean that his point about prescience is without merit. That said, I agree with b that there should have been a Treaty signed (not that it would have made any difference most likely).

In any case, if Gorbie is so guilty of insouciance, then so are pretty much all the citizens in Europe and the US for allowing neocons and their ilk to take over their nations and turn them into Money Power ruled basket cases.

Posted by: Scorpion | Sep 1 2022 19:39 utc | 25

Gorbachev was the last of Soviet Russia's mistakes. As such, he gets the greatest blame--and yet, he was the best of Soviet Russia's mea culpas.

Kruschev admitted that Stalin's policies were a critical mistake.

Even that's an admittance that every US Preznit after Eisenhower has been unable to make.

Posted by: Pacifica_Advocate | Sep 1 2022 19:48 utc | 26

Four "gravediggers of the USSR" died in 2022. Mikhail Gorbachev was the last to leave.

The three "gravediggers of the USSR", who went before Gorbachev in 2022 was, ex-president of Ukraine Leonid Kravchuk, ex-head of Belarus Stanislav Shushkevich, ex-secretary of state of the Russian Federation Gennady Burbulis.

Posted by: rp | Sep 1 2022 19:54 utc | 27

Although by taking Gorbatchev in isolation, we adhere to the theory of a "ruler" or "big man who is responsible, I wonder if we should take more into account the division within the Soviet system. The peasants and the Nomenklatura. Some 750'000 people had acquired all the power within the soviet stucture. These were the replacements for the old aristocracy (1.5 million). They would later on go on to become the leaders in the financial mafias that ruined Russia under Yeltsin.

Gorbatchev would have only moved in a "proto-liberal clique" with many of the same nasty habits as we see in today's Oligarchies. Money, money, me, me, power and privilege. They would have been the "foil" by which he judged his own actions - not the mass of peasants. (Note; one reason that Stalin had such a big army, was to teach them how to drive and do basic maintenance, read and other useful "modern" necessities, ie educate them.).

Yes, he must have been too trusting of the US but he may have thought that they would react in the same way as the Nomenklatura, and think mainly of their own personal privileges and bank accounts, leaving Russia as she was.

Posted by: Stonebird | Sep 1 2022 19:56 utc | 28

Scipio Aemilianus, the Roman general who defeated and destroyed Carthage in the Third Punic War, wept over the destruction of that city. He knew, and told advisers like Polybius, that, without a powerful rival like Carthage, Rome was bound to degenerate.

Just so, America needed a rival like the Soviet Union. Without it, we have only degenerated.

Posted by: Lysias | Sep 1 2022 19:59 utc | 29

Any talk about the Soviet Union being ready to die ignores the FACT that the 1991 referendum overwhelmingly showed massive support from Soviet citizens for the union.

The USSR didn't "collapse" it was demolished. And the traitors that signed the dissolution were bribed by the US to do so.
The citizens who voted to keep their union were right. Since the destruction of the USSR the looting, impoverishment, deaths and emigration in the former republics show that they were right.

Posted by: wagelaborer | Sep 1 2022 20:09 utc | 30

@Pacifica_Advocate | Sep 1 2022 19:48 utc | 28

Kruschev admitted that Stalin's policies were a critical mistake.

Khrushchev lied.

Posted by: Petri Krohn | Sep 1 2022 20:14 utc | 31

"Enemy of the State" final segment. At Time stamp 3:53 of this video, after a disaterous CIA operations, the only two surviving CIA operatives, under FBI interrogation, shapeshifting their failure to "Training Ops". Similarly here, the Kherson Counteroffensive failure is called "war-gaming", after thousands of Ukrainian soldiers died after US War-gaming.
US war-gamed with Ukraine ahead of counteroffensive and encouraged more limited mission
Katie Bo Lillis Natasha Bertrand
By Katie Bo Lillis and Natasha Bertrand, CNN
Updated 9:33 AM EDT, Thu September 1, 2022
Enemy of the state(p2)
Feb 16, 2010

Posted by: KitaySupporter | Sep 1 2022 20:24 utc | 32

Posted by: rjb1.5 | Sep 1 2022 19:38 utc | 25

27 is not me. the little force of trolls are stealing names again.

Posted by: pretzelattack | Sep 1 2022 20:29 utc | 33

Lysias | Sep 1 2022 19:59 utc | 31
Rome was never more peaceful than when Hannibal was marching on its gates, was it? even though it is better to "busy giddy minds with foreign broils".

that 'war=peace' is an idea with a very ancient history. the hominid who clubs his neighbor with a bone 1st has peace.

Posted by: rjb1.5 | Sep 1 2022 20:31 utc | 34

Two minutes of non-hate

Finnish media, like all Western media, has for the last six months been spewing Russophobic hatred 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. I avoid the mainstream media, but I sometimes come across the news on the car radio.

Today I had the radio tuned into the 3 o'clock news from the Finnish state broadcasting corporation YLE, the most Russophobic of them all.

I was surprised that there was no "hate Russia" story. Instead, the last item was a neutral story, that the President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin will not be attending the funeral of Mikhail Gorbachev, because of scheduling issues. He had said his farewells at the hospital earlier today.


There is a saying among Finnish workers, that if the employers agree with you, then you must be doing something wrong.

Posted by: Petri Krohn | Sep 1 2022 20:35 utc | 35

Mikhael Gorbatchov was in favour of open and frank discussion to reform a failing system. Western society still has not advanced to the point where policy failure can be discussed.

