Sep 02, 2022 Letters
Mikhail Gorbachev was my kind of Russian. I stretch myself to the limit, and submit that he was even that most problematic of creatures for me: he was an acceptable communist. He did good and bad; he was tough and tender; and he was courageous and a touch of the coward at the worst of times. In sum, he was human, and I had high regard for him.
Yes, he changed the world, a lot of it for the better. When he had the chance, he went after corruption in the communist party. But when he had to close out matters by sending people to gulag reform schools and Siberian chain gangs, he turned into the Russian equivalent of Jimmy Stewart, everybody’s Mr. Nice Guy. It would gladden my heart to observe an anti-corruption king like Mikhail Gorbachev within the PPP Government in our own dear land of Guyana. Reality comes quickly and hits hard, President, Vice President, Attorney General, Guyana scholar, even people from my own Catholic Church don’t have what it takes. Too much in love with their comrades of a certain stripe; too much for friends and family (including imports) with histories; too much not part of the solution, but at another angle from it, which should relay to everyone why I have no choice but to rule those lovelies out.
But Mikhail Gorbachev saw himself as the Russian equivalent of Superman and Spiderman, only to be brought back to earth due to failure of will. He didn’t finish the job he started so well. The downside (and part of the downfall) of Gorbachev was flinging wide open the doors of the Russian economy, and the gateways to Russia’s vast riches. Of course, the capitalist vultures from America and Europe went winging their way to the Motherland, such as our beloved Exxon, Shell, and others of like mind, and the results are the results. American political leaders also didn’t help matters by rushing to Moscow with swaggering arrogance, as if they were Atilla the Hun conquering Rome. Further, Gorbachev must be assigned some responsibility for the birth of corrupt oligarchs, a bevy of the superrich, and the people’s assets passing from hand to hand for a mere dollar and dime. All this should sound very familiar to Guyanese who still have some self-respect remaining, enabling those few to draw parallels in names and sectors with the likes of Boris Berezovsky, Mikhail Potanin, and Mikhail Fridman ruling the roost in Guyana. I trust that no one will insult me by playing dumb, or ask me to pull people out of an identification lineup.
Also, as much as I laud the Warsaw Pact crumbling, and NATO replacing it, I saved Gorbachev’s best and most lasting legacy for last. He gave the world Vladimir (Vlad the Invader) Putin, and this is what we have to live with, and wring our hands. Though I feel for the people in Europe staring at a long cold winter and limited gas, I am more concerned about Ukrainian wheat being trapped in those ports, and subject to the whims of this kind Cossack with that old KGB mentality. After all, bread is already expensive in Guyana. Strangely, I sometimes find myself thinking favourably momentarily about Joseph Stalin, who would never have left such a dangerous loose end dangling unaddressed, and what the West now sees as a loose cannon on laxatives.
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