Late Soviet Union President Mikhail Gorbachev, who died Monday at the age of 91, left a "complicated legacy," Fred Fleitz, a Newsmax contributor, said Wednesday on "Wake Up America."
Fleitz is vice-chair of the America First Policy Institute Center for American Security.
"George Will, the top pundit of the Reagan years, said in a new op-ed that like Christopher Columbus, who accidentally discovered America, Gorbachev stumbled into history by misunderstanding where he was going," Fleitz said.
"Gorbachev believed in Lenin and Marx. The economic and political reforms he initiated were not to bring down the Soviet Union or break it up or let Eastern Europe go. It was to fix the Soviet Union."
The USSR, he noted, had an economy that was devastated by the war in Afghanistan, by "incredible corruption," and because he knew he could not keep up with then-President Ronald Reagan's defense spending.
Gorbachev also did not believe in violence, which is to his credit, said Fleitz, except that he did use violence in Lithuania and Georgia when they tried to break away.
"Generally, he did not believe in violence to stop these states from breaking away from the Soviet Union," said Fleitz. "His legacy is complicated."
Meanwhile, the world is much safer now that the USSR has broken up, but that also leads to Russian President Vladimir Putin's actions, said Fleitz.
"It's fairly clear that Putin detests Gorbachev because he broke up the Soviet Union," said Fleitz. "Gorbachev had a favorable rating of only 8% among Russians because they blame him for the loss of the greatness of the USSR and the hard times they've had in the transition to democracy and a market economy."
Gorbachev was also a strong critic of Putin, said Fleitz.
"He did incredible things in terms of promoting democracy and human rights in the country," said Fleitz. "Putin is moving in the wrong direction, and I understand that on his deathbed, Gorbachev was lamenting the fact that Putin is reversing all the good he tried to do for the country."
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