“Death of a public figure often commemorates the end of an epoch,” such is a common saying that usually precedes the beginning of a biographical story of some famous politician, scientist or a military activist.
This time however, it would be inappropriate to talk about Ronald Reagan in such manner, mainly because it is obviously way too early to talk about the end of the Reagan's empire.
Today's president of the United States George Bush Jr. stated that Reagan “left behind the country, which he restored and the world, which he helped to save. …Thanks to his leadership, the world said farewell to the epoch of fear and tyranny. Now, saying farewell to him, we thank him.”
It is no secret that George Bush merely tries to imitate his predecessor; he's got a long way to go. The fact that Ronald Reagan will always occupy an honorary niche in the history of American politics, does not prove that Bush will be awarded the same honor.
How did people of the former USSR remember Ronald Reagan? Well, first of all, they all remember him by coining the term “the evil empire.” Such catchy phrase is still used nowadays. However, as far as foreign affairs are concerned, for a number of countries the US remains no lesser “Evil Empire” than the USSR once was.
Another popular term—“Reaganomics”. Perhaps, even the most active propagandist of the Soviet times will have hard times remembering specific meaning of the term. The only fact that can still be remembered is that back when Reagan was head of the Oval office, all US military expenses reached astronomical numbers, and the words “strategic defense initiative” became almost a staple of Reagan's epoch, along with the “Evil Empire”.
First years of Reagan's presidency have been marked by another outburst of the Cold War. The US president has called the USSR “Evil Empire”. Soviet General Secretary Yuri Andropov in turn compared Reagan to Hitler. While declaring one of his major goals to fight communism, Ronald Reagan did not intend to compromise. This time however, he was in luck. Had someone else occupied the post of the USSR's General Secretary aside from Mikhail Gorbachev, who practically handed Reagan victory, it is highly doubtful that the 40th president of the United States could ever receive the laurels.
There is an old saying that one should refrain from criticizing a deceased person. However, let's refrain from the rules for a second and comment on George Bush’ speech, Ronald Reagan saved the world from neither fear nor tyranny. Actually, no man is capable of such a thing. Indeed, Reagan's contribution to the US was immense. As far as the world at large is concerned, the issue remains rather controversial.