Former President George H.W. Bush passed away on Friday at the age of 94, just months after the death of his wife of more than seven decades, Barbara Bush — and it didn’t take long for words of prayer and praise to reach the Bush family from across the globe.
Even Russian President Vladimir Putin reached out to one of his American counterparts, former President George W. Bush, to express his condolences.
NBC News shared the letter from Putin to the grieving son on Twitter on Saturday. The note offered “deepest condolences” and “heartfelt sympathy” to the entire Bush family as they mourn the tragic loss of the family patriarch.
President Putin’s letter to President George W. Bush on the death of his father, President George H.W. Bush. pic.twitter.com/4q6v5EzIYV
— NBC News (@NBCNews) December 1, 2018
Condolences and sympathy from Putin
“Please accept my deepest condolences over the passing of your father, former U.S. President, George Herbert Walker Bush,” Putin began his message.
He continued: “An outstanding politician, he devoted his entire life to serving his country, both as a serviceman during wartime and in high-ranking public posts in peacetime… As U.S. President during one of the most important periods of world history, he showed political wisdom and foresight, and always sought balanced decisions even in the most difficult situations.”
Putin went on to praise the former president for recognizing “the importance of a constructive dialogue between the two major nuclear powers,” and for taking “great efforts to strengthen Russian-American relations and cooperation in international security.”
“I had the good fortune to have met with him several times,” Putin continued. “I recall with particular warmth him organizing our meeting at your wonderful summer home in Kennebunkport.”
My fellow citizens and I will always cherish the memory of George Bush Sr. In this sad time, I would like to pass worlds of heartfelt sympathy and support to all members of your large family. May you have endurance during this time of grievous and tragic loss.
Steady guidance during a tumultuous time of change
Putin mentioned that the elder Bush guided the U.S. through “one of the most important periods of world history,” a truth that cannot be understated — even by someone on the “other side” of that important historical moment.
The Russian leader was referencing the apparent end of the Cold War, symbolized by the tearing down of the Berlin Wall that allowed for a reunified Germany and the lowering of the Iron Curtain in eastern Europe that allowed for capitalism to begin to flourish following the collapse of the communist Soviet empire.
Bush’s steady hand of guidance through the tumultuous transition helped keep that dramatic time of change a peaceful one.
Indeed, Bush’s outstretched hand of friendship to former Soviet enemies following the collapse of the empire may very well have prevented widespread nuclear proliferation among U.S. rivals and untold conflicts among the former Soviet satellite states to establish borders and spheres of influence in the new era.
Separately, but around the same time, Bush also successfully led an international coalition that joined together to oppose the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, pushing Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein’s forces out of the oil-rich Kuwaiti nation that Hussein had attempted to seize as his own.
George Herbert Walker Bush may have only served one term in office, having lost his re-election bid in 1992 to his successor, former President Bill Clinton, but his tenure in office will always be remembered as significant.
There is no denying that Bush was a respected leader of the free world, and that reputation is exemplified by the messages of support pouring in for his family from world leaders of vastly different backgrounds and ideologies who nevertheless feel compelled to pay their respects to the fallen American leader.
RIP, Mr. President.