Vladimir Putin: Mikhail Gorbachev had ‘huge impact on course of world history’

Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev had a “huge impact on the course of world history” who found his “own solutions to urgent problems”, Vladimir Putin has said.

Expressing his condolences to his family, the Russian president said in a statement: “He led our country during a period of complex, dramatic changes, large-scale foreign policy, economic and social challenges.

“He deeply understood that reforms were necessary, he strove to offer his own solutions to urgent problems.”

Putin also noted the “great humanitarian, charitable, education activities” carried out by Gorbachev in recent years.

One of the most significant figures of the 20th century, he was known for ending the Cold War without bloodshed, but failed to prevent the break-up of the Soviet Union in 1991.

A Kremlin spokesman separately described Gorbachev as a “unique person… who will always remain in the history of our country”.

However, he added that his “romanticism” about the West was not justified.

Gorbachev’s death was announced on Tuesday after a long illness. The 91-year-old had been undergoing treatment at the Central Clinical Hospital in Moscow.

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