Mikhail Gorbachev

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In this Eastern Slavic name, the patronymic is Sergeyevich and the family name is Gorbachev. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_0

"Gorbachev" redirects here. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_1

For other people with the surname, see Gorbachev (surname). Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_2

Mikhail Gorbachev_table_infobox_0

Mikhail GorbachevMikhail Gorbachev_header_cell_0_0_0
President of the Soviet UnionMikhail Gorbachev_header_cell_0_1_0
Vice PresidentMikhail Gorbachev_header_cell_0_2_0 Gennady YanayevMikhail Gorbachev_cell_0_2_1
Preceded byMikhail Gorbachev_header_cell_0_3_0 Office established

(partly himself as Chairman of the Supreme Soviet)Mikhail Gorbachev_cell_0_3_1

Succeeded byMikhail Gorbachev_header_cell_0_4_0 Office abolishedMikhail Gorbachev_cell_0_4_1
General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet UnionMikhail Gorbachev_header_cell_0_5_0
Prime MinisterMikhail Gorbachev_header_cell_0_6_0 Mikhail Gorbachev_cell_0_6_1
DeputyMikhail Gorbachev_header_cell_0_7_0 Vladimir IvashkoMikhail Gorbachev_cell_0_7_1
Preceded byMikhail Gorbachev_header_cell_0_8_0 Konstantin ChernenkoMikhail Gorbachev_cell_0_8_1
Succeeded byMikhail Gorbachev_header_cell_0_9_0 Vladimir Ivashko (acting)Mikhail Gorbachev_cell_0_9_1
Chairman of the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet UnionMikhail Gorbachev_header_cell_0_10_0
DeputyMikhail Gorbachev_header_cell_0_11_0 Anatoly LukyanovMikhail Gorbachev_cell_0_11_1
Preceded byMikhail Gorbachev_header_cell_0_12_0 Himself as Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme SovietMikhail Gorbachev_cell_0_12_1
Succeeded byMikhail Gorbachev_header_cell_0_13_0 Anatoly LukyanovMikhail Gorbachev_cell_0_13_1
Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSRMikhail Gorbachev_header_cell_0_14_0
Preceded byMikhail Gorbachev_header_cell_0_15_0 Andrei GromykoMikhail Gorbachev_cell_0_15_1
Succeeded byMikhail Gorbachev_header_cell_0_16_0 Himself as Chairman of the Supreme SovietMikhail Gorbachev_cell_0_16_1
Additional positions


Co-Chairman of the Union of Social DemocratsIncumbentAssumed office 11 March 2000Preceded byOffice establishedSecond Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union ActingIn office 9 February 1984 – 10 March 1985Preceded byKonstantin ChernenkoSucceeded byYegor LigachevMikhail Gorbachev_cell_0_17_0

Additional positionsMikhail Gorbachev_header_cell_0_18_0
Co-Chairman of the Union of Social DemocratsMikhail Gorbachev_header_cell_0_19_0
Preceded byMikhail Gorbachev_header_cell_0_20_0 Office establishedMikhail Gorbachev_cell_0_20_1
Second Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union

ActingMikhail Gorbachev_header_cell_0_21_0

Preceded byMikhail Gorbachev_header_cell_0_22_0 Konstantin ChernenkoMikhail Gorbachev_cell_0_22_1
Succeeded byMikhail Gorbachev_header_cell_0_23_0 Yegor LigachevMikhail Gorbachev_cell_0_23_1
Personal detailsMikhail Gorbachev_header_cell_0_24_0
BornMikhail Gorbachev_header_cell_0_25_0 Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev
(1931-03-02) 2 March 1931 (age 89)

Privolnoye, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union (now Russia)Mikhail Gorbachev_cell_0_25_1

NationalityMikhail Gorbachev_header_cell_0_26_0 Mikhail Gorbachev_cell_0_26_1
Political partyMikhail Gorbachev_header_cell_0_27_0 Union of Social Democrats (2007–present)Mikhail Gorbachev_cell_0_27_1
Other political

affiliationsMikhail Gorbachev_header_cell_0_28_0

Mikhail Gorbachev_cell_0_28_1
Spouse(s)Mikhail Gorbachev_header_cell_0_29_0 Raisa Gorbacheva

​ ​(m. 1953; d. 1999)​Mikhail Gorbachev_cell_0_29_1

ChildrenMikhail Gorbachev_header_cell_0_30_0 Irina VirganskayaMikhail Gorbachev_cell_0_30_1
Alma materMikhail Gorbachev_header_cell_0_31_0 Moscow State UniversityMikhail Gorbachev_cell_0_31_1
AwardsMikhail Gorbachev_header_cell_0_32_0 Nobel Peace PrizeMikhail Gorbachev_cell_0_32_1
SignatureMikhail Gorbachev_header_cell_0_33_0 Mikhail Gorbachev_cell_0_33_1
WebsiteMikhail Gorbachev_header_cell_0_34_0 Mikhail Gorbachev_cell_0_34_1
Recorded November 2012Mikhail Gorbachev_cell_0_35_0
Mikhail Gorbachev_cell_0_36_0 Recorded November 2012Mikhail Gorbachev_cell_0_36_1

Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev (born 2 March 1931) is a Russian and former Soviet politician. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_3

The eighth and last leader of the Soviet Union, he was the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1985 until 1991. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_4

He was also the country's head of state from 1988 until 1991, serving as the chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet from 1988 to 1989, chairman of the Supreme Soviet from 1989 to 1990, and president of the Soviet Union from 1990 to 1991. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_5

Ideologically, he initially adhered to Marxism–Leninism although by the early 1990s had moved toward social democracy. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_6

Of mixed Russian and Ukrainian heritage, Gorbachev was born in Privolnoye, Stavropol Krai, to a poor peasant family. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_7

Growing up under the rule of Joseph Stalin, in his youth he operated combine harvesters on a collective farm before joining the Communist Party, which then governed the Soviet Union as a one-party state according to Marxist-Leninist doctrine. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_8

While studying at Moscow State University, he married fellow student Raisa Titarenko in 1953 prior to receiving his law degree in 1955. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_9

Moving to Stavropol, he worked for the Komsomol youth organization and, after Stalin's death, became a keen proponent of the de-Stalinization reforms of Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_10

He was appointed the First Party Secretary of the Stavropol Regional Committee in 1970, in which position he oversaw construction of the Great Stavropol Canal. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_11

In 1978 he returned to Moscow to become a Secretary of the party's Central Committee and in 1979 joined its governing Politburo. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_12

Within three years of the death of Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev, following the brief regimes of Yuri Andropov and Konstantin Chernenko, the Politburo elected Gorbachev as General Secretary, the de facto head of government, in 1985. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_13

Although committed to preserving the Soviet state and to its socialist ideals, Gorbachev believed significant reform was necessary, particularly after the 1986 Chernobyl disaster. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_14

He withdrew from the Soviet–Afghan War and embarked on summits with United States President Ronald Reagan to limit nuclear weapons and end the Cold War. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_15

Domestically, his policy of glasnost ("openness") allowed for enhanced freedom of speech and press, while his perestroika ("restructuring") sought to decentralize economic decision making to improve efficiency. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_16

His democratization measures and formation of the elected Congress of People's Deputies undermined the one-party state. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_17

Gorbachev declined to intervene militarily when various Eastern Bloc countries abandoned Marxist-Leninist governance in 1989–90. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_18

Internally, growing nationalist sentiment threatened to break up the Soviet Union, leading Marxist-Leninist hardliners to launch the unsuccessful August Coup against Gorbachev in 1991. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_19

In the wake of this, the Soviet Union dissolved against Gorbachev's wishes and he resigned. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_20

After leaving office, he launched his Gorbachev Foundation, became a vocal critic of Russian Presidents Boris Yeltsin and Vladimir Putin, and campaigned for Russia's social-democratic movement. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_21

Widely considered one of the most significant figures of the second half of the 20th century, Gorbachev remains the subject of controversy. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_22

The recipient of a wide range of awards—including the Nobel Peace Prize—he was widely praised for his pivotal role in ending the Cold War, curtailing human rights abuses in the Soviet Union, and tolerating both the fall of Marxist–Leninist administrations in eastern and central Europe and the reunification of Germany. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_23

Conversely, in Russia he is often derided for not stopping the Soviet collapse, an event which brought a decline in Russia's global influence and precipitated an economic crisis. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_24

Early life Mikhail Gorbachev_section_0

Childhood: 1931–1950 Mikhail Gorbachev_section_1

Gorbachev was born on 2 March 1931 in the village of Privolnoye, Stavropol Krai, then in the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, one of the constituent republics of the Soviet Union. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_25

