of Carlotta De Leo

The historical leader of Communist Refoundation: “Gorbachev wanted to change the Soviet system from the inside. Putin is an autocrat who marks a return to imperial politics”

“I remember when, in the downward phase after the coup d’état, he was welcomed in the West. Ours were fleeting meetings, but it was impressive to see this man so important to history remain ‘secluded’, alone with his wife. Come to be considered a foreign body in our world beyond that iron curtain that he himself had wanted to tear down. I could borrow a text by Federico Caffé to describe him as a ‘solitary reformist'”. Fausto Bertinotti – communist, historical trade union leader and then secretary of Communist Refoundation – this is how he summarizes the “contradiction” that accompanied the entire historical parable of Mikhail Gorbachev, who died yesterday at 91 years old.

Why do you speak of contradiction?

“Gorbachev had set himself a generous but impossible mission: to reform an irreformable system as already demonstrated years before by the Soviet tanks that put an end to Dubcek’s Prague Spring. Gorbachev is one of the most tragic figures in recent history. His is a very dignified story, in an objectively unfortunate context: a troubled phase of transition that he himself had helped to determine. This is why I say that he remained a prisoner of a contradiction, as the coup d’état of August 1991 also demonstrates.”

The one who then brought power into the hands of Yeltsin.

“The August Putsch represents another pincer of history: further proof that Gorbachev’s path was generous, but impossible to follow. I still remember what KS Karol, one of the greatest experts in the Soviet world, said: “You are mistaken: Gorbachev is more popular in the West than in the USSR.” And that’s exactly what’s going on in Russia today, with Putin’s internal consensus.”

What is the difference between the two?

“Gorbachev wanted to reform the system from the inside and is part of the history of the Soviet Union. Putin, on the other hand, is an autocrat outside the Soviet tradition. Putin represents a leap backwards, a return to imperial politics”.

Putin makes war on Ukraine, Gorbachev supported the right to freedom and democracy of the so-called “satellite countries”.

“We are careful not to look at history through the lens of the present. Gorbachev is the last to support the unity of the Soviet Union: to avoid its collapse, he wants to speed up its economic development and reform it, but always all united».

Finally, how do you comment on Marco Rizzo’s tweet about Gorbachev’s death?

“I don’t intend to comment. To tell the truth, I’m out of Italy and I haven’t read it. But what did he write?”

August 31, 2022 (change on August 31, 2022 | 13:53)

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