Gorbatchev docteur honoris causa de l'ULg
065©michel houet-ulg - sujet= Gorbatchev all

Le lundi 10 octobre à 18h30,

au Palais des Congrès,


L'Université de Liège a remis les insignes de docteur honoris causa à

Mikhaïl Gorbatchev

qui  a prononcé un discours sur le thème :

De la guerre froide à un monde durable



Discours du Recteur Bernard Rentier, lors de la remise des insignes

176©michel houet-ulg - sujet= Gorbatchev all

Mister President,

The University of Liège has opened its new academic year under the theme of democracy and human rights.

It is from this perspective that we have decided to honour three international personalities, 3 former heads of State from 3 continents, each of whom has played a vital role in his/her country, but who have also contributed in changing the face of the world.

After having hosted President Abdou Diouf a few weeks ago, and before honoring Michelle Bachelet later this year, it is a great pleasure and a great honour for all of us to welcome you in Liège.

Mister President, few political leaders may claim to have changed the course of History. And unfortunately, most of them have done it for disastrous reasons and with disastrous consequences. You have done it, not for evil but for good, for the genuine benefit of your people and for the people of the entire planet.

You have done it with the clearsightedness of a politician who understood that it was necessary to launch both deep democratic and deep economic reforms in the former Soviet Union.

You have done it with courage, tenacity and determination which are characteristic of leaders of global stature.

You have changed your own country, a world top nation, and those changes inevitably involved turning established models upside down and triggering strong opposition in many forms.

Twenty years have passed since you left the Russian Presidency, in the difficult circumstances we all remember. But your influence persists and you remain an international voice that we all want to listen to on the issues of the contemporary world. You have been awarded prestigious honors, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom in the US and above all, the 1990 Nobel Peace Prize.  But today, it is our university that honors you with a doctorate degree. Our first and foremost role is to educate young generations and it is essential that our students remain - or perhaps become aware - of the importance of your accomplishments. Almost all of them are too young to have witnessed that historic period.

Mister President, if 2,000 people have gathered here today, if we have had to close the registrations a while ago in spite of a pressing demand, if there are about a thousand people in neighbouring halls of this building with video transmission, it is because everybody remembers and wishes to celebrate the era of perestroika, the innovating process of glasnost and the fundamental reforms you initiated in the Soviet Union. Here, in the West, we watched then, transfixed, stunned, sometimes in disbelief or simply in doubt that you could succeed, but with great hopes and always in sheer admiration for your political courage - I would even say your political audacity.

It is also because each of us, in this world of turmoil, needs to listen to key voices, experienced voices which keep watching developments and which can, in taking some distance, offer us their wisdom.

Thank you Mister President. Thank you for having dared and resisted. And thank you for having shared with us tonight your vision, your doubts and your hopes concerning the evolution of the World.

Today, the University of Liège is really proud to present you with the insignia of an Honorary Doctorate, its highest academic award, and to count you, from now on, amongst the members of its great community.


Bernard Rentier
Recteur de l'Université de Liège



À cette occasion,  le LiègeU a publié une carte blanche de Nina Bachkatov, maître de conférences au département de science politique, éditeur de Inside Russia & Eurasia :

Le fin de l'URSS. 20 ans plus tard : toujours une part de mystère

C'était en décembre 2001. En deux étapes, les 8 et 21, l'Union soviétique s'écroulait de l'intérieur par la volonté de trois présidents qui ne détenaient aucun mandat et n'avaient jamais évoqué leur démarche. Le 8 décembre, les présidents des trois Républiques slaves (Russie, Ukraine, Biélorussie) se retrouvaient secrètement dansun relais de chasse de la forêt biélorusse et signaient les accords dits de Minsk. Ils dissolvaient l'URSS et créaient une Communauté des États indépendants (CEI) que les prédidents des autres Républiques fédérées étaient invités à rejoindre.

Pour les trois pays baltes (Estonie, Lettonie, Lituanie), c'était l'occasion d'enfin tourner la page soviétique et de s'aligner sur les pays d'Europe centrale et orientale qui, après la chute du mur de Berlin, avaient entrepris de liquider l'héritage communiste et réclamaient leur place dans des institutions comme l'Union européenne et l'Otan. Pour l'équipe nationaliste au pouvoir en Géorgie, il fallait profiter de l'occasionnon pour s'arrimer à une autre structure dominée par Moscou mais pour affirmer son indépendance totale.

Lire la suite de l'article dans LiègeU n°9, Automne 2011, p. 25-28.

Voir aussi le reportage de ULg.TV


Photos © Michel Houet ULg