Posted by: Passerby | Sep 1 2022 20:40 utc | 36


Posted by: Jpc | Sep 1 2022 20:40 utc | 37

Dmitry Orlov has a good take on Russian leaders weak and strong on his obit for Dugina, he has it available in full:

Ukrainian terrorists assassinate daughter of Russian philosopher Alexander Dugin

Posted by: LightYearsFromHome | Sep 1 2022 20:42 utc | 38

pretzelattack | Sep 1 2022 20:29 utc | 36
sartrian flies are abuzz amidst the vermin rot. we'll have to let b sort it, if possible, since a god kissing carrion breeds maggots in a dead dog.

Posted by: rjb1.5 | Sep 1 2022 20:52 utc | 39

Passerby | Sep 1 2022 20:40 utc | 39

Yes, the irony is that a "frank and open discussion" was not what was required to reform the failing system. Perestroika should have preceeded Glasnost, not the other way around. He was a good human being and a poor leader.

Posted by: Сергей | Sep 1 2022 21:05 utc | 40

What seemed impossible — the fall of the Soviet Union — only took six years under Gorbachev's "leadership." Nothing is permanent, political systems can also be quite temporary.

It can happen to the USA too. You had a taste of it in the Trump years, and now with the demented regime of Joe Biden. Some Americans think, it might happen in 10, 20 years, but it might happen overnight as with Gorbachev, in 4-5 years.

Posted by: rp | Sep 1 2022 21:05 utc | 41

Posted by: rp | Sep 1 2022 19:03 utc | 13

Very sharp observation, the word says it all if only one pays some attention. To reconstruct destruction is a prerequisite.

Posted by: Paco | Sep 1 2022 21:14 utc | 42

Posted by: rp | Sep 1 2022 19:03 utc | 13

Very sharp observation, the word says it all if only one pays some attention. To reconstruct destruction is a prerequisite.

Posted by: Paco | Sep 1 2022 21:14 utc | 46

I give it until April of next year. The Mid-Terms are this year, and there is no indication they will happen at all. After this, then let the "societal reorganization" begin.

Posted by: Mann Friedmann | Sep 1 2022 21:35 utc | 43

Posted by: Paco | Sep 1 2022 21:14 utc | 46

The Chinese did it correctly, they first did the Glasnost, and then did the correction and repair. They didn't do a perestroika. They also proved to the world that a certain type of capitalism can be created wrapped in a communist shawl, best of both systems for the good of the society.

Posted by: rp | Sep 1 2022 21:45 utc | 44

@Posted by: rp | Sep 1 2022 21:05 utc | 44

I give you ... Lizz Truss ... the UK's Gorbachev society wrecker?

Posted by: Roger | Sep 1 2022 21:45 utc | 45

My opinion of Russians is that despite their strengths, they are easy to fall for Western propaganda. Even knowing that the Western powers want to destroy Russia, they still believe in many of the same myths that the West spread, like democracy, freedom of trading (this does't exist at all), the power of Western currencies, etc. This is so much so, that it was the propaganda that destroyed URSS: most people in Russia wanted to be part of this wonderful thing called Western civilization (capitalism) even at the price of destroying their own society and values, which were build during several centuries of struggles. In a different way, the Chinese decided to chart their own path and continue to make changes to communism, instead of succumbing to Western institutions. Nowadays the Russians are having a moment of clarity, but unfortunately the West is too good at propagandizing their "values". This is the main risk that Russia has for the future.

Posted by: JamesFav | Sep 1 2022 21:46 utc | 46

Stalkerzone published an absolutely damning summary of the policies Gorbachev used to bring down the USSR. Seemed quite deliberate rather than naive, but to each their own.

Posted by: Arkady Bogdanov | Sep 1 2022 21:49 utc | 47

That Pizza Hut commercial did not age well. It was quite embarrassing to watch. Giving him a toast with pizza slices for his 'most important achievement'... wow.
No wonder Russians resent him and working real hard not to be humiliated like that ever again.

Posted by: hopehely | Sep 1 2022 21:51 utc | 48

The USSR held Communism as the highest goal. The US , Liberty. Where are they now.
The Ronans held Civic Order as their goal, and were forged into this by repeated, endless attacks and invasions thru their lands ( fertile, central, " All Roads Lead to Rome" ) and security meant ceaseless war and expansion. It was expand or die.
Carthage didnt have to be on a permanent war footing, didnt need war , but earned their fate. Romans were an instrument of Nemesis. The Fall of Jerusalem and its sack was similar. Stiff necked pride didnt serve those Hebrews. God had His own plans.
We are seeing God acting in our times.

Posted by: Philip H Gattey | Sep 1 2022 21:56 utc | 49

If you managed to deceive a person, it doesn’t mean that he is fool. It means you were trusted more than you deserved to be.
- Charles Bukowski.

