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Mikhail Gorbachev

Government

Mikhail Gorbachev

Mikhail Gorbachev (Михаил Сергеевич Горбачёв) was born on March 2, 1931, in Privolnoye, Stavropol region, to collective farm workers.

Education: Law, Moscow State University, 1955. Agronomy-Economics, Stavropol Agriculture Institute, 1967.

1952: Joined the Communist Party after having been a member of Komsomol youth organization

1955-58: Rises through the Komsomol hierarchy to become the organization's top official in Stavropol

1961: Delegate from Stavropol to the 22nd Communist Party Congress in Moscow, at which Nikita Khrushchev announced a plan to surpass the United States in per capita production within 20 years

1970: Appointed First Secretary for Stavropol territory, governing an area of 2.4 million people

1970-1990: Deputy to the Supreme Soviet

1971: Appointed to the Communist Party Central Committee

1974: Deputy to the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union and Chairman of the Standing Commission on Youth Affairs

1978-1985: Secretary of Agriculture in the Central Committee

1980: Becomes youngest full member of the Politburo

1984-1985: Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee

1985-Aug. 24, 1991: General Secretary of Communist Party by the Central Committee. His two signature policies, perestroika and glasnost, covered a broad range of reforms that included economic liberalization and relaxed restrictions on civil rights.

1989: Elected by the new parliament as executive president of Soviet Union. Ends the Soviet Union's occupation of Afghanistan.

March 1990: Elected the first president of the Soviet Union with 59 percent of deputies' votes. Awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

August 1991: Survived a coup attempt by Communist Party hard-liners that nonetheless severely weakened his grip on power

Dec. 25, 1991: Resigns as president of the Soviet Union. The country was formally dissolved the following day.

1992-present: President of the Gorbachev Foundation, which researches the Perestroika era and current issues of Russian history and politics, and the International Green Cross, an ecological organization.

June-July 1996: Runs for president, placing seventh with a meager 0.5 percent of the vote

2001-2004: Head of the Social Democratic Party. SDPR failed to either collect the required 200,000 signatures for the December 2003 elections or pay the 37.5 million ruble fee to get on the party list ballot.

2006: Bought a 49 percent stake in Russia's leading opposition newspaper, Novaya Gazeta, with businessman Alexander Lebedev

2008: Teamed up with Lebedev again to found the Independent Democratic Party of Russia

2011: Celebrated his 80th birthday with a star-studded fundraiser at the Royal Albert Hall in London

30 Years On, Gorbachev Rues Running of His Soviet Anti-Alcohol Campaign

Former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev said that his massive anti-alcohol campaign in the 1980s was too swift and sweeping in a recent interview.

Russians Must Keep Their Abhorrence of War

During the 70 years since the great victory over Nazi Germany, the interpretation of that event by first Soviet, and later Russian, authorities has repeatedly changed.

Russia's Other 70th Anniversary Celebration

At the height of the recent 70th anniversary celebrations of Victory Day, I recalled another 70th anniversary that matched these for hype and bluster — right down to the posters on every street corner, the slogans, the concerts by Soviet crooners Lev Leshchenko and Iosif Kobzon, the solemn meetings and the foreign guests from Asia, Africa and the friendly part of Europe.

Chinese Leader Tops Meager Victory Day Guest List

While Russia's Victory Day celebrations will be some of the most extravagant since the end of the Soviet Union, tensions over Ukraine have left the international guest list significantly shorter than usual.

Russia Slips Back to Suffocating Stagnation

I spent the years of my youth in the latter part of former Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev's rule — a period now called "the years of stagnation."

Rifkind Tells Story of Gorbachev's First Meeting With Margaret Thatcher

Just over 30 years ago, Mikhail Gorbachev became general secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. The next day, The Times of London ran an editorial entitled "Mr Gorbachov's Hour" — the British media had yet to learn to spell his name — saying that he could prove to be a man with whom Western leaders could feel at home with more than Lenin's heirs.

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