Yes, Gorbachev was a failure but other hands helped bring down the Soviet Union

Systemic Disorder

The reasons for the fall of the Soviet Union are myriad and can’t be laid solely at the feet of one person. Mikhail Gorbachev is widely despised by Russians as well as by activists and partisans of the Left. There are good reasons for that. It is impossible to imagine the collapse of a superpower and the catastrophic effects of imposing capitalism via “shock therapy” that immiserated a vast country without him.

But if we are serious about analyzing history, and the ongoing effects that history has on the present day, we must take a dialectic approach, and examine this history in all its complexities. Amid the triumphalist accolades heaped upon Gorbachev upon his death from Western capitalists and the opprobrium heaped on upon him by his many critics — continuing a pattern of three decades since the Soviet Union’s dissolution at the end of 1991 —we might take a…

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