Posted by: Moses22 | Sep 1 2022 22:10 utc | 50

The context, which is well known but little understood, in which the history of the Soviet Union unfolded was that of continual relentless and ruthless campaigns to wreck it.
It is within this context that Russians' alleged failure to educate themselves in 'democracy' or what b calls " zero democratic traditions and none of the institutions that are needed to develop a real democracy' have to be viewed.
In fact few countries have more robust democratic traditions than Russia, in which the great majority pf people traditionally lived in self regulating communities-albeit under the arbitrary rule of an aristocrats' state. The Soviet itself is a democratic institution, invented in Russia, far superior to the facades of representative democracy currently elevating the Liz Trusses, Bozo Scholtzes and criminal Bidens to office.
From the C18th it was apparent to wise observers that the future of the European world lay in one or other of the burgeoning land empires racing towards the Pacific. It is an indication of the relative strength of the competitors that they met in California and Alaska. But the USA had one advantage that Russia lacked, that of being a virtual island. Russia, on the other hand, has always been afflicted by envious and treacherous neighbours. To defend itself against then required an enormous investment in the military and, over the past couple of centuries, the loss of millions of men in battle and commensurate losses in scorched crops, devastated cities and war born famines.
I do not believe that democracy- by far the strongest form of government- was impossible in the Soviet Union but it would certainly have opened the state up-as the National Endowment of Democracy and George Soros would attest- to continual and hostile interference on another front.
The truth is that the history of the USSR, which was exemplified in the overwhelming concentration on building heavy industry and providing the state with the wherewithal to defend itself, put enormous difficulties in the way of de-centralisation of government and devolving power.
Democracy is always, in the short term, liable to produce mistakes, from which populations educate themselves and, become, it is thought, stronger by overcoming them. But in the Soviet Union, although there were many mistakes, none of them did not lead to tragedy, there was no room for any more.
The best hope for the Soviet Union was in 1945 when "The Dawn" was widely predicted by Communists who took the view that, having defeated their enemies, in alliance with the only other candidates for enmity, the opportunity for insisting on a more democratic, and therefore stronger, system of government existed. And so it did.
The United States' ruling class however decided otherwise. It wanted war. And the other allies, most notably Britain, lacked the courage to insist on peace.
The result: we have war today and we have had wars since 1945, including the most vicious genocidal attacks on communities suspected of wanting peace in which far more millions of people have been killed than even the most venal anticommunist propagandist/historian would dare to blame on Stalin. As to Britain, fortune has not favoured the corrupt and the cowardly: too corrupt to insist on pursuing a course outside the pocket of the United States and standing on guard, together with the working people of Europe united, while the Soviet Union extended its experiments in national liberation and social justice, Britain disappeared into the dark and foul orifice of NATO where it has rotted ever since.
It is hard to blame Gorbachev or Stalin, Krushchev, Brezhnev or Lenin who barely lived into 1924, effectively an assassin's victim. And it is harder still to blame the Russian soul or a history in which hard knocks predominated. Nor can the CPSU 'hardliners' be blamed.
And maybe there is no blame anyway: the net result of all the evil times is a state which is very happy not to view itself as privileged, not to wish to be a part of the Golden Billion, to ask nothing but that the West recognise, what the world outside it knows, which is that all lives and all nations, and all colours and creeds are equal and that in peace we can achieve all our longings, and solve all our problems. All that it needs-and perhaps all that old Gorbachev believed/deceived himself was happening-is for the imperialists to grow up and stop trying to dominate.

Posted by: bevin | Sep 1 2022 22:14 utc | 51


I'm pretty sure the sockpuppeteers are still active. Ex.

Posted by: pretzelattack | Sep 1 2022 21:13 utc | 45

Highly doubt that's the usual pretzelattack.

Posted by: Tom_Q_Collins | Sep 1 2022 22:27 utc | 52

Rather harsh, b.

I'll say a prayer for Mr. Gorbachev's soul.

Certainly, he made many mistakes, few leaders don't. He also wasn't the only man in the Russian government at the time, one wonders why his colleagues and staff didn't advise him better or replace him sooner if they had better ideas about how to manage the hugely consequential and unpredictable period of history they happened to find themselves in.

The Soviet Union certainly shouldn't have continued, and likely couldn't. Its fall was catastrophic for Russia and many of its neighbours, but it could've been much worse. It's to the credit of Mikhail Gorbachev and his Soviet colleagues that it ended as peacefully as it did. I don't expect the American empire to expire so gracefully.

Posted by: ZX | Sep 1 2022 22:32 utc | 53

pretty sure he died a few days ago. does your disbelief in "space" now apply to "time"? you should be grateful, anyway; his actions led to germany unifying which helped you in your quest to ignore the existence of "east" and "west".

i'm just glad putin never fell for US bullshit. it would have been so terrible if that totally imaginary scenario ever happened.

Posted by: the pair | Sep 1 2022 22:57 utc | 54

As far as I am aware, Mikhail Gorbachev had family connections in Ukraine (his mother's family was of Ukrainian descent) and three relatives of his died during the famine that affected eastern Ukraine, the Caucasus, parts of eastern and southern European Russia, western Siberia and Kazakhstan in the early 1930s. Both Gorbachev's grandfathers were caught up in purges initiated by Joseph Stalin's government in the 1930s. Perhaps it is no surprise then that Gorbachev joined the Khrushchev faction in the 1950s in denouncing many if not most of the policies associated with Joseph Stalin.

Indeed after Joseph Stalin's death in 1953, nearly all Soviet leaders from Khrushchev to Gorbachev had some personal or family association with Ukraine and this personal / family association may have played a large part in post-1953 Soviet decisions to locate much heavy industry and much of the aerospace industry in particular in Ukraine, perhaps at the expense of other parts of the Soviet Union and the Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic (the future Russian Federation) in particular. This "decentralisation" of a sort (concentrating certain industries in particular parts of the USSR, especially if they were buffer zones against Western influence, and in Warsaw Pact nations like East Germany and Poland when they should perhaps have been spread out through the country according to other, more pragmatic or cost-effective criteria such as proximity to sources of raw materials or population densities in particular areas) may have been costly in the long term for the Soviet Union.