At the time, Privolnoye was divided almost evenly between ethnic Russians and ethnic Ukrainians. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_26

Gorbachev's paternal family were ethnic Russians and had moved to the region from Voronezh several generations before; his maternal family were of ethnic Ukrainian heritage and had migrated from Chernigov. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_27

His parents named him Victor, but at the insistence of his mother—a devout Orthodox Christian—he had a secret baptism, where his grandfather christened him Mikhail. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_28

His relationship with his father, Sergey Andreyevich Gorbachev, was close; his mother, Maria Panteleyevna Gorbacheva (née Gopkalo), was colder and punitive. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_29

His parents were poor, and lived as peasants. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_30

They had married as teenagers in 1928, and in keeping with local tradition had initially resided in Sergei's father's house, an adobe-walled hut, before a hut of their own could be built. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_31

The Soviet Union was a one-party state governed by the Communist Party, and during Gorbachev's childhood was under the leadership of Joseph Stalin. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_32

Stalin had initiated a project of mass rural collectivization which, in keeping with his Marxist-Leninist ideas, he believed would help convert the country into a socialist society. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_33

Gorbachev's maternal grandfather joined the Communist Party and helped form the village's first kolkhoz (collective farm) in 1929, becoming its chair. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_34

This farm was 19 kilometres (12 mi) outside Privolnoye village and when he was three years old, Gorbachev left his parental home and moved into the kolkhoz with his maternal grandparents. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_35

The country was then experiencing the famine of 1932–33, in which two of Gorbachev's paternal uncles and an aunt died. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_36

This was followed by the Great Purge, in which individuals accused of being "enemies of the people"—including those sympathetic to rival interpretations of Marxism like Trotskyism—were arrested and interned in labor camps, if not executed. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_37

Both of Gorbachev's grandfathers were arrested—his maternal in 1934 and his paternal in 1937—and both spent time in Gulag labor camps prior to being released. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_38

After his December 1938 release, Gorbachev's maternal grandfather discussed having been tortured by the secret police, an account that influenced the young boy. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_39

Following on from the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939, in June 1941 the German Army invaded the Soviet Union. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_40

German forces occupied Privolnoye for four and a half months in 1942. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_41

Gorbachev's father had joined the Red Army and fought on the frontlines; he was wrongly declared dead during the conflict and fought in the Battle of Kursk before returning to his family, injured. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_42

After Germany was defeated, Gorbachev's parents had their second son, Aleksandr, in 1947; he and Mikhail would be their only children. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_43

The village school had closed during much of the war but re-opened in autumn 1944. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_44

Gorbachev did not want to return but when he did he excelled academically. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_45

He read voraciously, moving from the Western novels of Thomas Mayne Reid to the work of Vissarion Belinsky, Alexander Pushkin, Nikolai Gogol, and Mikhail Lermontov. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_46

In 1946, he joined Komsomol, the Soviet political youth organization, becoming leader of his local group and then being elected to the Komsomol committee for the district. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_47

From primary school he moved to the high school in Molotovskeye; he stayed there during the week while walking the 19 km (12 mi) home during weekends. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_48

As well as being a member of the school's drama society, he organized sporting and social activities and led the school's morning exercise class. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_49

Over the course of five consecutive summers from 1946 onward he returned home to assist his father operate a combine harvester, during which they sometimes worked 20-hour days. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_50

In 1948, they harvested over 8000 centners of grain, a feat for which Sergey was awarded the Order of Lenin and his son the Order of the Red Banner of Labour. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_51

University: 1950–1955 Mikhail Gorbachev_section_2

In June 1950, Gorbachev became a candidate member of the Communist Party. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_52

He also applied to study at the law school of Moscow State University (MSU), then the most prestigious university in the country. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_53

They accepted without asking for an exam, likely because of his worker-peasant origins and his possession of the Order of the Red Banner of Labour. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_54

His choice of law was unusual; it was not a well-regarded subject in Soviet society at that time. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_55

Aged 19, he traveled by train to Moscow, the first time he had left his home region. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_56

In the city, he resided with fellow MSU students at a dormitory in Sokolniki District. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_57

He and other rural students felt at odds with their Muscovite counterparts but he soon came to fit in. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_58

Fellow students recall him working especially hard, often late into the night. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_59

He gained a reputation as a mediator during disputes, and was also known for being outspoken in class, although would only reveal a number of his views privately; for instance he confided in some students his opposition to the Soviet jurisprudential norm that a confession proved guilt, noting that confessions could have been forced. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_60

During his studies, an anti-semitic campaign spread through the Soviet Union, culminating in the Doctors' plot; Gorbachev publicly defended a Jewish student who was accused of disloyalty to the country by one of their fellows. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_61

At MSU, he became the Komsomol head of his entering class, and then Komsomol's deputy secretary for agitation and propaganda at the law school. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_62

One of his first Komsomol assignments in Moscow was to monitor the election polling in Krasnopresnenskaya district to ensure the government's desire for near total turnout; Gorbachev found that most of those who voted did so "out of fear". Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_63

In 1952, he was appointed a full member of the Communist Party. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_64

As a party and Komsomol member he was tasked with monitoring fellow students for potential subversion; some of his fellow students said that he did so only minimally and that they trusted him to keep confidential information secret from the authorities. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_65

Gorbachev became close friends with Zdeněk Mlynář, a Czechoslovak student who later became a primary ideologist of the 1968 Prague Spring. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_66

Mlynář recalled that the duo remained committed Marxist-Leninists despite their growing concerns about the Stalinist system. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_67

After Stalin died in March 1953, Gorbachev and Mlynář joined the crowds amassing to see Stalin's body laying in state. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_68

At MSU, Gorbachev met Raisa Titarenko, a Ukrainian studying in the university's philosophy department. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_69

She was engaged to another man but after that engagement fell apart, she began a relationship with Gorbachev; together they went to bookstores, museums, and art exhibits. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_70

In early 1953, he took an internship at the procurator's office in Molotovskoye district, but was angered by the incompetence and arrogance of those working there. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_71

That summer, he returned to Privolnoe to work with his father on the harvest; the money earned allowed him to pay for a wedding. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_72

On 25 September 1953 he and Raisa registered their marriage at Sokolniki Registry Office; and in October moved in together at the Lenin Hills dormitory. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_73

Raisa discovered that she was pregnant and although the couple wanted to keep the child she fell ill and required a life-saving abortion. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_74

In June 1955, Gorbachev graduated with a distinction; his final paper had been on the advantages of "socialist democracy" (the Soviet political system) over "bourgeois democracy" (liberal democracy). Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_75

He was subsequently assigned to the Soviet Procurator's office, which was then focusing on the rehabilitation of the innocent victims of Stalin's purges, but found that they had no work for him. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_76

He was then offered a place on an MSU graduate course specializing in kolkhoz law, but declined. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_77

He had wanted to remain in Moscow, where Raisa was enrolled on a PhD program, but instead gained employment in Stavropol; Raisa abandoned her studies to join him there. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_78

Rise in the Communist Party Mikhail Gorbachev_section_3

Stavropol Komsomol: 1955–1969 Mikhail Gorbachev_section_4

In August 1955, Gorbachev started work at the Stavropol regional procurator's office, but disliked the job and used his contacts to get a transfer to work for Komsomol, becoming deputy director of Komsomol's agitation and propaganda department for that region. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_79

In this position, he visited villages in the area and tried to improve the lives of their inhabitants; he established a discussion circle in Gorkaya Balka village to help its peasant residents gain social contacts. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_80

Gorbachev and his wife initially rented a small room in Stavropol, taking daily evening walks around the city and on weekends hiking in the countryside. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_81

In January 1957, Raisa gave birth to a daughter, Irina, and in 1958 they moved into two rooms in a communal apartment. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_82

In 1961, Gorbachev pursued a second degree, on agricultural production; he took a correspondence course from the local Stavropol Agricultural Institute, receiving his diploma in 1967. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_83

His wife had also pursued a second degree, attaining a PhD in sociology in 1967 from the Moscow Pedagogical Institute; while in Stavropol she too joined the Communist Party. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_84

Stalin was ultimately succeeded as Soviet leader by Nikita Khrushchev, who denounced Stalin and his cult of personality in a speech given in February 1956, after which he launched a de-Stalinization process throughout Soviet society. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_85

Later biographer William Taubman suggested that Gorbachev "embodied" the "reformist spirit" of the Khrushchev era. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_86

