New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday condoled the death of the last leader of the Soviet Union and former President Mikhail Gorbachev.

Gorbachev died on Tuesday after suffering from a prolonged illness in a hospital in Moscow. He was 91 years old.

“I extend our deepest condolences to the family and friends of H.E. Mr. Mikhail Gorbachev, one of the leading statesmen of the 20th century who left an indelible mark on the course of history. We recall and value his contribution to strengthening relations with India,” Modi said in a tweet.

Gorbachev visited India twice

Gorbachev was the leader of the Soviet Union from 1985 to 1991. He visited India in 1986 and 1988. The Soviet Union disintegrated in 1991. Mikhail Gorbachev’s warm relationship with US President Reagan led to the end of the Cold War without bloodshed. He signed a disarmament agreement with America. During Gorbachev’s tenure, India got various military equipment including tanks like T-72.

Gorbachev’s father was Russian and his mother was from Ukraine. She was a very disciplined woman. He had Gorbachev secretly baptized by a staunch Orthodox Christian. Gorbachev made political reforms in the Soviet Union. Taking the lead in reforming the communist regime, he introduced glastanos (openness) and perestroika (reorganization) policies. He also brought cultural freedom to the media and the art world.

Putin also paid tribute

Gorbachev’s relations with Putin were not good. Putin considers the collapse of the Soviet Union a tragedy. Many Russian leaders, along with Putin, believe that the Soviet Union weakened after the breakup of the Soviet Union. However, on his death, President Putin also paid tribute to him.

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