Mikhail Gorbachev calls for collective leadership

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Mikhail Gorbachev calls for collective leadership

Former Soviet leader says The root cause of the unrest in Ukraine was an interruption of perestroika and of the democratic process there.


Afkar Ali Ahmed

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Published: Tue 25 Feb 2014, 1:00 AM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 6:05 AM

Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev says the crisis in Ukraine has been created by the government’s failure to act democratically.

Speaking at the IGCF on Sunday, as the forum’s guest of honour, he dwelled briefly on the current political situation in Ukraine where protesters took to the streets of Kiev and seized the president’s office as parliament voted to remove him and hold elections.

Speaking about the social conflicts across the world, Gorbachev said: “Today, the world is a kind of turbulent sea. The tensions that have accumulated can surface in the most dramatic way — although it will be difficult to say where. In such reactions, we have seen mass uprisings in countries such as Turkey and Ukraine that underline the failure of their governments to act democratically and talk to their people. The root cause of the unrest in Ukraine was an interruption of perestroika and of the democratic process there.”

Calling for change, he said: “Weak crisis management indicates lack of political initiative and courage. Leaders have been content with small steps and have failed to act in the spirit of collective leadership, which is the only workable format in today’s world. The transition to a more sustainable world is imperative. If the current elite are not able to provide leadership to pioneer this change, it is time for the new race of leaders to take their place. Today, we need to look for solutions that lead to world peace. We need global governance — it is a multi-level initiative that covers the local, national, and regional levels. We have only years and not decades to resolve this problem.”

In his keynote address, Gorbachev said: “The 20th century has turned out to be the bloodiest century. Although we are living in an interdependent world, we are yet to live in interdependence. We are, therefore, seeing the consequences of this inability in political, economic and social interactions. Globalisation is the dominant reality of the world. The end of the cold war gave impetus to this globalisation.”

Gorbachev criticised the way issues are being addressed: “In as much, the assumption that the current model of globalisation will see us overcome the problems of inequality is not working. In fact, we see the development of new weapons and conflicts while old conflicts remain unresolved. For instance, the economic crisis of 2008 is not over. It should have been an alarm bell – but we have not responded to it adequately; there has been no sincere shared effort.”

He said globalisation would achieve equality and spread tolerance in the world; it is now encouraging Muslim countries to confront the marginalisation by the Great Powers.


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