Image: Gorbachev: ‘Exceptional’ Thatcher Helped End Cold War

Gorbachev: ‘Exceptional’ Thatcher Helped End Cold War

Monday, 08 Apr 2013 10:26 AM

 

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Margaret Thatcher was “a great politician and an exceptional person” who helped end the Cold War, said Mikhail Gorbachev, the last leader of the Soviet Union.

Thatcher, Britain's first woman prime minister, died after suffering a stroke on Monday. Meanwhile, London publisher Allen Lane says the first volume of Thatcher's authorized biography will be published immediately after her funeral. She cooperated with Charles Moore, the former editor of the London Daily Telegraph on her memoirs on the condition that it not be published while she was alive. She did not read the manuscript.

“Thatcher was a politician whose word carried great weight,” Gorbachev, who sought to reform the Soviet Union and improved its ties with the West but failed to avert the collapse of the nuclear-armed superpower, said on his website.

“Our first meeting in 1984 marked the beginning of a relationship that was at times difficult, not always smooth, but was treated seriously and responsibly by both sides,” Gorbachev, 82, said.

Editor's Note: Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher were close allies. Remember them both with this DVD.

After that meeting, months before Gorbachev succeeded Konstantin Chernenko as Soviet leader following his death, Thatcher said of Gorbachev: “We can do business together.”

Thatcher, an enemy of communism, said at the time that she and Gorbachev each firmly believed in their respective nation's political system and were never going to change one another.

But Gorbachev said on Monday that his relationship with Thatcher helped bring change and tear down the Iron Curtain.

“We gradually developed personal relations that became increasingly friendly,” he said. “In the end, we were able to achieve mutual understanding, and this contributed to a change in the atmosphere between our country and the West and to the end of the Cold War.”

“Margaret Thatcher was a great politician and an exceptional person. She will remain in our memories and in history,” said Gorbachev, whose resignation as president in December 1991 marked the end of the Soviet Union.

Gorbachev's reputation may be as mixed as Thatcher's, if not more so. He is reviled by many Russians who blame him for the Soviet collapse, but some see his efforts to reform the country and ease oppression as heroic, and he is a well-respected figure outside his homeland.
 

Editor's Note: Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher were close allies. Remember them both with this DVD.

© 2014 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

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