Gorbachev's tragedy - the unravelling of his legacy

A 2004 photo of Mr Mikhail Gorbachev, who resigned as president of the Soviet Union on Dec 25, 1991 – minutes before it ceased to exist. PHOTO: NYTIMES
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Mikhail Gorbachev, lionised in the West, idolised by protesting Chinese students in Tiananmen Square but despised by many Russians for what they saw as his destroying their country, had fallen far from grace and could barely contain his fury when I first met him in 1992, soon after arriving in Moscow as a correspondent. 

His successor in the Kremlin, Mr Boris Yeltsin, had just confiscated his limousine and evicted his research foundation from its Moscow offices in a fit of vengeful spite – indignities that challenged not only his amour propre but also his lofty and well-deserved self-image as a leader who had changed the world.

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