Mikhail Gorbachev: Great Man of the Last Century

New York, N.Y. Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev met with President Ronald Reagan in 1985 and visited the White House for the first time in 1987, when I met Gorbachev (see article #127). He tried so hard to make friends with normal American and talked with 200 guests for more than ten minutes each, so the luncheon started very late.

Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev Speaking Supreme Soviet

What do I want to say about Mr. Gorbachev now? I do not think there have been such a great person in the West or East recently. He is a great man of the world. Anyway, he is a person who put together a completely different worlds: Democracy and Communism.

Of course, he was a Communist, but he is like a person who understands the other party. It is not just about politics, but also about culture.

The beginning of his change was the Chernobyl nuclear accident. He had changed his way of thinking since then  At that time, what he found out was that If the system of the Soviet Union does not changed, the nation would fail. So, he started various reforms.  He started talking with Reagan about the abolition of the INF and eventually signed the treaty. It was the beginning of the relationship between the Soviet Union and the United States.


I was invited to a luncheon because I was involved in cultural exchange  with the Soviet Union. When I sat down, to my amazement, the next seat was Mr. Trump. He was an interesting person.

The people of the Soviet Union talked to me that Gorbachev was a traitor, because he was the one who sold Soviet Union to the West. At that time, Most people did not understand that he was a great person. So, I wanted to write a little bit about him today.

gorbachev-and-reaganPresident Ronald Reagan and Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev
signed the arms control agreement banning the use of intermediate-range
nuclear missiles, the Intermediate Nuclear Forces Reduction Treaty, in 1987.

Gorbachev was born on March 2, 1931, between Russian and Ukrainian parents to an extremely poor farm. Under Stalin’s rule, he was educated in the harsh Marxist-Leninism of the Communist Party. H enrolled in Moscow University Law School at the age of 19. While attending the university, he met Raisa, who later became his wife in 1953.

The Chernobyl Nuclear Accident was the Work of the Universe.

I interpret Chernobyl’s Nuclear Accident in 1986  is  the work of the universe. It was a time when the conflict between the United States and the Soviet Union escalated to extremes. But, thanks to the Universe, Things have changed. Gorbachev  continued to advance political reform.

As Secretary-General, he held the first U.S.-Soviet summit meeting with Reagan in Switzerland, and the relationship between the two major powers began, mainly to accelerate nuclear disarmament negotiations. In April 1986, Gorbachev, in Russian, advocated Perestroika, which means “reconstruction,” and began reforming the Soviet Union. At first, Reagan and Western conservatives were wary that Gorbachev’s intentions. They considered his policy change was only to tighten social discipline, and that the military threat to the West would increase, but with the progress of Perestroika, Western opinions gradually softened.

In 1968, the “Prague Spring” in Czechoslovakia was suppressed by the Soviet Union for military action, but despite opposition from conservatives in the country, Gorbachev continued to change the policy of Soviet diplomacy in a clear way. Unlike the conventional use of strong Soviet influences, the Soviet Union stopped its military crackdown on the subsequent anti-Soviet pro-democracy movement in Hungary and a series of Eastern European revolutions starting from the round table in Poland in 1989.

Gorbachev stopped interfering with the revolution in soviet block countries. Gorbachev also cooperated in the integration of East and West Germany in 1990. Before the fall of the Berlin Wall, he met Erich Honecker , the supreme leader of East Germany at the time, and accepted huge economic support from West Germany’s prime minister, Helmut Kohl, and gave approval of the unification of Germany.

CHICAGO, IL - APRIL 25: His Holiness the Dalai Lama and President Mikhail Gorbachev participate in a panel discussion during the World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Hall on April 25, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. The 12th World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates ends today following three days of events. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
His Holiness the Dalai Lama and President Mikhail Gorbachev participate
in a
panel discussion during the World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates
at the
Chicago Symphony Orchestra Hall on April 25, 2012 in Chicago.

Two Assassination Attempts

Gorbachev has been involved in two assassination coups. The first was the day of the Revolution in November 17, 1990, when a military parade was held in Moscow’s Red Square. The second time was in August 1991, when I was staying at a villa in the Crimean Peninsula.

Gorbachev was placed under house arrest with his wife Raisa and his family in a coup by conservatives such as KGB chairman Vice President Vladimir and prime minister Valentin. The communication with the outside was shut off, and it was a situation where anytime he would have been killed, but that he was encouraged by the news from the Japanese-made radio  which was in the villa.

Later, in November 2001, he became leader of the Social Democratic Party of Russia, but on May 22, 2004, he announced his resignation and effectively retired from politics.

He also developed friendships with American citizens. He was well-received with Japan, came to Japan frequently, held television lectures, and received various honorary doctorates.

It should be noted that he reformed the system of the Soviet Union thanks to the Chernobyl nuclear power plant accident. He is a rare politician who has found the fear of nuclear weapons as real and made a policies accordingly.

Gorbachev is an important person in history who overaged a completely different political ideology and economic system and built a relationship between the East and the West. He also received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1990.

Gratitude Gassho.

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About Dr. Kazuko Hillyer Tatsumura

View all posts by Dr. Kazuko Hillyer Tatsumura
Dr. Kazuko Hillyer Tatsumura
Dr. Kazuko was born into a distinguished old family in Kyoto, Japan, and graduated from Toho conservatory of Music in Tokyo. In 1961 she came to U.S. as a pianist sponsored by the Boston Symphony. She studied at Boston University, New York University, and received her Ph.D. in Oriental Medicine from New York State University and the International Academy of Education in Tokyo. From 1968 to 1992, she promoted cultural exchanges from East to West and vice versa, and became a world famous impresario, producing 2,000 events each year all over the world encompassing over 140 countries. In this connection, in 1972, she went to Dharamsala to find the lost Tibetan Folk Opera, and met His Holiness the Dalai Lama, with whom she remains a lifelong friend. In 1973 and 1991 she arranged and funded personally the tours of the Folk Opera of Tibet to the West. She has received many medals and honors from different countries. Her tireless life long work in Philanthropic field is vast and well known ranging from Save the Beacon Theater, Save the Boat People, Help the Homeless, natural disasters of earthquakes and tsunamis, as well as relief to AIDS and HIV positive children in Africa. She has been a dedicated Board Member to both the J. Luce Foundation and Orphans International for years. Her work focuses on the Tibetan people; Tibetan children remain especially strong in her heart. She raised fund for the new academic building for Manjushree Orphanage in Tawang, India and supported many aspects of the school. See HuffPo pieces entitled Japanese Holistic Healer in NYC to Build School for Tibetan Orphans in India, A Japanese Dinner with Raul Castro’s Daughter, and NYC Gala in Support of Tibetan Orphans Set for January.

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