Gorbachev was among those who saw themselves as "genuine Marxists" or "genuine Leninists" in contrast to what they regarded as the perversions of Stalin. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_87

He helped spread Khrushchev's anti-Stalinist message in Stavropol, but encountered many who continued to regard Stalin as a hero or who praised the Stalinist purges as just. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_88

Gorbachev rose steadily through the ranks of the local administration. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_89

The authorities regarded him as politically reliable, and he would flatter his superiors, for instance gaining favor with prominent local politician Fyodor Kulakov. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_90

With an ability to outmanoeuvre rivals, some colleagues resented his success. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_91

In September 1956, he was promoted First Secretary of the Stavropol city's Komsomol, placing him in charge of it; in April 1958 he was made deputy head of the Komsomol for the entire region. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_92

At this point he was given better accommodation: a two-room flat with its own private kitchen, toilet, and bathroom. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_93

In Stavropol, he formed a discussion club for youths, and helped mobilize local young people to take part in Khrushchev's agricultural and development campaigns. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_94

In March 1961, Gorbachev became First Secretary of the regional Komsomol, in which position he went out of his way to appoint women as city and district leaders. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_95

In 1961, Gorbachev played host to the Italian delegation for the World Youth Festival in Moscow; that October, he also attended the 22nd Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_96

In January 1963, Gorbachev was promoted to personnel chief for the regional party's agricultural committee, and in September 1966 became First Secretary of the Stavropol City Party Organization ("Gorkom"). Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_97

By 1968 he was increasingly frustrated with his job—in large part because Khrushchev's reforms were stalling or being reversed—and he contemplated leaving politics to work in academia. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_98

However, in August 1968, he was named Second Secretary of the Stavropol Kraikom, making him the deputy of First Secretary Leonid Yefremov and the second most senior figure in the Stavrapol region. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_99

In 1969 he was elected as a deputy to the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union and made a member of its Standing Commission for the Protection of the Environment. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_100

Cleared for travel to Eastern Bloc countries, in 1966 he was part of a delegation visiting East Germany, and in 1969 and 1974 visited Bulgaria. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_101

In August 1968 the Soviet Union led an invasion of Czechoslovakia to put an end to the Prague Spring, a period of political liberalization in the Marxist–Leninist country. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_102

Although Gorbachev later stated that he had had private concerns about the invasion, he publicly supported it. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_103

In September 1969 he was part of a Soviet delegation sent to Czechoslovakia, where he found the Czechoslovak people largely unwelcoming to them. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_104

That year, the Soviet authorities ordered him to punish Fagien B. Sadykov, a Stavropol-based agronomist whose ideas were regarded as critical of Soviet agricultural policy; Gorbachev ensured that Sadykov was fired from teaching but ignored calls for him to face tougher punishment. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_105

Gorbachev later related that he was "deeply affected" by the incident; "my conscience tormented me" for overseeing Sadykov's persecution. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_106

Heading the Stavropol Region: 1970–1977 Mikhail Gorbachev_section_5

In April 1970, Yefremov was promoted to a higher position in Moscow and Gorbachev succeeded him as the First Secretary of the Stavropol kraikom. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_107

This granted Gorbachev significant power over the Stavropol region. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_108

He had been personally vetted for the position by senior Kremlin leaders and was informed of their decision by the Soviet leader, Leonid Brezhnev. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_109

Aged 39, he was considerably younger than his predecessors in the position. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_110

As head of the Stavropol region, he automatically became a member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in 1971. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_111

According to biographer Zhores Medvedev, Gorbachev "had now joined the Party's super-elite". Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_112

As regional leader, Gorbachev initially attributed economic and other failures to "the inefficiency and incompetence of cadres, flaws in management structure or gaps in legislation", but eventually concluded that they were caused by an excessive centralization of decision making in Moscow. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_113

He began reading translations of restricted texts by Western Marxist authors like Antonio Gramsci, Louis Aragon, Roger Garaudy, and Giuseppe Boffa, and came under their influence. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_114

Gorbachev's main task as regional leader was to raise agricultural production levels, something hampered by severe droughts in 1975 and 1976. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_115

He oversaw the expansion of irrigation systems through construction of the Great Stavropol Canal. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_116

For overseeing a record grain harvest in Ipatovsky district, in March 1972 he was awarded by Order of the October Revolution by Brezhnev in a Moscow ceremony. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_117

Gorbachev always sought to maintain Brezhnev's trust; as regional leader, he repeatedly praised Brezhnev in his speeches, for instance referring to him as "the outstanding statesman of our time". Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_118

Gorbachev and his wife holidayed in Moscow, Leningrad, Uzbekistan, and resorts in the North Caucusus; he holidayed with the head of the KGB, Yuri Andropov, who was favorable towards him and who became an important patron. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_119

Gorbachev also developed good relationships with senior figures like the Soviet Prime Minister, Alexei Kosygin, and the longstanding senior party member Mikhail Suslov. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_120

The government considered Gorbachev sufficiently reliable that he was sent as part of Soviet delegations to Western Europe; he made five trips there between 1970 and 1977. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_121

In September 1971 he was part of a delegation who traveled to Italy, where they met with representatives of the Italian Communist Party; Gorbachev loved Italian culture but was struck by the poverty and inequality he saw in the country. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_122

In 1972 he visited Belgium and the Netherlands and in 1973 West Germany. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_123

Gorbachev and his wife visited France in 1976 and 1977, on the latter occasion touring the country with a guide from the French Communist Party. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_124

He was surprised by how openly West Europeans offered their opinions and criticized their political leaders, something absent from the Soviet Union, where most people did not feel safe speaking so openly. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_125

He later related that for him and his wife, these visits "shook our a priori belief in the superiority of socialist over bourgeois democracy". Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_126

Gorbachev had remained close to his parents; after his father became terminally ill in 1974, Gorbachev traveled to be with him in Privolnoe shortly before his death. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_127

His daughter, Irina, married fellow student Anatoly Virgansky in April 1978. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_128

In 1977, the Supreme Soviet appointed Gorbachev to chair the Standing Commission on Youth Affairs due to his experience with mobilizing young people in Komsomol. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_129

Secretary of the Central Committee: 1978–1984 Mikhail Gorbachev_section_6

In November 1978, Gorbachev was appointed a Secretary of the Central Committee. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_130

His appointment had been approved unanimously by the Central Committee's members. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_131

To fill this position, Gorbachev and his wife moved to Moscow, where they were initially given an old dacha outside the city. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_132

They then moved to another, at Sosnovka, before finally being allocated a newly built brick house. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_133

He was also given an apartment inside the city, but gave that to his daughter and son-in-law; Irina had begun work at Moscow's Second Medical Institute. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_134

As part of the Moscow political elite, Gorbachev and his wife now had access to better medical care and to specialized shops; they were also given cooks, servants, bodyguards, and secretaries, although many of these were spies for the KGB. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_135

In his new position, Gorbachev often worked twelve to sixteen hour days. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_136

He and his wife socialized little, but liked to visit Moscow's theaters and museums. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_137

In 1978, Gorbachev was appointed to the Central Committee's Secretariat for Agriculture, replacing his old friend Kulakov, who had died of a heart attack. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_138

Gorbachev concentrated his attentions on agriculture: the harvests of 1979, 1980, and 1981 were all poor, due largely to weather conditions, and the country had to import increasing quantities of grain. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_139

He had growing concerns about the country's agricultural management system, coming to regard it as overly centralized and requiring more bottom-up decision making; he raised these points at his first speech at a Central Committee Plenum, given in July 1978. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_140

He began to have concerns about other policies too. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_141

In December 1979, the Soviets sent the Red Army into neighbouring Afghanistan to support its Soviet-aligned government against Islamist insurgents; Gorbachev privately thought it a mistake. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_142

At times he openly supported the government position; in October 1980 he for instance endorsed Soviet calls for Poland's Marxist–Leninist government to crack down on growing internal dissent in that country. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_143

That same month, he was promoted from a candidate member to a full member of the Politburo, the highest decision-making authority in the Communist Party. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_144

At the time, he was the Politburo's youngest member. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_145

After Brezhnev's death in November 1982, Andropov succeeded him as General Secretary of the Communist Party, the de facto head of government in the Soviet Union. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_146

Gorbachev was enthusiastic about the appointment. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_147

However, although Gorbachev hoped that Andropov would introduce liberalizing reforms, the latter carried out only personnel shifts rather than structural change. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_148

