The Iron Lady as Liberator

For many who grew up in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, Margaret Thatcher will always be a heroine. Not only did she espouse the cause of freedom, but, by embracing Mikhail Gorbachev at a time when almost every democratic leader was deeply suspicious of his intentions, she became a vital catalyst in realizing it.

KHARKIV, UKRAINE – Prison is always a place of mourning. But perhaps learning of Margaret Thatcher’s death in this place is grimly appropriate, because it made me remember the imprisoned society of my youth that Thatcher did so much to set free.

For many of us who grew up in the Soviet Union and its satellites in Eastern Europe, Margaret Thatcher will always be a heroine. Not only did she espouse the cause of freedom – particularly economic freedom – in Britain and the West; by proclaiming Mikhail Gorbachev a man “we can do business with” (at a time when almost every democratic leader was deeply suspicious of his policies of perestroika and glasnost), she became a vital catalyst in unlocking our gulag societies.

Indeed, for everyone in the former communist world who sought to build a free society out of the wreckage of totalitarianism, the “Iron Lady” became a secular icon. Her qualities of courage and persistence – of being “not for turning” – provided a living example for us of a type of leadership that does not buckle at moments of political peril. I have certainly taken inspiration from her fidelity to her principles and absolute determination to fight, and fight again, when the cause is just.

To continue reading, please log in or enter your email address.

To read this article from our archive, please log in or register now. After entering your email, you'll have access to two free articles from our archive every month. For unlimited access to Project Syndicate, subscribe now.

required

By proceeding, you agree to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy, which describes the personal data we collect and how we use it.

Log in

http://prosyn.org/N6I7dqg;

Cookies and Privacy

We use cookies to improve your experience on our website. To find out more, read our updated cookie policy and privacy policy.