Ramaphosa expresses his condolences on the passing of Mikhail Gorbachev

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President Cyril Ramaphosa has expressed his condolences on the passing of Mikhail Gorbachev, the last leader of the Soviet Union.

In a statement, Ramaphosa says South Africa is greatly indebted for the support provided by the Soviet Union over an extended period including Gorbachev’s term of office.

Ramaphosa says Gorbachev continued to support South Africa’s liberation movement and to anti-colonial struggles in Southern Africa.

The last leader of the Soviet Union has died at the age of 91, after suffering from a serious and long-term illness.

Mikhail Gorbachev was instrumental in ending the Cold War between the United States, introducing a host of economic reforms and bringing Soviet troops out of a protracted war in Afghanistan.

But his legacy within Russia is complicated. In Russia now and during the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev’s attempts to open the Soviet economy to the world and introduce reforms more in line with nations to the West, were often criticised and treated as suspicious.

And that’s reflected in the media coverage of his death or notable absence of it in Russia on Wednesday.

For many Russians and citizens of former Soviet Republics, the end of the USSR and the way it collapsed leave a bitter taste.

VIDEO: A look at last President of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev’s legacy with Lebohang Pheko