PARIS: World leaders paid tribute to Mikhail Gorbachev, the last leader of the Soviet Union who died Tuesday in Moscow aged 91. The man who played a major role in ending the Cold War was praised for being a "rare leader" who helped change the course of world history.


President Vladimir Putin said Gorbachev "was a politician and statesman who had a huge impact on the course of world history," expressing "deepest condolences" to his friends and family. "He led our country during a period of complex, dramatic changes," Putin added. "He deeply understood that reforms were necessary, he strove to offer his own solutions to urgent problems."

Russian winner of last year's Nobel Peace Prize, Dmitry Muratov, hailed his fellow Nobel laureate as someone who "put human rights above the state, and valued a peaceful sky more than personal power."

"He gave both the country and the world an incredible gift-he gave us thirty years of peace," Muratov said. Jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny praised Gorbachev for "peacefully" departing from power and "respecting the will of his constituents."

United States

President Joe Biden hailed a "rare leader... one with the imagination to see that a different future was possible and the courage to risk his entire career to achieve it." "The result was a safer world and greater freedom for millions of people," Biden said.


President Frank-Walter Steinmeier said Germany was "bound in gratitude with him for his decisive contribution to German unity". Chancellor Olaf Scholz hailed Gorbachev's role in reuniting Germany but lamented he "died at a time in which democracy has failed in Russia".

Angela Merkel, the former chancellor who grew up in East Germany, said Gorbachev had "fundamentally changed my life" and showed how "one single statesman can change the world for the better".

United Nations

"A one-of-a-kind statesman who changed the course of history" and "did more than any other individual to bring about the peaceful end of the Cold War", UN chief Antonio Guterres said in a statement.

European Union

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen hailed a "trusted and respected leader" who "opened the way for a free Europe". His "crucial role" in bringing down the Iron Curtain and ending the Cold War left a legacy "we will not forget."


"His desire for peace, his opposition to an imperialist vision of Russia won him the Nobel (peace) prize," Prime Minister Mario Draghi said. "These messages are all the more current in the face of the tragedy of the invasion of Ukraine."


Secretary general Jens Stoltenberg said Gorbachev's "vision of a better world remains an example" and paid tribute to his "historic reforms... (which) opened the possibility of a partnership between Russia and NATO".


Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu said of Gorbachev: "It was good he started reforms and it was in a way good that the reforms did not end where he was aiming to end them."

Czech Republic

Jan Lipavsky, the Czech foreign minister, said Gorbachev was "a personality that gave freedom to the entire Soviet Union and its satellites with his decisions."


Polish Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau tweeted that Gorbachev had "increased the scope of freedom of the enslaved peoples of the Soviet Union in an unprecedented way, giving them hope for a more dignified life."

United Kingdom

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he "always admired the courage and integrity" Gorbachev showed to help end the Cold War. "In a time of Putin's aggression in Ukraine, his tireless commitment to opening up Soviet society remains an example to us all."


President Emmanuel Macron described Gorbachev as a "man of peace" who "opened a path of liberty for Russians."

Nobel Committee

The Norwegian Nobel Committee said Gorbachev was awarded the 1990 Peace Prize for his role in "the peaceful ending of the Cold War." The committee praised him for bringing "greater openness in Soviet society and allowing the people of Eastern Europe to regain their freedom." - AFP