Gorbachev & communism

I just found an article about M. Gorbachev and found it too interesting to not translate it to you, besides there's almost no Greek ones reading me anymore  Even more interesting for my Russian, Ukrainian and Hungarian friends maybe but too important to not be interesting for anyone in any corner of this world anyway.
(Written by the owner of the first liberal magazine of Greece)
Around 30 years ago, M. Gorbachev visited Athens. He wanted to see no journalists except me and my wife, publishers of "Epoptia" magazine, the only one which introduced liberalism in Greece since it was founded in the 70s and strictly anticommunism. Why the leader of communism made this exception to visit us I don't know. He accepted though only with the precondition to publish nothing about his visit nor any short of interview.
We met at Astera Vouliagmenis around the end of 80s. On his question how "Epoptia" is going and why so much anti communism I answered that our target is not communism neither we endorse any short of nationalism, instead our goal is freedom for the people. He insisted asking if we believe that freedom is a human right and I answered that it is a right but in no way outside the society. A right that cannot be guaranteed by an ideology or a political party but only by law and a fair state. Therefore, there's no freedom out of the law. However, Gorbachev said, liberalism is not an ideology? Of course, I replied, there's people who consider it so but we do not endorse them. We believe in the free spirit coming from Marathon and Salamina, from the Roman and the entire European cultural heritage. For "Epoptia" liberalism is the base of our civilisation, far from ideologies. It's our civilisation and that's what differs us from all the rest.
Gorbachev stated "not convinced". I said I didn't have such expectations from a guy like him who was the KGB boss when they slaughtered the Hungarian revolution. He said "No, this was Yuri Antropov" and that this act marked him and his boss. He also said: "There in Hungary, I felt for the first time that communism is not an ideology but a regime. That people wanted freedom and we were not defending an opposed idea but a regime". His answer surprised both me and my wife. I felt so humble towards him. Any contrarian attitude inside me was vanished. He then turned to my wife asking about our relationship and also refereed to a piece of Pushkin. He was clearly happy with her answers. Then turned back to me. He wanted to see my reactions over some specific things. I replied to all of them but returned to the initial subject. I asked him if during the Hungarian Revolution was when he decided that the communistic regime should be over. He was negative: "Banning the communistic regime with one order from its leader would be again a communistic act, an act of a regime. As people we need education and help which will allow us to learn how to walk as true citizens and not exist as disabled ones." I understood the base of his policy. He went on: "You saw Chrustov. He beat the leadership of the Russian Communist Party but people only understood that they just shouldn't be praising Stalin anymore. What we truly need though is to find our own new pace. If it's not too late"
He spoke calmly, an important leader, a statesman. With no alienated by fanaticism mask. Yeltsin, whom I met years later, was a drunk, greedy and crude guy. Gorbatsov was a noble one, a person representing the high end of the Russian culture. I dared to ask him "When did you decide that communism was over for you?" He replied without hesitation "After Chernobyl. When I asked what's going on there, my guys in charge said nothing bad, nothing wrong, it's made up by CIA and the anticommunistic press. Then I asked guys in Ukraine and they replied the same. Eventually I managed to find out what was actually happening and said to myself: The regime has gone that bad that in order to survive it lies to its own leader! It is dead and tries to survive on its own corruption! Then I realised that in order to learn the truth and speak the truth we have to first bury the regime"


  1. Interesting. When is a regime a "regime"?

    1. Doesn't matter - it's always too late when people realise. If they do.