Skip to content

Mikhail Gorbachev, dead at 91, warned Northeastern grads in 1998 about ‘enforced utopia’

People in this story

Former Soviet Union President Mikhail Gorbachev, who died at age 91 Tuesday, told 1,600 Northeastern University graduates in June of 1998 to “be optimists” and work for world peace. “Please remember one lesson of the 20th century,” he said through an interpreter. “One cannot impose happiness on nations by imposing any kind of enforced utopia.” “The Russian people paid a great price,” he said.

Serving from 1985 to 1991, Gorbachev was the last leader of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. He tried to revitalize the Communist country through “perestroika” and “glasnost,” but the restructuring and openness led to the nation’s demise and the dissolution of the Communist bloc. Jeffrey Burds, associate professor of Russian and Soviet history at Northeastern, says Gorbachev was trying to tell Northeastern students that: “Reform is great if we build it together. It never works when imposed from above.”

Continue reading at News@Northeastern.

More Stories

ADVANCE FOR MONDAY AUG. 22 - In this Aug. 5, 2016 photo, Movie reels and old films left over from the Old Texas Theater's years as a movie house sit on display in a cabinet within the Ballinger venue in Ballinger, Texas. Things have been up and down for the Old Texas Theater over the years. Now, the venue is coming back once again.

Northeastern professor uncovers oldest Japanese American film

Britain's King Charles III leaves after attending the state funeral of Queen Elizabeth II, at the Westminster Abbey in London Monday, Sept. 19, 2022.

Why the UK needs the realms and the Commonwealth much more than they need the UK

Rally in Lisbon in rejection of Masha Amini's death - 23 Sept 2022

Protests raging across Iran show ‘solidarity’ and anger against regime, Northeastern experts say