In the past I have seen online articles with a theme of the Soviet Union having spent large amounts of money setting up industries in the Baltics, Ukraine and parts of eastern Europe while neglecting some of its own industrial areas needing new investment, in the 1960s and onwards. If there is substance to this idea, I wonder how much of it was actually based on the need for reconstruction in eastern Europe after World War II, how much was due to concerns with propping up a buffer zone between the Soviet Union and the West (and trying to buy the loyalty of people living in eastern Europe), and how much was due to Soviet leaders' connections with Ukraine and their dislike of or even hatred for Joseph Stalin for what his policies did to their families.

Certainly Khrushchev's decision to join Crimea to Ukraine, without consulting the Duma or the Supreme Presidium, in 1954 and the failure of later Soviet leaders to review that decision and return Crimea to the RSFSR should be seen in the context of their personal and family connections in Ukraine.

Posted by: Jen | Sep 1 2022 23:24 utc | 55

Re my comment @ 59:

"... In the past I have seen online articles with a theme of the Soviet Union having spent large amounts of money setting up industries in the Baltics, Ukraine and parts of eastern Europe while neglecting some of its own industrial areas needing new investment, in the 1960s and onwards ..."

I should have reworded that sentence to say that the Soviet Union more or less neglected industrial areas in the RSFSR itself while redirecting resources to the Baltics, Ukraine and so on (all buffer areas between the RSFSR and the West, by the way) and the rest of the paragraph should have said that this policy would have been costly in the long-term not just for the USSR itself but also for the RSFSR when it became the Russian Federation under Boris Yeltsin in 1990s.

Among other things, such past policy may partly explain why now the Russian Federation shows no enthusiasm for reclaiming former Soviet territory despite the Western MSM propaganda which is obsessed with the notion of Russia trying to revive the Soviet Union.

Posted by: Jen | Sep 1 2022 23:35 utc | 56

while not beeing a fan of Stalin, at all, however, I am grateful because he was the one in charge when Russia defaeted the nazis (my gratitude goes mainly to the Russian people),
while not fan of Gorbatchev, especially for the pizza of the shame, I am grateful because he was the one in charge when Russia spared Russia, Europe and probably the world, a nuclear war (thus thwarting the "plans" of the US/NATO's Strangelove).
Laying on him the shared responsibility for the fall of the soviet union, is too easy a way of avoiding an objective analysis of the failures of a corrupted system.
So RIP and thanks for the right moves he did, which does not prevent denouncing the bad ones.

Posted by: Tak-tik | Sep 1 2022 23:40 utc | 57

In the former USSR everyone knows The Marked One was corrupt and was bought completely by the West and deliberately took steps to ensure destruction of the country. I would never say RIP to that p.o.s. -- Good Riddance and Burn in Hell if definitely more appropriate. Hopefully in one of the hottest chambers next Yeltsin, that f%&ing drunkard who sold the entire country to 7 Jews (they refer to them as Septimal Banksters).

for Karlof e al:
Stalin is equal to Putin and will be remembered by the peoples of Russia as such. He took the country, that Lenin, another dumb-f&*ck ran into the ground (Russia seems to be going through such near-destruction cycles every 100 years), and then Stalin did something that no one before him has ever managed to accomplish -- he rebuilt USSR into a major economic and military power, right in time for the Western invasion in 1941 (he did this between 1924 and 1941 - in 17 years).

Now Putin has done the same. Luckily Putin had 22 years before the West invaded. And unlike Stalin, who did not have enough time to break the neck of the Western hydra on its own territory, Putin did not wait. Putin also ensured that militarily Russia is much more powerful than the West this time around (thanks to his huge attention, effort, and investment into Sarmats, Zirkons, Kinzhals, S500, and Poseidon which are all but guarantee the West has 0% of surviving if they decide to repeat 1941).

Let's hope like Stalin, Putin will choke the life out of the Neo-Nazi West and bring another 100 years of peace to the rest of the world. The murderous, genocidal mentality and the insatiable bloodthirst of the West is such that no one expects it to ever become normal. But every 100 years or so it seems to be Russia's role to smash the teeth of this monster back to its skull to buy the world 70-100 years of peace...

Posted by: RockTime | Sep 1 2022 23:44 utc | 58

Gorbachev was a prostitute, a bastard, and a traitor. Patriotic Russians ought to piss on his grave. That is my only eulogy for him.

Posted by: Nate | Sep 2 2022 0:04 utc | 59

There are better things to do than kick Gorbachov one more time. Posted by: Bemildred | Sep 1 2022 18:48 utc | 9

Nope - he should be kicked every time his name comes up for destroying, not improving, the USSR, ushering in a drunk, incompetent, powerless Yeltsin, the collapse of the Soviet/Russian economy, allowing US/CIA infiltration of all Russian state institutions. It unleashed the US Hegemon, and all this has a *direct* line to the NATO/Ukraine conflict today.

The *dumbest* man in the world at that time and the West loved him for just those reasons.

Gorby's ignorance and gullibility should NEVER be forgotten.

Posted by: daffyDuct | Sep 2 2022 0:21 utc | 60

Gorbachov was responsible for the collapse of the USSR But so was Stalin for failing to inform his successors that they would have to re-introduce capitalism. That was done in China by Deng Xiaoping and today we witness the tremendous success of China still under the control of the communist party. All Soviet communists failed.

