Michael Gorbachev has died at age 91.
He was president of the Soviet Union, praised by the West for dismantling the Berlin Wall and enabling reunifiication of East and West Germany, for easing East-West tensions and reducing armaments, but vilified in Russia for allowing the Soviet Union to collapse.
Less is being said about his role as agriculture minister and friend of Canada.
Former agriculture minister Eugene Whelan hosted him to a tour that included Hopewell Farm at Breslau where Seagram distillery fed beef cattle distillery remains.
Whelan and Gorbachev became good friends and Whelan predicted he would rise to the top in Russia.
Gorbachev introduced many Canadian farming practices to the Russian collective farms.
Both men were beloved by farmers with whom they developed an easy rapport.
Unfortunately, many of the reforms Gorbachev introduced in Russia have been undone by Vladimir Putin.
Putin has no friends in the West, as did Gorbachev, seems intent on trying to conquer parts of the former Soviet Union starting with Ukraine and is anything but a genial friend of farmers.
The world has lost a great man with the death of Gorbachev.