Who is Mikhail Gorbachev?

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Mikhail Gorbachev was born on March 2, 1931 in Russia. He was:

  • a Soviet official,
  • the general secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) from 1985 to 1991,
  • the first president of the Soviet Union, serving from 1990 to 1991. He was the only person to occupy the office, as Soviet Union officially ceased to exist at midnight on 31 December 1991.

In August 1991, while Gorbachev was vacationing in the Crimea, Communist conservatives captured him in a coup d’état to seize power, which eventually failed. However, after the unsuccessful coup, Gorbachev stepped down from his position as president of the Soviet Union.

Some important information about Gorbachev:

  • He graduated with a degree in law in 1955 from Moscow State University.
  • Ideologically, he initially adhered to Marxism-Leninism although by the early 1990s had moved toward social democracy.
  • His efforts to democratize his country’s political system and decentralize its economy led to the downfall of communism and the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991.
  • He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1990 for his leadership role in ending the Cold War and promoting peaceful international relations.
  • Conversely, in Russia he is often derided for not stopping the Soviet collapse, an event which is thought that brought a decline in Russia’s global influence and precipitated an economic crisis.
  • In 1996, Gorbachev ran for president of Russia but garnered less than 1 percent of the vote.

Source: britannica.com, biography.com, Wikipedia