People of the erstwhile Soviet Union and those of Russia remember Mikhail Gorbachev in varied ways. To many he symbolized taking the country differently through his Glasnost and Perestroika or openness and economic restructuring; and to some he symbolised the end of the powerful global position the country had enjoyed for several decades since the end of the second world war. And leaders across the international system remember Gorbachev—known as Gorby—as a person who was instrumental in bringing an end to the Cold War.
The 91 year old Gorbachev came to power in 1985 under difficult times and stayed on for six years; and in spite of all the high praise and revulsion he came to symbolize one thing: freedom, something that people are yearning for. Internally Gorbachev unleashed the power of his people to debate freely but in the process he also put the creaky system through demands that it could not meet. Economically the Soviet Union that was led to disastrous spending on an arms race with the West, principally the United States, could not be restructured through debates and empty slogans.