Posted by: Bill | Sep 2 2022 0:47 utc | 61

Hindsight is wonderful for Monday morning quarterbacks. But to navigate the Crashing Rocks of geopolitics in real time is not for the faint hearted. Gorbachev did the best he could under the trying circumstances of his time.

Does anyone really think that if he had Reagan commit his verbal promise of not an inch east of East Germany to paper that the Americans would not have done what they did in the past 30 years?

How many US-Russia treaties have gone by the wayside? ABM. INF.

How about the One China Policy?

The words of the Americans are worth shit. The signed agreements of the Americans are worth less than shit.

Gorbachev is NOT visiting Reagan who along with Rumsfield and Madeline Not-So-Bright are frying in hell right now!

Posted by: Sam Smith | Sep 2 2022 1:15 utc | 62

Gorbachev was the last of Soviet Russia's mistakes.

Posted by: Pacifica_Advocate | Sep 1 2022 19:48 utc | 28

Gorby was hand-picked by Andropov and Gromyko, just as Putin was (possibly with the aid of a little mild extortion) by Yeltsin.

Gorbachev's autobiography amply demonstrates how much the man loved a good position-paper.

I suspect his astonishing naivete in not getting assurances by the highest officers of the main NATO powers against extension to the East formalized in public agreement came from simple projection of Soviet governance--not that even signed public agreements matter now to the "Empire of Lies," starting with its total contempt for the UN Charter (except where advantageous), followed by Minsk for dessert (what about a second helping?).

Posted by: John Kennard | Sep 2 2022 1:17 utc | 63

Posted by: Tom_Q_Collins | Sep 1 2022 22:27 utc | 56

that (45) wasn't me. i guess i should feel honored, i've seen other regulars targeted.

Posted by: pretzelattack | Sep 2 2022 1:34 utc | 64

Good man , good intentions, caught between a rock and hard place . Was a mistake to trust the Americans at all .

Posted by: Buford T. Justice | Sep 2 2022 3:10 utc | 65

I believe it was a Politburo complaint that Gorbachev was too subject to influence of his wife Raisa. For one selected by Yuri Andropov he seems to have unlearned CPSU doctrine with respect to ideological danger from West and to have been seduced by celebrity status.

It is strange how he was brought to Moscow as breath of fresh air and he imported Yeltsin as enforcer even though a drunk and lost control of him

It is hard to see anything other than Gorbachev losing control of events

Posted by: Paul Greenwood | Sep 2 2022 3:18 utc | 66

Jen [59]

Have you ever wondered why US defence contractor are based where they are ? Why Texas ? Why California ? Pork Barrel exists in systems like USSR too

I suspect as I was told the Balts were more skilled than Russians in the main and Ukraine was The Pale and no doubt had Jewish technical skills which were augmented by captured Germans. Carl Zeiss Ikon cameras were rebadged as “Kiev” in factories looted from Jena and Dresden

German rocket engineers were transported to USSR

Posted by: Paul Greenwood | Sep 2 2022 3:26 utc | 67

Posted by: Paul Greenwood | Sep 2 2022 3:26 utc | 72

'.....Jewish technical skills which were augmented by captured Germans. Carl Zeiss Ikon cameras were rebadged as “Kiev” in factories looted from Jena and Dresden

Let me share my experiences/collections..... complete Praktica (East Germany) AC-1 camera plus zoom lenses packed box still mint conditions.... I bought it in 1970s from Spiratone... Flushing NY or maybe other stores in 5th Ave .... I also have an Exakta VX 1000 35mm Film Camera, East Germany and two Rolliflex twin lenses reflex camera. I was working for American travel...

further US also captured SS Nazi - Dr. Wernher von Braun was one of the most important rocket.... and not forgetting Chinese scientist....Dr. Qian Xuesen, or Hsue-Shen Tsien co-founder of Jet Propulsion Lab accused being commie and deported, become...Father of China's space rocketry......

There are only two space stations... China's Tiangong-3 space station and International Space Station (ISS). I believe 99% Americans believe China stole the blueprints from the US....

Posted by: JC | Sep 2 2022 4:39 utc | 68

I believe 99% Americans believe China stole the blueprints from the US....
Posted by: JC | Sep 2 2022 4:39 utc | 73

99% also believe they 'invented' ISS. In reality they're bought from Soviet originally named MIR2.

Posted by: Lucci | Sep 2 2022 6:24 utc | 69

@Posted by: Bill | Sep 2 2022 0:47 utc | 65

Capitalism is a system where a capitalist elite controls society (the true meaning of oligarchic liberalism), China utilized aspects of the market system and private property but kept the Party as preeminent and the "commanding heights" (banking, energy, land etc.) of the economy under state ownership. There became an over emphasis on markets and concentrated wealth in the first decade of this century, requiring a Xi to cut out the cancer of corruption and remind the billionaires who the real boss was. Every company still has its workers committee to help guide its actions. That is a socialist market economy, not liberal capitalism - billionaires will be disciplined if they forget who is the boss or threaten to usurp the boss.

Stalin did what was needed to win the war with the Germans and their allies, and then stay strong enough to dissuade a US attack, which put tremendous strains on a society significantly destroyed and depopulated by the war. Krushchev tried some opening up but was quickly overthrown, then Brezhnev came in and mediocrity and corruption abounded. Up until the 1970s the Soviet Union had very robust economic growth. The creation of markets for consumer goods and produce would have helped, but a rush to true capitalism would have produced the result that Gorbachev got in 1991 - throwing away what Stalin had achieved.

