Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Thursday September 1, 2022
Disdained by Putin, Gorbachev walked a tightrope to defend his legacy
Russian President Vladimir Putin has spent his 22 years in power relentlessly hacking down the legacy of the reformist Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.
The two rarely met, and Gorbachev, who died Tuesday in Moscow at age 91, cautiously couched his remarks about the Russian leader, even when they weren’t critical. Unlike Putin’s predecessor, Boris Yeltsin, Gorbachev never requested or received a guarantee of immunity from arrest or prosecution, he said.
Gorbachev’s criticism of Putin was often indirect, as in his 2015 book “The New Russia,” in which he wrote that Putin had taken “advantage” of a flawed constitution drafted on Yeltsin’s watch — for example, by using an imprecise provision on term limits to return to the presidency in 2012.