Russia historian on legacy of Mikhail Gorbachev

Russia historian on legacy of Mikhail Gorbachev

August 31, 20221 min read

Kathryn David, Mellon Assistant Professor of Russian and East European Studies, is available for media commentary on the legacy of Russian and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.

Kathryn specializes in the history of Ukraine and Russia, with research interests including connections between religious and national belonging and the aftermath of World War II in the Soviet Union. In particular, she can speak to Gorbachev's mixed legacy in Ukraine. Her initial thoughts:

"On the one hand, Gorbachev made the case for Russia and Eastern Europe to be closer to the West and built on a foundation of democratic values, goals that Ukraine is fighting for today. But on the other hand, as much as Gorbachev wanted deep reforms, he still wanted the USSR to stay together. While he was willing to let the countries of Eastern Europe go their own way, he tried desperately to keep Russia, Ukraine and other republics together, reluctant to let Moscow's empire break apart. For many in Ukraine, Gorbachev represents a figure that remains common in Russian society today: one who believes in liberal values, but still clings to the idea of empire."

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