30 years ago, the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Mikhail Gorbachev

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Radio-Canada

On October 15, 1990, Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev received the Nobel Peace Prize. This award recognizes several aspects of his policies since he led the Soviet Union.

Internal reforms without bloodshed

Dissident prisoners are freed. More and more soldiers stationed in Afghanistan are returning home.

Simon Durivage, 1987
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Le Point, April 10, 1987

On April 10, 1987, the show host Point Simon Durivage offers an exclusive interview with a Soviet leader passing through Canada.

Igor Yourgens is Deputy Director for International Development of the Association of Soviet Trade Unions.

It explains why President Gorbachev has embarked on a vast reform program since 1985.

Two years earlier, on March 10, 1985, Mikhail Gorbachev had become general secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.

His rise to power brought a wave of profound changes in Soviet internal politics, which the Nobel Committee underlined when it awarded him the Nobel Peace Prize.

Two expressions sum up the reforms proposed by Mikhail Gorbachev.

The perestroika, which means reconstruction in Russian, encompasses a set of policies aimed at reforming the failing structures of the Soviet economy.

The glasnost, which means transparency in Russian, for its part aims at the political liberalization of Soviet society.

These reforms are undertaken without spilling blood, which contrasts with the behavior of other leaders of the Soviet Union since 1917.

Simon Durivage's reference to the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Afghanistan also shows that the reforms undertaken also concern the international policy of the Soviet Union.

Let the Soviet Empire dissolve

There were half a million of our men armed to the teeth in Germany (…) and I believe that if we had given the order to intervene, it would have been a serious mistake that could have led to a catastrophe. A catastrophe of the magnitude, the scale of a new world war.

Mikhail Gorbachev, 2009

In 1989, history suddenly accelerated. The peoples of Central and Eastern Europe are mobilizing to bring down the communist regimes that have governed them since 1945.

The General Secretary of the Soviet Communist Party, Mikhail Gorbachev, does not take a negative view of this desire for freedom.

In November 1989, the Berlin Wall was pulled down by German citizens. This event made possible a reunification of the German Democratic and Federal Republics.

In this context, there is a crucial and potentially explosive question.

Should we allow this reunification of the two Germanies which could call into question the political and military balance of Europe?

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Téléjournal, November 4, 2009

In 2009, two decades after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Mikhail Gorbachev gave an interview to Radio-Canada Moscow correspondent Alexandra Szacka.

The interview airs on November 4, 2009 at News hosted by Céline Galipeau.

The interview is preceded by a historical recap of events in Germany since 1945 by journalist Catherine Kovacs.

The question of German reunification and the status of the city of Berlin had the potential to start a third world war, according to Mikhail Gorbachev.

While on an official visit to the German Democratic Republic, the Soviet leader sees that the people want the reunification of Germany.

For him, it is obvious that the East German communist regime will fall.

On November 9, 1989, when the Berlin Wall was brought down, Mikhail Gorbachev did not mobilize the Soviet soldiers present in East German territory.

He claims that by doing so he avoided a third world war.

We will also note the little regret expressed by the former Soviet leader towards this period.

He seems to suggest that the fall of the Soviet Empire was a prerequisite for the establishment of a new, more peaceful world order.

Eliminate the peril of war and nuclear weapons

In December 1989, Mikhail Gorbachev orchestrated with his American counterpart, President George H. W. Bush, the end of what is called the Cold War between Moscow and Washington.

It is in Malta that the two leaders meet to shape a new world order.

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Téléjournal, December 3, 1989

On December 3, 1989, the Telejournal, hosted by Robert-Charles Longpré, devotes three reports to the event.

Journalists Don Murray and Jean-Michel Leprince recall that the Malta meeting enabled the Soviet Union and the United States to agree on the reunification of Germany and on the departure of European countries from Eastern Moscow fold.

The report by journalist Raymond Saint-Pierre, for its part, shows that the meeting in Malta profoundly changes the role of the military alliances that are the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the Warsaw Pact, led respectively by Washington and Moscow.

The Malta meeting also contributed to the fact that in July 1991 the Soviet Union and the United States signed the first START treaty which provided for a reduction in Soviet and American nuclear arsenals.

In addition :

  • 100th of the Bolshevik revolution: the brutal seizure of power of communism in Russia
  • 75 years ago the Yalta conference began
  • In October 1989, the world witnessed the collapse of the German Democratic Republic
  • 30 years ago, the Berlin wall crumbled
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