Gorbachev became Andropov's closest ally in the Politburo; with Andropov's encouragement, Gorbachev sometimes chaired Politburo meetings. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_149

Andropov encouraged Gorbachev to expand into policy areas other than agriculture, preparing him for future higher office. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_150

In April 1983, Gorbachev delivered the annual speech marking the birthday of the Soviet founder Vladimir Lenin; this required him re-reading many of Lenin's later writings, in which the latter had called for reform in the context of the New Economic Policy of the 1920s, and encouraged Gorbachev's own conviction that reform was needed. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_151

In May 1983, Gorbachev was sent to Canada, where he met Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau and spoke to the Canadian Parliament. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_152

There, he met and befriended the Soviet ambassador, Aleksandr Yakovlev, who later became a key political ally. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_153

In February 1984, Andropov died; on his deathbed he indicated his desire that Gorbachev succeed him. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_154

Many in the Central Committee nevertheless thought the 53-year old Gorbachev was too young and inexperienced. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_155

Instead, Konstantin Chernenko—a longstanding Brezhnev ally—was appointed General Secretary, but he too was in very poor health. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_156

Chernenko was often too sick to chair Politburo meetings, with Gorbachev stepping in last minute. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_157

Gorbachev continued to cultivate allies both in the Kremlin and beyond, and also gave the main speech at a conference on Soviet ideology, where he angered party hardliners by implying that the country required reform. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_158

In April 1984, he was appointed chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Soviet legislature, a largely honorific position. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_159

In June he traveled to Italy as a Soviet representative for the funeral of Italian Communist Party leader Enrico Berlinguer, and in September to Sofia, Bulgaria to attend celebrations of the fortieth anniversary of its liberation by the Red Army. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_160

In December, he visited Britain at the request of its Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher; she was aware that he was a potential reformer and wanted to meet him. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_161

At the end of the visit, Thatcher said: "I like Mr Gorbachev. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_162

We can do business together". Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_163

He felt that the visit helped to erode Andrei Gromyko's dominance of Soviet foreign policy while at the same time sending a signal to the United States government that he wanted to improve Soviet-U.S. relations. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_164

General Secretary of the CPSU Mikhail Gorbachev_section_7

On 10 March 1985, Chernenko died. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_165

Gromyko proposed Gorbachev as the next General Secretary; as a longstanding party member, Gromyko's recommendation carried great weight among the Central Committee. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_166

Gorbachev expected much opposition to his nomination as General Secretary, but ultimately the rest of the Politburo supported him. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_167

Shortly after Chernenko's death, the Politburo unanimously elected Gorbachev as his successor; they wanted him over another elderly leader. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_168

He thus became the eighth leader of the Soviet Union. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_169

Few in the government imagined that he would be as radical a reformer as he proved. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_170

Although not a well-known figure to the Soviet public, there was widespread relief that the new leader was not elderly and ailing. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_171

Gorbachev's first public appearance as leader was at Chernenko's Red Square funeral, held on 14 March. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_172

Two months after being elected, he left Moscow for the first time, traveling to Leningrad, where he spoke to assembled crowds. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_173

In June he traveled to Ukraine, in July to Belarus, and in September to Tyumen Oblast, urging party members in these areas to take more responsibility for fixing local problems. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_174

Early years: 1985–1986 Mikhail Gorbachev_section_8

Gorbachev's leadership style differed from that of his predecessors. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_175

He would stop to talk to civilians on the street, forbade the display of his portrait at the 1985 Red Square holiday celebrations, and encouraged frank and open discussions at Politburo meetings. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_176

To the West, Gorbachev was seen as a more moderate and less threatening Soviet leader; some Western commentators however believed this an act to lull Western governments into a false sense of security. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_177

His wife was his closest adviser, and took on the unofficial role of a "first lady" by appearing with him on foreign trips; her public visibility was a breach of standard practice and generated resentment. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_178

His other close aides were Georgy Shakhnazarov and Anatoly Chernyaev. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_179

Gorbachev was aware that the Politburo could remove him from office, and that he could not pursue more radical reform without a majority of supporters in the Politburo. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_180

He sought to remove several older members from the Politburo, encouraging Grigory Romanov, Nikolai Tikhonov, and Viktor Grishin into retirement. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_181

He promoted Gromyko to head of state, a largely ceremonial role with little influence, and moved his own ally, Eduard Shevardnadze, to Gromyko's former post in charge of foreign policy. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_182

Other allies whom he saw promoted were Yakovlev, Anatoly Lukyanov, and Vadim Medvedev. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_183

Another of those promoted by Gorbachev was Boris Yeltsin, who was made a Secretary of the Central Committee in July 1985. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_184

Most of these appointees were from a new generation of well-educated officials who had been frustrated during the Brezhnev era. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_185

In his first year, 14 of the 23 heads of department in the secretariat were replaced. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_186

Doing so, Gorbachev secured dominance in the Politburo within a year, faster than either Stalin, Khrushchev, or Brezhnev had achieved. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_187

Domestic policies Mikhail Gorbachev_section_9

Gorbachev recurrently employed the term perestroika, first used publicly in March 1984. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_188

He saw perestroika as encompassing a complex series of reforms to restructure society and the economy. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_189

He was concerned by the country's low productivity, poor work ethic, and inferior quality goods; like several economists, he feared this would lead to the country becoming a second-rate power. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_190

The first stage of Gorbachev's perestroika was uskoreniye ("acceleration"), a term he used regularly in the first two years of his leadership. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_191

The Soviet Union was behind the United States in many areas of production, but Gorbachev claimed that it would accelerate industrial output to match that of the U.S. by 2000. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_192

The Five Year Plan of 1985–90 was targeted to expand machine building by 50 to 100%. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_193

To boost agricultural productivity, he merged five ministries and a state committee into a single entity, Agroprom, although by late 1986 acknowledged this merger as a failure. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_194

The purpose of reform was to prop up the centrally planned economy—not to transition to market socialism. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_195

Speaking in late summer 1985 to the secretaries for economic affairs of the central committees of the East European communist parties, Gorbachev said: "Many of you see the solution to your problems in resorting to market mechanisms in place of direct planning. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_196

Some of you look at the market as a lifesaver for your economies. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_197

But, comrades, you should not think about lifesavers but about the ship, and the ship is socialism." Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_198

Gorbachev's perestroika also entailed attempts to move away from technocratic management of the economy by increasingly involving the labor force in industrial production. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_199

He was of the view that once freed from the strong control of central planners, state-owned enterprises would act as market agents. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_200

Gorbachev and other Soviet leaders did not anticipate opposition to the perestroika reforms; according to their interpretation of Marxism, they believed that in a socialist society like the Soviet Union there would not be "antagonistic contradictions". Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_201

However, there would come to be a public perception in the country that many bureaucrats were paying lip service to the reforms while trying to undermine them. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_202

He also initiated the concept of gospriyomka (state acceptance of production) during his time as leader, which represented quality control. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_203

In April 1986, he introduced an agrarian reform which linked salaries to output and allowed collective farms to sell 30% of their produce directly to shops or co-operatives rather than giving it all to the state for distribution. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_204

In a September 1986 speech, he embraced the idea of reintroducing market economics to the country alongside limited private enterprise, citing Lenin's New Economic Policy as a precedent; he nevertheless stressed that he did not regard this as a return to capitalism. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_205

In the Soviet Union, alcohol consumption had risen steadily between 1950 and 1985. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_206

By the 1980s, drunkenness was a major social problem and Andropov had planned a major campaign to limit alcohol consumption. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_207

Encouraged by his wife, Gorbachev—who believed the campaign would improve health and work efficiency—oversaw its implementation. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_208

Alcohol production was reduced by around 40 percent, the legal drinking age rose from 18 to 21, alcohol prices were increased, stores were banned from selling it before 2pm, and tougher penalties were introduced for workplace or public drunkenness and home production of alcohol. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_209

The All-Union Voluntary Society for the Struggle for Temperance was formed to promote sobriety; it had over 14 million members within three years. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_210

As a result, crime rates fell and life expectancy grew slightly between 1986 and 1987. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_211

However, moonshine production rose considerably, and the reform had significant costs to the Soviet economy, resulting in losses of up to US$100 billion between 1985 and 1990. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_212

Gorbachev later considered the campaign to have been an error, and it was terminated in October 1988. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_213

After it ended, it took several years for production to return to previous levels, after which alcohol consumption soared in Russia between 1990 and 1993. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_214

In the second year of his leadership, Gorbachev began speaking of glasnost, or "openness". Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_215

