The Gipper wins another one.
Former Polish president and anti-communist leader Lech Walesa unveiled a statue of Ronald Reagan on an elegant Warsaw street on Monday, honoring the late U.S. president for inspiring Poland’s toppling of communism.
Though Reagan’s legacy is mixed in the U.S., across much of central and eastern Europe he is considered the greatest American leader in recent history for challenging the Soviet Union.
The moniker he gave it — the “evil empire” — resonated with Poles, who suffered greatly under Moscow-imposed rule.
“I wonder whether today’s Poland, Europe and world could look the same without president Reagan,” Walesa said. “As a participant in those events, I must say that it’s inconceivable.”
The 3.5-meter (11.5-foot) bronze statue depicts a smiling Reagan in a historic moment — as he stood at a podium at Berlin’s Brandenburg gate in 1987 and said the famous words, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.”
Several statues of Reagan have gone up this year, the centennial of Reagan’s birth. Most notably, monuments to him have been erected in London and in Budapest, Hungary, and yet another is to be unveiled later this week in the former Soviet republic of Georgia.