Gho, kijk nu:
Gorbatsjov is 80 geworden. Geschiedenis zal niet lief zijn voor die mens, zeggen ze in Foreign Policy:
Determined to save central planning, he told people to talk openly about it — as a result of which they concluded that it didn’t work. Determined to save communism, he let people criticize it — as a result of which they decided they wanted capitalism. Determined to save the Soviet empire, he gave Eastern Europeans more freedom — which they used to wriggle out of the empire’s grasp as quickly as possible. He never understood the depth of cynicism in his own country or the depth of anti-communism in the Soviet satellite states. He never understood how rotten the central bureaucracies had become or how amoral the bureaucrats. He always seemed surprised by the consequences of his actions. In the end he wound up racing to catch up with history, rather than making it himself.
En zeggen dat het allemaal nog goed had kunnen komen, enfin ’t is te zeggen, dat hij de man had kunnen zijn in plaats van Yeltsin, als hij in augustus 1991 een GSM had gehad. Of tenminste een werkende telefoon in zijn datsja aan de Krim.
Of, natuurlijk, als hij het allemaal gepland had, en beseft had wat er aan de hand was:
In fact, all of Gorbachev’s most significant and most radical decisions were the ones he did not make. He did not order the East Germans to shoot at people crossing the Berlin Wall. He did not launch a war to prevent the defection of the Baltic states. He did not stop the breakup of the Soviet Union or prevent Yeltsin’s rise to power. The end of communism certainly could have been far bloodier, and if someone else had been in charge it might have been. For his refusal to use violence, Gorbachev deserves Anka’s corny serenade. But because he did not understand what was happening, Gorbachev also did not prepare his compatriots for major political and economic change. He did not help design democratic institutions, and he did not lay the foundations for an orderly economic reform. Instead, he tried to hold on to power until the very last moment — to preserve the Soviet Union until it was too late. As a result, he did not politically survive its collapse. Since leaving office he has tried three times to found new political parties. All have flopped.
Niet dat iemand het echt besefte, natuurlijk, zoals in een ander artikel ook in Foreign Policy te lezen staat.