He could have disappeared in total anonymity if he was the worker of a turning point only for his country of origin. But here it is: the career of Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev, Head of State of the USSR and not of Russia as it is unfairly presented, will have had more planetary than endogenous repercussions, for having affected the destiny and orientation of all mankind. The new revolutionary leap imprinted on the 15 countries of the Soviet Union went through this, under the terms of perestroika and glasnost (reconstruction and transparency), two concepts carrying freedom and the liberation of initiatives but also an end to the welfare state and its corollary of negative repercussions on the experience of the post-tyrannical homo sovieticus as well as the demystification of its utopian grandeur. It is therefore not so surprising that the main actor of this upheaval is perceived, nearly forty years later, as an avatar of decadence and treated with all the names of the devil, including by those who were delighted with a lifting of the leaden screed following the fall of the Berlin wall, the emancipation of the pre-squares of the Soviet empire and the grips of Tsarist Greater Russia. The man pays the price even posthumously and will have to wear, long after his death, the hat of a state dismantling with multiple scopes and dimensions. For it is to his initiatives, to his universalist and open-mindedness that the Soviets of yesterday and the Russians of today in particular owe the rehabilitation and enjoyment of certain freedoms and ways of thinking which conceal the greatness and the pride of Orthodox Russia. But, since today’s Russia dreams more of world power than of freedom or spiritual height, it is possible to understand that Vladimir Putin, president of a federation that has suddenly become imperialist again, passes for the antithesis of a historical figure of which he is yet the product. Inasmuch as the lifting of the iron curtain greatly benefited the vicious oligarchic circle of Moscow and Petersburg and that the dislocation of the Soviet empire – the sin of which he blames on the late Mr. Gorbachev – had indeed been precipitated by Boris Yeltsin, his mentor who bequeathed him such a tasty capitalist throne.
As who would say that the responsibility for the shock produced by the fall of the Berlin wall is hardly less attributable to him and that the disgrace to which the illustrious deceased is doomed by his care is only the result of the trajectory taken to better establish the levers on which the comfort of the Kremlin rests: the ability to transform the virtual into the real or to impose by tyranny the perception and acceptance of the virtual as real.
The last head of state of the USSR, first and last head of the Commonwealth of Independent States, is clearly the most prestigious victim of a machine to make or unmake heroes in Russian history. And if he was not one among his own, it is simply that he was not sufficiently in the grace of those who hold the controls. The modesty of his funeral marks, ultimately, the third death of the nonagenarian craftsman of Perestroika, after having been forced to resign by the real actors of the dislocation of the USSR, then sacrificed as a scapegoat for the needs and purposes propagandists of Vladimir Putin’s expansionist dream.