A ‘New’ Gorbachev Won’t Rescue U.S.-Russia Relations After Putin

Then-Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev waves during the military parade marking the 71st anniversary of the Bolshevik revolution in Moscow in 1988.
Then-Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev waves during the military parade marking the 71st anniversary of the Bolshevik revolution in Moscow, Nov. 7, 1988 (AP photo by Boris Yurchenko).

In the aftermath of Mikhail Gorbachev’s death last week, many observers wondered if another Gorbachev-like figure could reverse Russia’s course after President Vladimir Putin leaves power, like Gorbachev did for the Soviet Union. But that’s unlikely. And the image of Gorbachev that guides such hopes is less than accurate.

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