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. Last Updated: 10/24/2014

Mikhail Gorbachev


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

Ex-Soviet President Gorbachev Says 'Disunity' With Russia Weakens Europe

Former Soviet Leader Mikhail Gorbachev has called on Russia and the West to put an end to their war of words and retaliatory sanctions over Ukraine and discuss a practical solution to the crisis.

What Brezhnev Can Teach Us About Putin

We know what ended the Brezhnev era. We can only guess what will end the Putin era.

Former Soviet Leader Mikhail Gorbachev in Hospital

Former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev has been hospitalized following an "aggravation" of an unspecified illness, but said he was in an upbeat mood and determined to fight for his recovery, Russian media reported.

Russia Overtakes U.S. in Nuclear Warhead Deployment

With 1,643 nuclear warheads deployed, Moscow has reversed 14 years of U.S. superiority, and now has one more warhead in the field than the Pentagon, according to a U.S. State Department report. 

The Hard Life of a Translator

Ah, Friday! You can finally get some sleep tonight after the wild midweek celebration at the office. You all partied with your staff on Tuesday, right?

Russia's Isolation Wastes Precious Resources

Russia's crusade to isolate itself from the outside world will waste precious time, money and resources, as the example of the Soviet Union shows, writes columnist Georgy Bovt.


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