Day 189 Roundup: Putin Pays Tribute to Gorbachev, Russia Reportedly Welcomes Permanent IAEA Mission at Nuclear Plant

Photo: Reuters [via Reuters]

The Facts

  • Russian Pres. Vladimir Putin offered his "deepest condolences" to the family of Mikhail Gorbachev, the last leader of the Soviet Union who died aged 91 in Moscow on Tuesday. "Mikhail Gorbachev was a politician and statesman who had a huge impact on the course of global history," Putin said in a telegram to the family which was published on the Kremlin website on Wednesday.

  • Putin reportedly had a strained relationship with Gorbachev, whose openness reforms ultimately led the Soviet Union to break up into 15 states, precipitating its collapse and his resignation in 1991. At that time, Putin had been a KGB agent in east Germany. The Kremlin said a decision was yet to be made about whether Gorbachev would receive a state funeral.

The Spin

Narrative A

As demonstrated by Putin's telegram, the Russian Pres. and Gorbachev shared a friendship and respect that lasted until the latter's death. Putin considers him a bright and preeminent statesman that profoundly shaped the course of global history.

Narrative B

Given that Putin had been a KGB agent in east Germany when Gorbachev oversaw the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Pres. was never fond of the USSR's last leader - a fact reflected in how carefully worded his condolence message was. After all, it's Putin that described the collapse of the Soviet Union as the "greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the century."

Nerd narrative

There's a 35% chance that the next Russian Leader will disapprove of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

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