According to Doder and Branston, this meant "greater openness and candour in government affairs and for an interplay of different and sometimes conflicting views in political debates, in the press, and in Soviet culture." Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_216

Encouraging reformers into prominent media positions, he brought in Sergei Zalygin as head of Novy Mir magazine and Yegor Yakovlev as editor-in-chief of Moscow News. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_217

He made the historian Yuri Afanasiev dean of the State Historical Archive Faculty, from where Afansiev could press for the opening of secret archives and the reassessment of Soviet history. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_218

Prominent dissidents like Andrei Sakharov were freed from internal exile or prison. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_219

Gorbachev saw glasnost as a necessary measure to ensure perestroika by alerting the Soviet populace to the nature of the country's problems in the hope that they would support his efforts to fix them. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_220

Particularly popular among the Soviet intelligentsia, who became key Gorbachev supporters, glasnost boosted his domestic popularity but alarmed many Communist Party hardliners. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_221

For many Soviet citizens, this newfound level of freedom of speech and press—and its accompanying revelations about the country's past—was uncomfortable. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_222

Some in the party thought Gorbachev was not going far enough in his reforms; a prominent liberal critic was Yeltsin. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_223

He had risen rapidly since 1985, attaining the role of Moscow city boss. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_224

Like many members of the government, Gorbachev was skeptical of Yeltsin, believing that he engaged in too much self-promotion. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_225

Yeltsin was also critical of Gorbachev, regarding him as patronizing. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_226

In early 1986, Yeltsin began sniping at Gorbachev in Politburo meetings. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_227

At the Twenty-Seventh Party Congress in February, Yeltsin called for more far-reaching reforms than Gorbachev was initiating and criticized the party leadership, although did not cite Gorbachev by name, claiming that a new cult of personality was forming. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_228

Gorbachev then opened the floor to responses, after which attendees publicly criticized Yeltsin for several hours. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_229

After this, Gorbachev also criticized Yeltsin, claiming that he only cared for himself and was "politically illiterate". Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_230

Yeltsin then resigned as both Moscow boss and as a member of the Politburo. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_231

From this point, tensions between the two men developed into a mutual hatred. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_232

In April 1986 the Chernobyl disaster occurred. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_233

In the immediate aftermath, officials fed Gorbachev incorrect information to downplay the incident. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_234

As the scale of the disaster became apparent, 336,000 people were evacuated from the area around Chernobyl. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_235

Taubman noted that the disaster marked "a turning point for Gorbachev and the Soviet regime". Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_236

Several days after it occurred, he gave a televised report to the nation. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_237

He cited the disaster as evidence for what he regarded as widespread problems in Soviet society, such as shoddy workmanship and workplace inertia. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_238

Gorbachev later described the incident as one which made him appreciate the scale of incompetence and cover-ups in the Soviet Union. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_239

From April to the end of the year, Gorbachev became increasingly open in his criticism of the Soviet system, including food production, state bureaucracy, the military draft, and the large size of the prison population. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_240

Foreign policy Mikhail Gorbachev_section_10

In a May 1985 speech given to the Soviet Foreign Ministry—the first time a Soviet leader had directly addressed his country's diplomats—Gorbachev spoke of a "radical restructuring" of foreign policy. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_241

A major issue facing his leadership was Soviet involvement in the Afghan Civil War, which had then been going on for over five years. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_242

Over the course of the war, the Soviet Army took heavy casualties and there was much opposition to Soviet involvement among both the public and military. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_243

On becoming leader, Gorbachev saw withdrawal from the war as a key priority. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_244

In October 1985, he met with Afghan Marxist leader Babrak Karmal, urging him to acknowledge the lack of widespread public support for his government and pursue a power sharing agreement with the opposition. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_245

That month, the Politburo approved Gorbachev's decision to withdraw combat troops from Afghanistan, although the last troops did not leave until February 1989. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_246

Gorbachev had inherited a renewed period of high tension in the Cold War. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_247

He believed strongly in the need to sharply improve relations with the United States; he was appalled at the prospect of nuclear war, was aware that the Soviet Union was unlikely to win the arms race, and thought that the continued focus on high military spending was detrimental to his desire for domestic reform. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_248

Although privately also appalled at the prospect of nuclear war, U.S. President Ronald Reagan publicly appeared to not want a de-escalation of tensions, having scrapped détente and arms controls, initiating a military build-up, and calling the Soviet Union the "evil empire". Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_249

Both Gorbachev and Reagan wanted a summit to discuss the Cold War, but each faced some opposition to such a move within their respective governments. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_250

They agreed to hold a summit in Geneva, Switzerland in November 1985. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_251

In the buildup to this, Gorbachev sought to improve relations with the U.S.' NATO allies, visiting France in October 1985 to meet with President François Mitterrand. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_252

At the Geneva summit, discussions between Gorbachev and Reagan were sometimes heated, and Gorbachev was initially frustrated that his U.S. counterpart "does not seem to hear what I am trying to say". Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_253

As well as discussing the Cold War proxy conflicts in Afghanistan and Nicaragua and human rights issues, the pair discussed the U.S.' Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), to which Gorbachev was strongly opposed. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_254

The duo's wives also met and spent time together at the summit. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_255

The summit ended with a joint commitment to avoiding nuclear war and to meet for two further summits: in Washington D.C. in 1986 and in Moscow in 1987. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_256

Following the conference, Gorbachev traveled to Prague to inform other Warsaw Pact leaders of developments. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_257

In January 1986, Gorbachev publicly proposed a three-stage programme for abolishing the world's nuclear weapons by the end of the 20th century. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_258

An agreement was then reached to meet with Reagan in Reykjavík, Iceland in October 1986. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_259

Gorbachev wanted to secure guarantees that SDI would not be implemented, and in return was willing to offer concessions, including a 50% reduction in Soviet long range nuclear missiles. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_260

Both leaders agreed with the shared goal of abolishing nuclear weapons, but Reagan refused to terminate the SDI program and no deal was reached. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_261

After the summit, many of Reagan's allies criticized him for going along with the idea of abolishing nuclear weapons. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_262

Gorbachev meanwhile told the Politburo that Reagan was "extraordinarily primitive, troglodyte, and intellectually feeble". Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_263

In his relations with the developing world, Gorbachev found many of the leaders professing revolutionary socialist credentials or a pro-Soviet attitude—such as Libya's Muammar Gaddafi and Syria's Hafez al-Assad—frustrating, and his best personal relationship was instead with India's Prime Minister, Rajiv Gandhi. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_264

He thought that the "socialist camp" of Marxist-Leninist governed states—the Eastern Bloc countries, North Korea, Vietnam, and Cuba—were a drain on the Soviet economy, receiving a far greater amount of goods from the Soviet Union than they collectively gave in return. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_265

He sought improved relations with China, a country whose Marxist government had severed ties with the Soviets in the Sino-Soviet Split and had since undergone its own structural reform. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_266

In June 1985 he signed a US$14 billion five-year trade agreement with the country and in July 1986, he proposed troop reductions along the Soviet-Chinese border, hailing China as "a great socialist country". Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_267

He made clear his desire for Soviet membership of the Asian Development Bank and for greater ties to Pacific countries, especially China and Japan. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_268

Further reform: 1987–1989 Mikhail Gorbachev_section_11

Domestic reforms Mikhail Gorbachev_section_12

In January 1987, Gorbachev attended a Central Committee plenum where he talked about perestroika and democratization while criticizing widespread corruption. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_269

He considered putting a proposal to allow multi-party elections into his speech, but decided against doing so. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_270

After the plenum, he focused his attentions on economic reform, holding discussions with government officials and economists. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_271

Many economists proposed reducing ministerial controls on the economy and allowing state-owned enterprises to set their own targets; Ryzhkov and other government figures were skeptical. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_272

In June, Gorbachev finished his report on economic reform. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_273

It reflected a compromise: ministers would retain the ability to set output targets but these would not be considered binding. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_274

That month, a plenum accepted his recommendations and the Supreme Soviet passed a "law on enterprises" implementing the changes. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_275

Economic problems remained: by the late 1980s there were still widespread shortages of basic goods, rising inflation, and declining living standards. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_276

These stoked a number of miners' strikes in 1989. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_277

By 1987, the ethos of glasnost had spread through Soviet society: journalists were writing increasingly openly, many economic problems were being publicly revealed, and studies appeared that critically reassessed Soviet history. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_278

Gorbachev was broadly supportive, describing glasnost as "the crucial, irreplaceable weapon of perestroika". Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_279

He nevertheless insisted that people should use the newfound freedom responsibly, stating that journalists and writers should avoid "sensationalism" and be "completely objective" in their reporting. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_280