Posted by: Roger | Sep 2 2022 6:45 utc | 70

From a RAND report of the 1980s

"the Soviet Union has been closing the gap with the United States and with some other countries in the West.
From about one-quarter the size of the U.S. economy in 1928, the Soviet economy climbed to about 40 percent in 1955, 50 percent in 1965, and about 60 percent in 1977. Soviet GNP per capita was also catching up, reaching 52 percent of the U.S. level by 1975"

Brezhnev took over in 1964 and a form of collective leadership was instituted, with heads of departments allowed to stay in their position rather than rotated which facilitated empire and clique building and corruption, and pay for performance was removed (therefore no incentive to produce more). Perestroika without glasnost, as practised by Deng could have been very successful before the ministry empires ossified and corruption became rampant.

Posted by: Roger | Sep 2 2022 6:59 utc | 71

Gorbachev would be remembered by the Russians, especially the young Russians, and the inhabitants of Russian Federation, and most of the former USSR republics as a failed, gullible apparatchik, rather than a politician. His name will fall into the garbage of history in those countries. Most young people there consider him as a traitor, and some don't even consider him as a Russian.

Posted by: rp | Sep 2 2022 7:46 utc | 72

Never been to Russia , have you rp ? I'm married to a Russian . lived in Russia , have many Russian and Ukraine friends, your post is nonsense.

Posted by: Bufford T. Justice | Sep 2 2022 7:52 utc | 73

Lenin and Stalin found Russia a broken wreck and made it into the world's foremost power of its day.

That is simply untrue. Russia was the fastest growing economy in Europe prior to 1914 which is why Germany had to destroy it BEFORE France and Russia were simply too powerful for the German Reich to withstand. It was exactly what USA is doing with EU and China today fearful of the Eurasian Bridge through Russia sidelining US influence and economic power.

Factories in Russia were bigger scale than in Western Europe which is why strikes were common - Siemens was well-entrenched inside the Russian Empire, French, Belgian, British investors were heavily involved - in my own family an ancestor had a huge portfolio of Russian bonds and others had their company bank accounts in St Petersburg.

Lenin was a German agent just as Z is an US agent. His job was to end Kerensky's support for the war and accept Brest-Litovsk. They had to kill Mirbach the German Ambassador to cover the links of Bolsheviks to German paymasters.

Stalin electrified and industrialised by selling any assets he could to lure Western companies like Ford to build plants and sent skilled engineers - whom he later put into Show Trials.

German weapons manufacturers were invited to circumvent Versailles restrictions by building plants inside USSR - Junckers, Messerschmitt, Krupp - they were all there training the Reichswehr and Luftwaffe.

Stalin was selling paintings to Andrew Mellon (US National Art Gallery in DC) to raise forex.

Stalin was dependent on Skoda in Czechoslovakia for weapons which is why 1938 was such a disaster.

The real boost to USSR came with German war booty. But for the seizure of German technology and scientists both US and Soviet economies would have imploded post-1945.......USSR would have collapsed if Hitler had not attacked - but his regime would have collapsed in 1941 if he did not..........

US would have been in secular stagnation without WW2 and building a War Economy like The USSR and Germany

Posted by: Paul Greenwood | Sep 2 2022 8:38 utc | 74

JC [73]

Praktica = VEB Pentacon, Dresden
Originally with Meyer lenses made in Dresden later incorporated into Kombinat Carl Zeiss which later employed 60,000

Exakta was an interesting camera in that you could cut film in the camera

What astounded me was that a Praktica was relatively cheap in the West but cost a doctor a month's salary in GDR.

Zeiss Jena was also responsible for optical targeting systems for T-72 tanks and had a whole secret section removed to USSR in 1990

Posted by: Paul Greenwood | Sep 2 2022 8:42 utc | 75

Never been to Russia , have you rp ? I'm married to a Russian . lived in Russia , have many Russian and Ukraine friends, your post is nonsense.

Posted by: Bufford T. Justice | Sep 2 2022 7:52 utc | 78

I know Russia, the Soviet one and the perestroika one, and the Yeltsin one and Putin's Russia. Gorbachev's BS perestroika damaged Russia a lot. Sure, you have Ukrainian friends, and that's to be seen.

Posted by: rp | Sep 2 2022 9:42 utc | 76

If only the patriotic coup members in August 1991 had put Gorbachëv and Yeltsin up against a wall and shot them both, the world would have been an infinitely better place.

Posted by: Biswapriya Purkayast | Sep 2 2022 10:57 utc | 77

Good Riddance and Burn in Hell if definitely more appropriate. Hopefully in one of the hottest chambers next Yeltsin


Let's hope like Stalin, Putin will choke the life out of the Neo-Nazi West and bring another 100 years of peace to the rest of the world. 

Posted by: RockTime | Sep 1 2022 23:44 utc | 62

A toast to all of that. Rock on.


There are better things to do than kick Gorbachov one more time. Posted by: Bemildred | Sep 1 2022 18:48 utc | 9

Nope - he should be kicked every time his name comes up

Posted by: daffyDuct | Sep 2 2022 0:21 utc | 64

ONE MORE TIME! We're gonna celebrate, oh yeah, all right, GORBACHOV'S BURNIIING

Posted by: Arganthonios | Sep 2 2022 11:36 utc | 78

The only daughter of Gorbachev, Irina lives in Bavaria, Germany. And his two granddaughters, Ksenia and Anastasia also live in Germany, Ksenia in Berlin and calls herself "Frau Guidotti" in her wine business. Anastasia lives in Bavaria with her husband. That's the Gorbachev legacy.

