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NYT Sobs: Heroic Gorbachev ‘Sold Out’

From a heart-broken New York Times:

Gorbachev’s Baggage

The great man clutches the handle of the vintage limousine, staring sadly out the window at a chunk of the Berlin Wall with an open Louis Vuitton travel bag on the seat next to him. The message, creators of the ad tell us, is a “personal journey” of a beautiful person.

It’s a bit of a squeeze to fit Mikhail Gorbachev, the last leader of the first communist society, into this collage — especially when the cover of a glossy Russian magazine peering from his bag has a headline that reads: “The Murder of Litvinenko: They Wanted to Give Up the Suspect for $7,000.”

Alexander Litvinenko, you may recall, was the former K.G.B. agent killed by radioactive poison in London.

What personal journey is Mr. Gorbachev on now? The ad agency, Ogilvy & Mather, insists that the magazine part was not intentional. Perhaps not, but the banal message that comes across is of a great figure cashing in. Maybe that accounts for his sad expression.

Mr. Gorbachev has been on this journey before. Ten years ago, he did a TV spot for Pizza Hut that drew considerable scorn. In the ad, he feeds a slice to his 10-year-old granddaughter while Russians debate whether he sold them out or brought them freedom. He argued at the time that he needed money for his foundation

We see little wrong when famous people make a tidy living off speeches and best sellers. But a statesman peddling a product for pay — remember Bob Dole’s Viagra ads — is seen to cheapen his or her historic achievement. Putting Lenin into a Coca-Cola ad is the icon of the deliberately subversive “Soc-Art” art movement in Russia.

Mr. Gorbachev is one of the peculiar heroes of our time. He came to power in 1985 intent on reviving the Communist system by reforming it, but the processes of “glasnost” and “perestroika” ended up putting an end to the terrible tyranny of Soviet Communism.

His name was chanted by grateful crowds in the East and West; his smile, his candor and his birthmark are among the lasting images of the 20th century. He was only 60 when he was unceremoniously pushed out of the Kremlin in 1991, and Russia has denied him any political role since. So perhaps he really does need money.

But money has become what Russia is all about, raw money and raw power, absent even the utopian dreams that motivated Mr. Gorbachev’s historic role. So even if we don’t begrudge him the money, it’s sad to contemplate that his personal journey has taken him from there to this.

In case anyone still wondered how much the Solons at the New York Times hate capitalism and love dictators — ideally, communist dictators.

And in case there was any confusion about how shamelessly mendacious they are about even recent history.

Mr. Gorbachev’s utopian dream was to put the entire world under the yoke of Stalinistic communism with the Soviet Union as master.

Some dream. But of course it is one that the New York Times shares to its very marrow.

Still, how can anyone accuse Mr. Gorbachev of now being out for the money:

US couple pays 160,000 dollars for lunch with Gorbachev

Fri Nov 9

MOSCOW (AFP) – Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev will have lunch on Saturday with a US couple who paid 160,000 dollars (109,000 euros) at a charity auction for the pleasure, Interfax news agency reported.

The couple bid the money at the auction in London in June. “We’ll have cabbage, herring and vodka,” all traditional Russian dishes, Gorbachev was quoted as saying on Friday.

The auction raised four million dollars and was organised by the Raisa Gorbachev Foundation, named after the late wife of the Soviet leader who died of cancer in 1999…

You see, once again it’s all going to a good cause.

Mr. Gorbachev’s foundation.

This article was posted by Steve on Friday, November 16th, 2007. Comments are currently closed.

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