Nearly two hundred previously restricted Soviet films were publicly released, and a range of Western films were also made available. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_281

In 1989, Soviet responsibility for the 1940 Katyn massacre was finally revealed. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_282

In September 1987, the government stopped jamming the signal of the British Broadcasting Corporation and Voice of America. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_283

The reforms also included greater tolerance of religion; an Easter service was broadcast on Soviet television for the first time and the millennium celebrations of the Russian Orthodox Church were given media attention. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_284

Independent organizations appeared, most supportive of Gorbachev, although the largest, Pamyat, was ultra-nationalist and anti-Semitic in nature. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_285

Gorbachev also announced that Soviet Jews wishing to migrate to Israel would be allowed to do so, something previously prohibited. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_286

In August 1987, Gorbachev holidayed in Nizhniaia Oreanda, Ukraine, there writing Perestroika: New Thinking for Our Country and Our World at the suggestion of U.S. publishers. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_287

For the 70th anniversary of the October Revolution of 1917—which brought Lenin and the Communist Party to power—Gorbachev produced a speech on "October and Perestroika: The Revolution Continues". Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_288

Delivered to a ceremonial joint session of the Central Committee and the Supreme Soviet in the Kremlin Palace of Congresses, it praised Lenin but criticized Stalin for overseeing mass human rights abuses. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_289

Party hardliners thought the speech went too far; liberalisers thought it did not go far enough. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_290

In March 1988, the magazine Sovetskaya Rossiya published an open letter by the teacher Nina Andreyeva. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_291

It criticized elements of Gorbachev's reforms, attacking what she regarded as the denigration of the Stalinist era and arguing that a reformer clique—whom she implied were mostly Jews and ethnic minorities—were to blame. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_292

Over 900 Soviet newspapers reprinted it and anti-reformists rallied around it; many reformers panicked, fearing a backlash against perestroika. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_293

On returning from Yugoslavia, Gorbachev called a Politburo meeting to discuss the letter, at which he confronted those hardliners supporting its sentiment. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_294

Ultimately, the Politburo arrived at a unanimous decision to express disapproval of Andreyeva's letter and publish a rebuttal in Pravda. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_295

Yakovlev and Gorbachev's rebuttal claimed that those who "look everywhere for internal enemies" were "not patriots" and presented Stalin's "guilt for massive repressions and lawlessness" as "enormous and unforgiveable". Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_296

Forming the Congress of People's Deputies Mikhail Gorbachev_section_13

Although the next party congress was not scheduled until 1991, Gorbachev convened the 19th Party Conference in its place in June 1988. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_297

He hoped that by allowing a broader range of people to attend than at previous conferences, he would gain additional support for his reforms. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_298

With sympathetic officials and academics, Gorbachev drafted plans for reforms that would shift power away from the Politburo and towards the soviets. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_299

While the soviets had become largely powerless bodies that rubber-stamped Politburo policies, he wanted them to become year-round legislatures. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_300

He proposed the formation of a new institution, the Congress of People's Deputies, whose members were to be elected in a largely free vote. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_301

This congress would in turn elect a USSR Supreme Soviet, which would do most of the legislating. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_302

These proposals reflected Gorbachev's desire for more democracy; however, in his view there was a major impediment in that the Soviet people had developed a "slave psychology" after centuries of Tsarist autocracy and Marxist-Leninist authoritarianism. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_303

Held at the Kremlin Palace of Congresses, the conference brought together 5,000 delegates and featured arguments between hardliners and liberalisers. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_304

The proceedings were televised, and for the first time since the 1920s, voting was not unanimous. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_305

In the months following the conference, Gorbachev focused on redesigning and streamlining the party apparatus; the Central Committee staff—which then numbered around 3,000—was halved, while various Central Committee departments were merged to cut down the overall number from twenty to nine. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_306

In March and April 1989, elections to the new Congress were held. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_307

Of the 2,250 legislators to be elected, one hundred — termed the "Red Hundred" by the press — were directly chosen by the Communist Party, with Gorbachev ensuring many were reformists. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_308

Although over 85% of elected deputies were party members, many of those elected—including Sakharov and Yeltsin—were liberalisers. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_309

Gorbachev was happy with the result, describing it as "an enormous political victory under extraordinarily difficult circumstances". Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_310

The new Congress convened in May 1989. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_311

Gorbachev was then elected its chair – the new de facto head of state – with 2,123 votes in favor to 87 against. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_312

Its sessions were televised live, and its members elected the new Supreme Soviet. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_313

At the Congress, Sakharov spoke repeatedly, exasperating Gorbachev with his calls for greater liberalization and the introduction of private property. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_314

When Sakharov died shortly after, Yeltsin became the figurehead of the liberal opposition. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_315

Relations with China and Western states Mikhail Gorbachev_section_14

Gorbachev tried to improve relations with the UK, France, and West Germany; like previous Soviet leaders, he was interested in pulling Western Europe away from U.S. influence. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_316

Calling for greater pan-European co-operation, he publicly spoke of a "Common European Home" and of a Europe "from the Atlantic to the Urals". Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_317

In March 1987, Thatcher visited Gorbachev in Moscow; despite their ideological differences, they liked one another. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_318

In April 1989 he visited London, lunching with Elizabeth II. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_319

In May 1987, Gorbachev again visited France, and in November 1988 Mitterrand visited him in Moscow. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_320

The West German Chancellor, Helmut Kohl, had initially offended Gorbachev by comparing him to Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels, although later informally apologized and in October 1988 visited Moscow. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_321

In June 1989 Gorbachev then visited Kohl in West Germany. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_322

In November 1989 he also visited Italy, meeting with Pope John Paul II. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_323

Gorbachev's relationships with these West European leaders were typically far warmer than those he had with their Eastern Bloc counterparts. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_324

Gorbachev continued to pursue good relations with China to heal the Sino-Soviet Split. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_325

In May 1989 he visited Beijing and there met its leader Deng Xiaoping; Deng shared Gorbachev's belief in economic reform but rejected calls for democratization. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_326

Pro-democracy students had amassed in Tiananmen Square during Gorbachev's visit but after he left were massacred by troops. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_327

Gorbachev did not condemn the massacre publicly but it reinforced his commitment not to use violent force in dealing with pro-democracy protests in the Eastern Bloc. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_328

Following the failures of earlier talks with the U.S., in February 1987, Gorbachev held a conference in Moscow, titled "For a World without Nuclear Weapons, for Mankind's Survival", which was attended by various international celebrities and politicians. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_329

By publicly pushing for nuclear disarmament, Gorbachev sought to give the Soviet Union the moral high ground and weaken the West's self-perception of moral superiority. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_330

Aware that Reagan would not budge on SDI, Gorbachev focused on reducing "Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces", to which Reagan was receptive. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_331

In April 1987, Gorbachev discussed the issue with U.S. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_332 Secretary of State George P. Shultz in Moscow; he agreed to eliminate the Soviets' SS-23 rockets and allow U.S. inspectors to visit Soviet military facilities to ensure compliance. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_333

There was hostility to such compromises from the Soviet military, but following the May 1987 Mathias Rust incident—in which a West German teenager was able to fly undetected from Finland and land in Red Square—Gorbachev fired many senior military figures for incompetence. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_334

In December 1987, Gorbachev visited Washington D.C., where he and Reagan signed the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_335

Taubman called it "one of the highest points of Gorbachev's career". Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_336

A second U.S.-Soviet summit occurred in Moscow in May–June 1988, which Gorbachev expected to be largely symbolic. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_337

Again, he and Reagan criticized each other's countries—Reagan raising Soviet restrictions on religious freedom; Gorbachev highlighting poverty and racial discrimination in the U.S.—but Gorbachev related that they spoke "on friendly terms". Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_338

They reached an agreement on notifying each other before conducting the ballistic missile test and made agreements on transport, fishing, and radio navigation. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_339

At the summit, Reagan told reporters that he no longer considered the Soviet Union an "evil empire" and the duo revealed that they considered themselves friends. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_340

The third summit was held in New York City in December. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_341

Arriving there, Gorbachev gave a speech to the United Nations Assembly where he announced a unilateral reduction in the Soviet armed forces by 500,000; he also announced that 50,000 troops would be withdrawn from Central and Eastern Europe. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_342

He then met with Reagan and President-elect George H. W. Bush; he rushed home, skipping a planned visit to Cuba, to deal with the Armenian earthquake. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_343

