Biden pays tribute to Gorbachev: ‘A man of remarkable vision’
President Biden on Tuesday night paid tribute to Mikhail Gorbachev, who died at age 91 earlier that day, referring to the former Russian leader as “a man of remarkable vision.”
“Mikhail Gorbachev was a man of remarkable vision,” Biden said in a statement on Tuesday, noting Gorbachev’s role in bringing an end to the Soviet Union.
Biden served as a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee during Gorbachev’s time as leader in Moscow.
“After decades of brutal political repression, he embraced democratic reforms,” Biden said. “He believed in glasnost and perestroika – openness and restructuring – not as mere slogans, but as the path forward for the people of the Soviet Union after so many years of isolation and deprivation.”
“These were the acts of a rare leader – one with the imagination to see that a different future was possible and the courage to risk his entire career to achieve it. The result was a safer world and greater freedom for millions of people,” he added.
Biden also said in his statement that Gorbachev continued his work on helping to reduce both countries’ nuclear stockpiles, noting that he understood why the former Soviet leader was highly regarded.
“Even years after leaving office, he was still deeply engaged. When Mr. Gorbachev visited the White House in 2009, he and I spoke for a long time about our countries’ ongoing work to reduce U.S. and Russian nuclear stockpiles. It was easy to see why so many worldwide held him in such high esteem,” Biden concluded.
“We send our deepest condolences to his family and friends, and to people everywhere who benefited from his belief in a better world.”
Gorbachev served as the last leader of the Soviet Union from 1985 to 1991, playing an instrumental role in retooling relations with the U.S.