Mikhail Gorbachev, who ended the Cold War without bloodshed but failed to prevent the collapse of the Soviet Union, died on Tuesday at the age of 91, hospital officials in Moscow said.
Below are some reactions from around the world:
US President Joe Biden: Gorbachev’s democratic reforms “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.”
Russian President Vladmimir Putin: He expressed “his deepest condolences,” his spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Interfax news agency. “Tomorrow he will send a telegram of condolences to his family and friends.”
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres: “I was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Mikhail Gorbachev, a one-of-a kind statesman who changed the course of history. He did more than any other individual to bring about the peaceful end of the Cold War.
“The world has lost a towering global leader, committed multilateralist, and tireless advocate for peace.”
Eurpean Commission President Ursula von der Leyen: “Mikhail Gorbachev was a trusted and respected leader. He played a crucial role to end the Cold War and bring down the Iron Curtain. It opened the way for a free Europe ... This legacy is one we will not forget.”
The Reagan Foundation and Institute: “The Reagan Foundation and Institute mourns the loss of former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, a man who once was a political adversary of Ronald Reagan’s who ended up becoming a friend. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Gorbachev family and the people of Russia.”
Former US Secretary of State James Baker III: “History will remember Mikhail Gorbachev as a giant who steered his great nation towards democracy. He played the critical role in a peaceful conclusion of the Cold War by his decision against using force to hold the empire together ... The free world misses him greatly.”
Former US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice: “I am saddened to hear of the passing of Mikhail Gorbachev. He was a man who tried to deliver a better life for his people. His life was consequential because, without him and his courage, it would not have been possible to end the Cold War peacefully.”
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson: “I always admired the courage & integrity he showed in bringing the Cold War to a peaceful conclusion ... In a time of Putin’s aggression in Ukraine, his tireless commitment to opening up Soviet society remains an example to us all.”
Former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney: “He was a good friend, surprising as that might seem ... He was a very pleasant man to deal with and he had great vision for the future of his country which is antithetical to that being articulated now. History will remember him as a great transformational leader.”