On becoming U.S. president, Bush appeared interested in continuing talks with Gorbachev but wanted to appear tougher on the Soviets than Reagan had to allay criticism from the right-wing of his Republican Party. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_344

In December 1989, Gorbachev and Bush met at the Malta Summit. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_345

Bush offered to assist the Soviet economy by suspending the Jackson-Vanik Amendment and repealing the Stevenson and Baird Amendments. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_346

There, the duo agreed to a joint press conference, the first time that a U.S. and Soviet leader had done so. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_347

Gorbachev also urged Bush to normalize relations with Cuba and meet its president, Fidel Castro, although Bush refused to do so. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_348

The nationality question and the Eastern Bloc Mikhail Gorbachev_section_15

On taking power, Gorbachev found some unrest among different national groups within the Soviet Union. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_349

In December 1986, riots broke out in several Kazakh cities after a Russian was appointed head of the region. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_350

In 1987, Crimean Tatars protested in Moscow to demand resettlement in Crimea, the area from which they had been deported on Stalin's orders in 1944. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_351

Gorbachev ordered a commission, headed by Gromyko, to examine their situation. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_352

Gromyko's report opposed calls for assisting Tatar resettlement in Crimea. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_353

By 1988, the Soviet "nationality question" was increasingly pressing. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_354

In February, the administration of the Nagorno-Karabakh region officially requested that it be transferred from the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic to the Armenian Soviet Socialist Republic; the majority of the region's population were ethnically Armenian and wanted unification with other majority Armenian areas. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_355

As rival Armenian and Azerbaijani demonstrations took place in Nagorno-Karabakh, Gorbachev called an emergency meeting of the Politburo. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_356

Ultimately, Gorbachev promised greater autonomy for Nagorno-Karabakh but refused the transfer, fearing that it would set off similar ethnic tensions and demands throughout the Soviet Union. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_357

That month, in the Azerbaijani city of Sumgait, Azerbaijani gangs began killing members of the Armenian minority. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_358

Local troops tried to quell the unrest but were attacked by mobs. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_359

The Politburo ordered additional troops into the city, but in contrast to those like Ligachev who wanted a massive display of force, Gorbachev urged restraint. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_360

He believed that the situation could be resolved through a political solution, urging talks between the Armenian and Azerbaijani Communist Parties. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_361

Further anti-Armenian violence broke out in Baku in 1990. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_362

Problems also emerged in the Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic; in April 1989, Georgian nationalists demanding independence clashed with troops in Tbilisi, resulting in various deaths. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_363

Independence sentiment was also rising in the Baltic states; the Supreme Soviets of the Estonian, Lithuanian, and Latvian Soviet Socialist Republics declared their economic "autonomy" from Russia and introduced measures to restrict Russian immigration. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_364

In August 1989, protesters formed the Baltic Way, a human chain across the three republics to symbolize their wish for independence. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_365

That month, the Lithuanian Supreme Soviet ruled the 1940 Soviet annexation of their country to be illegal; in January 1990, Gorbachev visited the republic to encourage it to remain part of the Soviet Union. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_366

Gorbachev rejected the "Brezhnev Doctrine", the idea that the Soviet Union had the right to intervene militarily in other Marxist-Leninist countries if their governments were threatened. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_367

In December 1987 he announced the withdrawal of 500,000 Soviet troops from Central and Eastern Europe. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_368

While pursuing domestic reforms, he did not publicly support reformers elsewhere in the Eastern Bloc. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_369

Hoping instead to lead by example, he later related that he did not want to interfere in their internal affairs, but he may have feared that pushing reform in Central and Eastern Europe would have angered his own hardliners too much. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_370

Some Eastern Bloc leaders, like Hungary's János Kádár and Poland's Wojciech Jaruzelski, were sympathetic to reform; others, like Romania's Nicolae Ceaușescu, were hostile to it. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_371

In May 1987 Gorbachev visited Romania, where he was appalled by the state of the country, later telling the Politburo that there "human dignity has absolutely no value". Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_372

He and Ceaușescu disliked each other, and argued over Gorbachev's reforms. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_373

Unraveling of the USSR Mikhail Gorbachev_section_16

In the Revolutions of 1989, most of the Marxist-Leninist states of Central and Eastern Europe held multi-party elections resulting in regime change. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_374

In most countries, like Poland and Hungary, this was achieved peacefully, but in Romania the revolution turned violent and led to Ceaușescu's overthrow and execution. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_375

Gorbachev was too preoccupied with domestic problems to pay much attention to these events. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_376

He believed that democratic elections would not lead Eastern European countries into abandoning their commitment to socialism. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_377

In 1989 he visited East Germany for the fortieth anniversary of its founding; shortly after, in November, the East German government allowed its citizens to cross the Berlin Wall, a decision Gorbachev praised. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_378

Over following years, much of the wall was demolished. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_379

Neither Gorbachev nor Thatcher or Mitterrand wanted a swift reunification of Germany, aware that it would likely become the dominant European power. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_380

Gorbachev wanted a gradual process of German integration but Kohl began calling for rapid reunification. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_381

With Germany reunified, many observers declared the Cold War over. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_382

Presidency of the Soviet Union: 1990–1991 Mikhail Gorbachev_section_17

In February 1990, both liberalisers and Marxist-Leninist hardliners intensified their attacks on Gorbachev. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_383

A liberalizer march took part in Moscow criticizing Communist Party rule, while at a Central Committee meeting, the hardliner Vladimir Brovikov accused Gorbachev of reducing the country to "anarchy" and "ruin" and of pursuing Western approval at the expense of the Soviet Union and the Marxist-Leninist cause. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_384

Gorbachev was aware that the Central Committee could still oust him as General Secretary, and so decided to reformulate the role of head of government to a presidency from which they could not remove him. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_385

He decided that the presidential election should be held by the Congress of People's Deputies. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_386

He chose this over a public vote because he thought the latter would escalate tensions and feared that he might lose it; a spring 1990 poll nevertheless still showed him as the most popular politician in the country. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_387

In March, the Congress of People's Deputies held the first (and only) Soviet presidential election, in which Gorbachev was the only candidate. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_388

He secured 1,329 in favor to 495 against; 313 votes were invalid or absent. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_389

He therefore became the first executive President of the Soviet Union. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_390

A new 18-member Presidential Council de facto replaced the Politburo. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_391

At the same Congress meeting, he presented the idea of repealing Article 6 of the Soviet constitution, which had ratified the Communist Party as the "ruling party" of the Soviet Union. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_392

The Congress passed the reform, undermining the de jure nature of the one-party state. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_393

In the 1990 elections for the Russian Supreme Soviet, the Communist Party faced challengers from an alliance of liberalisers known as "Democratic Russia"; the latter did particularly well in urban centers. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_394

Yeltsin was elected the parliament's chair, something Gorbachev was unhappy about. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_395

That year, opinion polls showed Yeltsin overtaking Gorbachev as the most popular politician in the Soviet Union. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_396

Gorbachev struggled to understand Yeltsin's growing popularity, commenting: "he drinks like a fish... he's inarticulate, he comes up with the devil knows what, he's like a worn-out record." Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_397

The Russian Supreme Soviet was now out of Gorbachev's control; in June 1990, it declared that in the Russian Republic, its laws took precedence over those of the Soviet central government. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_398

Amid a growth in Russian nationalist sentiment, Gorbachev had reluctantly allowed the formation of a Communist Party of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic as a branch of the larger Soviet Communist Party. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_399

Gorbachev attended its first congress in June, but soon found it dominated by hardliners who opposed his reformist stance. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_400

German reunification and the Iraq War Mikhail Gorbachev_section_18

In January 1990, Gorbachev privately agreed to permit East German reunification with West Germany, but rejected the idea that a unified Germany could retain West Germany's NATO membership. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_401

His compromise that Germany might retain both NATO and Warsaw Pact memberships did not attract support. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_402

In May 1990, he visited the U.S. for talks with President Bush; there, he agreed that an independent Germany would have the right to choose its international alliances. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_403

He later revealed that he had agreed to do so because U.S. Secretary of State James Baker promised that NATO troops would not be posted to eastern Germany and that the military alliance would not expand into Eastern Europe. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_404

Privately, Bush ignored Baker's assurances and later pushed for NATO expansion. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_405

On the trip, the U.S. informed Gorbachev of its evidence that the Soviet military—possibly unbeknownst to Gorbachev—had been pursuing a biological weapons program in contravention of the 1987 Biological Weapons Convention. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_406

In July, Kohl visited Moscow and Gorbachev informed him that the Soviets would not oppose a reunified Germany being part of NATO. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_407

