Mikhail Gorbachev (born 2 March 1931) is a former Soviet statesman, having served as General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1985-1991, and as the last head of state of the Soviet Union, having served from 1988 until its dissolution in 1991. He was awarded the Otto Hahn Peace Medal (1989) and the Nobel Peace Prize (1990).
"The fact that I went on too long in trying to reform the Communist party." He should have resigned in April 1991, he said, and formed a democratic party of reform since the Communists were putting the brakes on all the necessary changes.
Mr. Gorbachev will go into the annals as a man whose actions reshaped the world in a way and at a pace that few historical figures have achieved.
Yeltsin and other reformers succeeded in completely undoing the old order. The Soviet Union dissolved into 15 individual republics, and on December 25, 1991, Gorbachev resigned from the presidency of a nation that no longer existed.
a group of “hard-line” Communists organized a coup d’etat. They kidnapped Gorbachev, and then, on August 19 of 1991, they announced on state television that Gorbachev was very ill and would no longer be able to govern. The country went into an uproar.
Communist hard-liners scorn him as a traitor; the gray mass standing in endless lines berates him as the man who brought a one-time superpower to its knees, begging amid food shortages.
the economic effects of the end of the Soviet Union for many millions of ordinary people were nothing short of disastrous. By the end of the 1990s, one-third of Russians lived under the poverty line, while production output collapsed to half its 1989 level.
It marks the end of the unnatural division of Europe. Germany has been reunited. We have begun resolutely to tear down the material foundations of a military, political and ideological confrontation.
In November 1988, Gorbachev announced full withdrawal of Soviet forces from Afghanistan. However he was criticized for taking too long to reach the decision. The policy of No-intervention in the affairs of other states (Warsaw Pact) proved to be the most momentous of Gorbachev’s foreign policy reforms.
Gorbachev notified the Communist leaders of those coutries that he would not intervene militarily to keep them in power as his predecessors had done. Without the support of the Red Army, these dictatorships were quickly forced to yield to their democratic opposition
Within five years, Gorbachev's revolutionary program swept communist governments throughout Eastern Europe from power and brought an end to the Cold War (1945-91), the largely political and economic rivalry between the Soviets and the United States and their respective allies
In 1888, Gorbachev introduced Glasnost, meaning greater freedom of speech. Press became far less controlled and a number of prisoners were released. It was a radical change on odds with the previous policy of suppression of criticism and control of speech that has been a central part of the Soviet System.
the clearest signs of improving Soviet-American relations came in 1988 when Gorbachev made a positive impression when he entered a crowd of spectators in New York City to shake hands with people. In May and June of the same year, President Reagan visited Moscow.
I would like to assure you that the leadership of the USSR is doing and will continue to do everything in its power to ensure that future developments in Europe and the world as a whole are based on openness, mutual trust, international law and universal values.
he set out to restore “the human face of socialism”, succeeded in introducing large elements of democracy – and ended the nuclear standoff of the Cold War.
As he took power in March 1985, Gorbachev brought a fresh new spirit to the Kremlin. Young, energetic and married to an attractive, stylish, and educated woman, he represented a new generation of Soviet leaders, free from the direct experiences of Stalin's terror
he acquired a reputation for innovation and incorruptible honesty, and he soon rose in the Party hierarchy.
Mr Gorbachev's acceptance speech gave a hint of the changes to come. He spoke of his desire to freeze the deployment of weapons and reduce the international nuclear weapons stockpiles.