Vladimir Putin expresses ‘deep sympathies’ over death of Mikhail Gorbachev

Vladimir Putin has expressed his "deep sympathies" over the death of former Soviet Union President Mikhail Gorbachev.

The commiserations over his death came in spite of the 1990 Nobel Peace Prize winner expressing his sadness that his legacy of peace being 'destroyed' due Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Gorbachev died at the age of 91 after suffering from long-term kidney problems and was on dialysis during the Covid pandemic.

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Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said to reporters: "President Putin expresses his deep sympathies over the death of Mikhail Gorbachev.

"In the morning he will send a telegram of condolences to his family and friends."

Gorbachev is heralded as one of the important and significant figures of the 20th century due to his role in the ending of the Cold War as well as the dissolution of the USSR in 1991.

The former Soviet leader was also praised for enhancing freedom of speech and the press during his reign and his work to limit nuclear weapons.

The contrast between Gorbachev's USSR and Putin's Russia has been one of constant debate with Putin himself calling the dissolution of the Soviet Union the "greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century".

While the former leader attended summits with then-US President Ronald Reagan to find a solution to the Cold War, Putin has instead embarked on a path of restarting a war in Europe by invading Ukraine and isolating his nation from the West.

Gorbachev was a notable critic of Putin in recent years as he made his feelings known about the current President's strategies.

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He said: "I actually supported Putin during his first term as president, but then relations between us soured.

"Not everything is going well. I think he should change his style and make adjustments to the regime."

According to journalist Alexei Venediktov, who spoke with Gorbachev before his passing, the Nobel Peace Prize winner was "upset" at the direction Russia have taken in recent months.

He said: "Freedoms were brought by Gorbachev. Everyone forgot who gave freedom to the Russian Orthodox Church? Who was it? Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev.

"The freedom of press, the first media law, who brought it? Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev. Private property? Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev."


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