According to Reuters, Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei is designing a monument to Mikhail Gorbachev to be located in the center of Berlin. The news of the planned monument came out on March 4, two days after Gorbachev celebrated his 90th birthday.

The news agency called the 63-year-old artist the “best-known critic” of the Chinese government. He told Reuters that he was working on the monument with the Cinema for Peace foundation. Reuters recalled that this organization had been responsible for bringing Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny to Germany for medical care after his poisoning.

Weiwei says China needs its own Gorbachev

Speaking at his home in Portugal, Weiwei told Reuters he was unhappy that China did not have a leader like Gorbachev, who had allowed communist rule to come to an end peacefully rather than try to preserve it through the use of deadly force. The news agency quoted Weiwei as saying, "Gorbachev is always symbolic for people seeking freedom."

Gorbachev in quarantine for his birthday

The Moscow Times quoted a spokesman for Gorbachev as saying the former leader of the Soviet Union was in quarantine. Like other Russians, he was "tired" of the restrictions imposed in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The newspaper said that Russian President Vladimir Putin had sent Gorbachev a birthday message.

The last leader of the Soviet Union was called one of "most extraordinary people and the greatest state leaders of our time."

Cooperation and denuclearization

The Moscow Times quoted comments Gorbachev had made in a recent interview with the TASS news agency. In his remarks, he had called for russia and the United States' leadership to negotiate stronger restrictions on nuclear arms.

The paper said Gorbachev had expressed his desires for the worldwide elimination of all nuclear weapons and greater partnership between Russia and the West. The Moscow Times pointed out that Gorbachev and U.S. President Ronald Reagan had signed the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) in December 1987.

The newspaper recalled that Gorbachev had taken office as General Secretary of the Soviet Union in 1985.

He resigned from that position on December 29, 1991, two days before the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the paper noted. The Moscow Times reminded its readers that during Gorbachev's time in office, he had pursued "glasnost" (openness) and "perestroika" (democratization and economic liberalization).

The newspaper said that, in addition to Putin's message, Gorbachev had received congratulatory birthday greetings from U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson and U.S. President Joe Biden.