Gorbachev's perestroika damaged so many soviet people's lives, broke so many families.

Posted by: rp | Sep 2 2022 12:12 utc | 79

Posted by: Paul Greenwood | Sep 2 2022 8:38 utc | 78

You say Lenin was a German agent. I know Trotsky went out to Russia starting in NYC funded by the Schiffs et alia (and their journey took them through Germany); was Lenin not also funded by those networks given how closely he ended up working with T?

Posted by: Scorpion | Sep 2 2022 12:44 utc | 80

anybody have some good links on the Ukrainian takeover of Crimea during the 1990's? it seems that episode is carefully airbrushed out of the current propaganda fest, and I would like to know more about it.

Posted by: pretzelattack | Sep 2 2022 13:08 utc | 81

Gorbachev wasn't gullible. He was a traitor.

Posted by: FVK | Sep 2 2022 13:37 utc | 82

Posted by: Scorpion | Sep 2 2022 12:44 utc | 84

Lenin was sent in "sealed train" by General Ludendorff, dictator of Germany in WW1.

Trotsky was a Menshevik - and although Schiff may have funded him he travelled in a British warship and was the British "antidote" to the German Boilshevik Lenin.

In fact Trotsky was so "British" that he was aided by Major Hill

Hill helped Trotsky set up GRU

There is a much more intimate connection between MI6 and GRU than people really are aware of which is why MI6 has such a special place in the pantheon of Soviet/Russian enemies - and why Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy was so well-regarded by Yuri Andropov.

Posted by: Paul Greenwood | Sep 2 2022 14:26 utc | 83

Lenin wanted to form a Communal form of government but failed in no small way thanks in part from the attacks of the US, UK, France, etc; also by the reluctance of farmers. Then came Stalin and fixed it all.

Posted by: Viktor K | Sep 2 2022 15:05 utc | 84

Needless to say, it's difficult to judge Gorbachev. He had an impossible task. Given the variables and constraints, I find it hard to imagine a different historical trajectory than that which has taken place!

We don't judge the person, but his actions and events of the time are chock full of lessons for us. His naivité - our naivité - about liberalism, propaganda, idealism is probably the biggest lesson. There is no such thing is a 'good' government let alone empire. Power and control are what it's all about no matter what utopian appearances are put on. We would do well to remember this, even after the unipolar world is done. There's a reason God warned the Jews against having a king!

Posted by: Salaam | Sep 2 2022 15:26 utc | 85

@76: "His name will fall into the garbage of history in those countries."

I think the Marked One should be called "Garbage-ov". That's a more appropriate name for this piece of shit.

and @63: "Gorbachev was a prostitute, a bastard, and a traitor. Patriotic Russians ought to piss on his grave. That is my only eulogy for him."

Wholeheartedly agree!

It is too bad Garbage-ov was not tried for treason while this Western whore and traitor was still alive. Many people in Russia think he should be tried posthumously, just to make sure it will never be forgotten in the subsequent History who that lowlife was.

Posted by: RockTime | Sep 2 2022 15:39 utc | 86

There is a popular misconception that the USSR was in its death throes anyway, it couldn't've been reformed, and nothing could've saved it. This is absolutely not true. The USSR was perfectly viable; the government system was intact and functional. I know, I was there. It sure experienced economic difficulties, but it'd survived worse in the past, and it would've survived this time.

That doomed it was a combination of the hostility of the West and betrayal of the Soviet elite, with Gorbachev being among the first. And let us not forget a significant role his wife, Raisa, played in all that with her love for diamonds and fur coats. I don't know whether that was his naïveté, incompetence, or greed, or a combination of these admirable qualities. But in the end, Gorbachev simply sold out his country for a handful of colored glass beads, that's all. I hope he rots in hell.

Posted by: EugeneGur | Sep 2 2022 15:47 utc | 87

You say Lenin was a German agent. I know Trotsky went out to Russia starting in NYC funded by the Schiffs et alia (and their journey took them through Germany); was Lenin not also funded by those networks given how closely he ended up working with T?

Posted by: Scorpion | Sep 2 2022 12:44 utc | 84

If Lenin were so funded, it would be consistent with the Schiff et al. banking cartel's strategy of funding both sides of a conflict until the cartel decided which one it wanted to lose and would then cease funding that side.

Posted by: David Levin | Sep 2 2022 15:52 utc | 88

Posted by: Paul Greenwood | Sep 2 2022 14:26 utc | 87

Thanks. I believe I had confused Trotsky et alia's trip through Halifax, London, Germany and Sweden - the last two in a train - with Lenin's 'sealed train' trip. I thought they came out together.

I have no doubt at all that Western intelligence was all over the revolution one of whose first tasks after taking over was to round up all the gold and ship it back to their sponsors, Intelligence and Banksters being inseparable from the beginning....

As have mentioned earlier on this forum my knowledge of the Russian revolution is extremely sketchy. Here is his biographical essay on Lenin:

Trotsky was murdered, I believe, in the tiny village in Michoacan a good friend of mine lived in for many years and where I stayed for a while as well. A small world...

Posted by: Scorpion | Sep 2 2022 16:16 utc | 89

The US 'won' the Cold War? Then how is it that there is now a Zimbabwe instead of a Rhodesia, why is South Africa still not under apartheid? No, not because of sanctions. No matter the codswallop the feckless Barack Hussein has been known to spout.

