After Gorbachev’s passing, a lot can be said about his deeds and legacy. Little of it will be positive.
At best, he’s remembered as a bumbling fool, who started reforms that he was in no position to bring to a positive fruition.
At worst he – along with Yeltsin – is remembered as a malicious traitor to the Russian world, responsible for the deaths of tens of millions of people as the result of the demolition of the USSR, which started several years before the fateful events of 1991.
As a middle-ground, I would recommend Scott Ritter’s article in Consortium News SCOTT RITTER: Mikhail Gorbachev, a Vector of Change
My today’s translation takes a look at Gorbachev’s legacy from a different angle – from the perspective of the reunification of Germany. It was in 2014 that first read a short comment about the German counter-historical stance on the reunification of Crimea in light of the prior reunification of Germany. Back then it was just that – a comment in some other discussion. Yesterday I came across an article at the Federal News Agency site that makes a much deeper , and more passionate dive into the matter. And article, a translation of which I am presenting below.
In Germany, Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev is very much loved. Much more than in Russia and many former Soviet republics. Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev was even called “the best German” because he did a huge historical thing for the German people. He united a divided Germany.
But he demolished his own country.
Germany was divided based on the results of the Second World War. And even its existence in a divided form turned out to be a miracle. Those Russians turned out to be too noble. After all, for what the Germans and their allies did on the land of the Soviet Union, the Red Army had the fullest moral right not to leave from Germany a single intact stone. And no one would dare to condemn it. Germany at that time was an Absolute Universal Evil, smelling of the smell of burnt human flesh from the crematoriums of the concentration camps. Germany was a killer country, a monster country. Very many of the Soviet soldiers who entered the territory of Germany lost everything at home — parents, wives and children. Their houses were reduced to ruins. Revenge in this case is a common thing. But those Russians are very strange people. Not only did they not take revenge, but they also fed the wives and children of murderers with bread and porridge.
And then Germany could have been abolished as a state altogether. Even some coalition allies have suggested such an option. No one would have dared to object.
But Germany remained in the form of two states. Thanks to the Soviet Union. And again, thanks to the Soviet Union and its last leader Mikhail Gorbachev, Germany became united again. Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev united the divided German people and became a national hero for Germany.
But because of Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev, another people became divided – the Russian people. It so happened that many Union republics received fat territorial gifts from the Soviet Russia, Russian lands that never belonged to them. (Translator note: for one such example, see my post A short look at the short history of Kazakhstan through the lens of a 1922 map) Lands inhabited by Russian people. And thanks to Mikhail Sergeyevich, all these people simultaneously found themselves in foreign lands. And nationalism became the main ideology of the former Soviet republics that gained independence. It was seasoned with Russophobia, somewhere more, somewhere less, but it was present almost everywhere.
In 2014, the people of Crimea voted in a referendum to join Russia. Those who say that it was a fake referendum, or it was held at gunpoint, are deliberately lying. The referendum was absolutely fair and massive. Crimeans have spoken unequivocally. Since 1991, they have wanted to return home from their stepmother, who got them thanks to Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev’s insane decision. (Translator note: more on it in this article that I posted several years ago: The brief history of Crimea and And what about restoration of territorial integrity of Russia..?)
And the same Germans who idolize Gorbachev for stopping the division of their people, in this case, condemned this reunification. They imposed sanctions, called it “annexation”, refused to take into account the will of the Crimeans. Although — everything was obvious and open. Crimea returned home. And the Russian nation that as the results of 1991 turned out to be one of the most divided in the world, joined its two parts. By the way, it was much cleaner and more honest than the unification of Germany. After all, many people in the GDR did not want to live in the FRG, but no one took their opinions into account.
And there was no “reunification of the Germanies”. There was a typica takeover. FRG absorbed the GDR. With all the consequences. There were also defeats in civil rights, repression and persecution of former employees of the GDR. At a variety of levels, it even concerned teachers. (Translator note: this was especially telling, taking into account how the two Germanies were denazified after WWII, with GDR being much cleaner in this regard, as described in another article that I translated earlier: The denazification of Ukraine should take into account the mistakes and shortcomings in the denazification of Germany in 1940-1960)
Perhaps it is worth reminding the Germans about this on the day when their national hero is buried. I understand that this reproach is unlikely to affect Mr. Scholz or Annalena Berbock. Yes, even Angela Merkel, a former Komsomol member from the GDR, who climbed to the very Olympus of German politics and certainly should be grateful to the Russians, will not notice anything at all.
But the Germans should know that they are united and exist as a nation only thanks to the Russians. And for some reason they want to deny the Russians exactly the same right.