Aug 31, 2022

Mikhail Gorbachev, Last Soviet Leader, Dead At 91 Transcript

Mikhail Gorbachev, Last Soviet Leader, Dead At 91 Transcript
RevBlogTranscriptsCold WarMikhail Gorbachev, Last Soviet Leader, Dead At 91 Transcript

Mikhail Gorbachev, the final leader of the Soviet Union and a reformer who helped end the Cold War but failed to prevent the collapse of the Soviet Union, died Tuesday at the age of 91. Read the transcript here.

Transcribe Your Own Content

Try Rev and save time transcribing, captioning, and subtitling.

Speaker 1: (00:02)
There’s some breaking news to tell you about involving a hugely significant figure in world history. Russian state media is reporting that Mikhail Gorbachev, the last president of the Soviet Union, died today at the age of 91. He is largely known here in the United States for helping to end the Cold War without bloodshed with lifting the iron curtain that separated his nation from the rest of Europe. As president, he introduced several reforms, expanding freedom, but his legacy in Russia is complicated. He failed to stop the complete and total collapse of the Soviet Union back in the early ’90s. This is the developing story. We’re watching and we’ll tell you more about it when we have it. Joining us now, NBC’s senior international correspondent, Keir Simmons, who has a look back at the life and the impact of Mikhail Gorbachev.

Keir Simmons: (00:50)
By Soviet standards, Mikhail Gorbachev’s rule was short, but the last leader of the Soviet Union said his six years in power felt like a lifetime. In 1985, the aging members of the Soviet Polit Bureau turned to the 54 year old Gorbachev to breathe new life into the system. Little did they know, the dark-suited bureaucrat with the distinctive birthmark would not only change the communist party, but the world.

Martin McCauley: (01:21)
Let’s end the Cold War. Let’s end the nuclear confrontation. Let’s abolish new weapons. That was revolutionary.

Keir Simmons: (01:28)
Gorbachev made friends with the Soviet Union’s former enemies, none moreso than the US President, Ronald Reagan, then negotiated a breakthrough nuclear missile treaty and formed a strong bond.

Mikhail Gorbachev: (01:43)
[foreign language 00:01:43].

Keir Simmons: (01:43)
That same year, Gorbachev sat down with NBC’s Tom Brokaw, a TV first, and Americans were amazed by this open, reassuring Soviet leader and charmed by Racer, the first Soviet first lady they’d ever seen. But it was at home where Gorbachev’s two big ideas, Glasnost or openness and para striker, economic restructuring, that a genie out of the bottle even he couldn’t put back.

Mikhail Gorbachev: (02:11)
[foreign language 00:02:11].

Keir Simmons: (02:11)
“We could and should have saved the Soviet Union, but we lost politically,” he later to said. Soviets got more freedom, but nothing to buy. The economy collapsed. While in Eastern Europe, people didn’t embrace his reforms, they fled them. But in perhaps his most iconic act, Gorbachev let the Berlin Wall fall, and a year later was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. But back in Moscow, his own colleagues plotted and failed to overthrow him in a three day coo. When Gorbachev returned from house arrest in the Crimea, he landed in a different world. Russian President, Boris Yeltsin, was now firmly in charge. Within months, Gorbachev resigned, and the Soviet Union was no more. Years later, he said his main concern was to avoid bloodshed.

Mikhail Gorbachev: (03:06)
[foreign language 00:03:06].

Keir Simmons: (03:07)
“There could have been civil war in a country saturated with nuclear weapons,” he said. He went on to become an international celebrity, making ads for Pizza Hut, and Louis Vuitton to fund his foundation. In Russia, few paid attention to his calls for more democracy.

Martin McCauley: (03:28)
He’s a hero to many. The majority of the world, he’s a hero. To a minority, he’s a villain.

Keir Simmons: (03:35)
Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev, the man who ended the Cold War, was never forgiven for the demise of his country and died largely reviled by his own people. Keir Simmons, NBC News.

Transcribe Your Own Content

Try Rev and save time transcribing, captioning, and subtitling.