By the by, how is it that the US and its running dogs see no harm in creating new countries in Africa, but somehow European boundaries are sacrosanct. OK, except for Kosovo.

Posted by: DilNir | Sep 2 2022 17:24 utc | 90

@karlof1 2

The Soviet archives and contemporaneous reporting reflect that Lenin's modern social-democratic Jacobists saw themselves as "democratic revolutionaries" leading a "democratic movement" against failing capitalism, and the USSR largely succeeded in introducing compelling local democracy. Unfortunately, as a result of enduring Western hostility, the protracted civil war, the preamble to WW II and the war itself, all of which necessitated a strong central government and centralized management of production, local democracy was utterly dominated by centralized autocracy.

The same sources reflect that before and after WW II, Stalin repeatedly called for democracy in the USSR, and was stymied by the "little dictators", the Centralists of the Communist Party responsible for his murder and the besmirching of his legacy.

Posted by: Hermit | Sep 2 2022 18:25 utc | 91

Bemildred | Sep 1 2022 18:48 utc | 10

"I say Rest In Peace. There are better things to do than kick Gorbachov one more time."

Wise and respecting words, to which I'd like to subscribe.

Like you're saying, in the tragedy that was the implosion of the USSR, there were others who came after him, like Yeltsin, representing perhaps the worst set of Russian character traits.
There were also others who served right during Gorbachev's reign, the name Shevardnadze comes to mind.

It sure can't be easy for Russian politicians to exorcize the specter of Afghanistan, by which Gorbachev must have been haunted. It sure took Putin and Lavrov a long, long time!

Posted by: Scotch Bingeington | Sep 2 2022 19:00 utc | 92

@Scotch Bingeington: "There were also others who served right during Gorbachev's reign, the name Shevardnadze comes to mind."

Dude, it must be really great and blissful to be an ignoramus!
Maybe before you opine on various "served right" characters a la Western whores like Shevardnadze you should brush up on the history of things. Unless you are just a CIA troll on the board and taking the view "he is our MF, therefore he is OK", of course.

Posted by: RockTime | Sep 2 2022 22:07 utc | 93

Very good article. The historical context explains so much of the Present.
It's nice to see people in USA with a notion of reality.
It's a shame that you are still such a very small minority.

Posted by: Carlos Marques | Sep 2 2022 22:24 utc | 94

This seems like a rather evenhanded take on Gorby. I wasn't a student of USSR history or the Cold War outside of what the vicious anti-communist US was doing in the Global South, so if anyone can punch holes in the narrative provided, have at it. I'm always up to learn something new. Note: I'm not familiar with the author Melvin Goodman, but apparently he's ex-CIA who resigned over a Gorbachev related messaging kerfluffle? Per the excerpt below...

I resigned from the CIA in 1990 primarily because of the agency’s misreading of Gorbachev that was dictated by CIA director William Casey and his leading deputy, Bob Gates. Their politicization of the intelligence meant that the CIA and the White House could not anticipate any of the major events associated with Gorbachev’s leadership, including the withdrawal from Afghanistan; the retreat from the Third World; the unwillingness to intervene in the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, and the sudden acceptance of Germany’s reunification a year later.

Whereas Gorbachev understood the economic and social decline of the Soviet Union, telling his wife Raisa that “We can’t go on living like this,” the CIA was still telling President Reagan that the growth rate of personal consumption actually exceeded that of the United States. Reagan used CIA’s phony intelligence on the Soviet economy to justify the largest peacetime increase in U.S. defense spending in history. Gorbachev was a heretic in the Kremlin; unfortunately, he was not sufficiently appreciated in the halls of power in Washington.

Take with a grain of salt, perhaps.

Posted by: Tom_Q_Collins | Sep 2 2022 23:28 utc | 95

Yes, well, regarding Mr. Gorbachev's 'naievity'...
It is, of course, obvious to all enlightened and rational thinkers that,
He was skipping merrily along his way on a path in the forest with a picnic basket for his grandmother when out of nowhere appeared a big bad wolf...

Posted by: Josh | Sep 3 2022 1:34 utc | 96

Nailed the picture though...

Posted by: Josh | Sep 3 2022 1:41 utc | 97

Putin is smart. He did not attend funeral of traitor Gorbachev.

Posted by: shivhari | Sep 3 2022 15:15 utc | 98

RockTime | Sep 2 2022 22:07 utc | 94

Dude, can I interrupt you for just a second? It's not about the history of things, but the correct meaning of a sentence. I was only trying to say Shevardnadze served right during Gorbachev's time, as opposed to Yeltsin, who served after Gorbachev. Served right during, in the meaning of he was a part of Gorbachev's team, he was active at exactly the same time. I'm well aware of Gorbachev's shortcomings and faults. And in my mind it goes without saying that those are Shevardnadze's shortcomings and faults, too. As long-time foreign minister for Gorbachev, he surely bares a lot of responsibility for the undeserved presents which the USSR gave to NATO and the west.

Alright, now you go ahead, break a bottle and hold it to my face, like you were about to. :P

Posted by: Scotch Bingeington | Sep 3 2022 17:44 utc | 99

His gullibility more revolved around his belief in freemasonry and 'global' masonic brotherhood being able to tolerate largely conservative and christian societies like Russia. In this regard Bro. Putin & co's babbling about Western Partners for the last 20 years / 8 years / 6 months is quite similar. Much like Bro. Trump too incidently. Denial isn't just the name of a river in Egypt.

Freemasonry Watch

Posted by: FW | Sep 4 2022 12:04 utc | 100

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