Domestically, Gorbachev's critics accused him of betraying the national interest; more broadly, they were angry that Gorbachev had allowed the Eastern Bloc to move away from direct Soviet influence. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_408

In August 1990, Saddam Hussein's Iraqi government invaded Kuwait; Gorbachev endorsed President Bush's condemnation of it. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_409

This brought criticism from many in the Soviet state apparatus, who saw Hussein as a key ally in the Persian Gulf and feared for the safety of the 9,000 Soviet citizens in Iraq, although Gorbachev argued that the Iraqis were the clear aggressors in the situation. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_410

In November the Soviets endorsed a UN Resolution permitting force to be used in expelling the Iraqi Army from Kuwait. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_411

Gorbachev later called it a "watershed" in world politics, "the first time the superpowers acted together in a regional crisis." Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_412

However, when the U.S. announced plans for a ground invasion, Gorbachev opposed it, urging instead a peaceful solution. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_413

In October 1990, Gorbachev was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize; he was flattered but acknowledged "mixed feelings" about the accolade. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_414

Polls indicated that 90% of Soviet citizens disapproved of the award, which was widely seen as a Western and anti-Soviet accolade. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_415

With the Soviet budget deficit climbing and no domestic money markets to provide the state with loans, Gorbachev looked elsewhere. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_416

Throughout 1991, Gorbachev requested sizable loans from Western countries and Japan, hoping to keep the Soviet economy afloat and ensure the success of perestroika. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_417

Although the Soviet Union had been excluded from the G7, Gorbachev secured an invitation to its London summit in July 1991. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_418

There, he continued to call for financial assistance; Mitterrand and Kohl backed him, while Thatcher—no longer in office— also urged Western leaders to agree. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_419

Most G7 members were reluctant, instead offering technical assistance and proposing the Soviets receive "special associate" status—rather than full membership—of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_420

Gorbachev was frustrated that the U.S. would spend $100 billion on the Gulf War but would not offer his country loans. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_421

Other countries were more forthcoming; West Germany had given the Soviets DM60 billion by mid-1991. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_422

Later that month, Bush visited Moscow, where he and Gorbachev signed the START I treaty, a bilateral agreement on the reduction and limitation of strategic offensive arms, after ten years of negotiation. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_423

August putsch and government crises Mikhail Gorbachev_section_19

Further information: 1991 Soviet coup d'état attempt Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_424

At the 28th Communist Party Congress in July 1990, hardliners criticized the reformists but Gorbachev was re-elected party leader with the support of three-quarters of delegates and his choice of Deputy General Secretary, Vladimir Ivashko, was also elected. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_425

Seeking compromise with the liberalizers, Gorbachev assembled a team of both his own and Yeltsin's advisers to come up with an economic reform package: the result was the "500 Days" programme. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_426

This called for further decentralization and some privatization. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_427

Gorbachev described the plan as "modern socialism" rather than a return to capitalism but had many doubts about it. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_428

In September, Yeltsin presented the plan to the Russian Supreme Soviet, which backed it. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_429

Many in the Communist Party and state apparatus warned against it, arguing that it would create marketplace chaos, rampant inflation, and unprecedented levels of unemployment. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_430

The 500 Days plan was abandoned. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_431

At this, Yeltsin rallied against Gorbachev in an October speech, claiming that Russia would no longer accept a subordinate position to the Soviet government. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_432

By mid-November 1990, much of the press was calling for Gorbachev to resign and predicting civil war. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_433

Hardliners were urging Gorbachev to disband the presidential council and arrest vocal liberals in the media. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_434

In November, he addressed the Supreme Soviet where he announced an eight-point program, which included governmental reforms, among them the abolition of the presidential council. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_435

By this point, Gorbachev was isolated from many of his former close allies and aides. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_436

Yakovlev had moved out of his inner circle and Shevardnadze had resigned. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_437

His support among the intelligentsia was declining, and by the end of 1990 his approval ratings had plummeted. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_438

Amid growing dissent in the Baltics, especially Lithuania, in January 1991 Gorbachev demanded that the Lithuanian Supreme Council rescind its pro-independence reforms. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_439

Soviet troops occupied several Vilnius buildings and clashed with protesters, 15 of whom were killed. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_440

Gorbachev was widely blamed by liberalizers, with Yeltsin calling for his resignation. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_441

Gorbachev denied sanctioning the military operation, although some in the military claimed that he had; the truth of the matter was never clearly established. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_442

Fearing more civil disturbances, that month Gorbachev banned demonstrations and ordered troops to patrol Soviet cities alongside the police. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_443

This further alienated the liberalizers but was not enough to win-over hardliners. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_444

Wanting to preserve the Union, in April Gorbachev and the leaders of nine Soviet republics jointly pledged to prepare a treaty that would renew the federation under a new constitution; six of the republics—Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Georgia, and Armenia—did not endorse this. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_445

A referendum on the issue brought 76.4% in favor of continued federation but the six rebellious republics had not taken part. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_446

Negotiations as to what form the new constitution would take took place, again bringing together Gorbachev and Yeltsin in discussion; it was planned to be formally signed in August. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_447

In August, Gorbachev and his family holidayed at their dacha, "Zarya" ('Dawn') in Foros, Crimea. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_448

Two weeks into his holiday, a group of senior Communist Party figures—the "Gang of Eight"—calling themselves the State Committee on the State of Emergency launched a coup d'état to seize control of the Soviet Union. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_449

The phone lines to his dacha were cut and a group arrived, including Boldin, Shenin, Baklanov, and General Varennikov, informing him of the take-over. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_450

The coup leaders demanded that Gorbachev formally declare a state of emergency in the country, but he refused. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_451

Gorbachev and his family were kept under house arrest in their dacha. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_452

The coup plotters publicly announced that Gorbachev was ill and thus Vice President Yanayev would take charge of the country. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_453

Yeltsin, now President of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, went inside the Moscow White House. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_454

Tens of thousands of protesters amassed outside it to prevent troops storming the building to arrest him. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_455

Gorbachev feared that the coup plotters would order him killed, so had his guards barricade his dacha. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_456

However, the coup's leaders realized that they lacked sufficient support and ended their efforts. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_457

On 21 August, Vladimir Kryuchkov, Dmitry Yazov, Oleg Baklanov, and Anatoly Lukyanov, and Vladimir Ivashko arrived at Gorbachev's dacha to inform him that they were doing so. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_458

That evening, Gorbachev returned to Moscow, where he thanked Yeltsin and the protesters for helping to undermine the coup. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_459

At a subsequent press conference, he pledged to reform the Soviet Communist Party. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_460

Two days later, he resigned as its General Secretary and called on the Central Committee to dissolve. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_461

Several members of the coup committed suicide; others were fired. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_462

Gorbachev attended a session of the Russian Supreme Soviet on 23 August, where Yeltsin aggressively criticized him for having appointed and promoted many of the coup members to start with. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_463

Yeltsin then announced a ban on the Russian Communist Party. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_464

Final collapse Mikhail Gorbachev_section_20

Main article: Dissolution of the Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_465

On August 29, the Supreme Soviet indefinitely suspended all Communist Party activity, effectively ending Communist rule in the Soviet Union. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_466

From then on, the Soviet Union collapsed with dramatic speed. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_467

By the end of September, Gorbachev had lost the ability to influence events outside of Moscow. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_468

On 30 October, Gorbachev attended a conference in Madrid trying to revive the Israeli–Palestinian peace process. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_469

The event was co-sponsored by the U.S. and Soviet Union, one of the first examples of such cooperation between the two countries. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_470

There, he again met with Bush. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_471

En route home, he traveled to France where he stayed with Mitterrand at the latter's home near Bayonne. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_472

After the coup, Yeltsin had suspended all Communist Party activities on Russian soil by shutting down the Central Committee offices in Staraya Square along with raising of the imperial Russian tricolor flag alongside the Soviet flag at Red Square. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_473

By the final weeks of 1991, Yeltsin began to take over the remnants of the Soviet government including the Kremlin itself. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_474

To keep unity within the country, Gorbachev continued to pursue plans for a new union treaty but found increasing opposition to the idea of a continued federal state as the leaders of various Soviet republics bowed to growing nationalist pressure. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_475

Yeltsin stated that he would veto any idea of a unified state, instead favoring a confederation with little central authority. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_476

Only the leaders of the Kazakhstan and Kirghizia supported Gorbachev's approach. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_477

The referendum in Ukraine on 1 December with a 90% turnout for secession from the Union was a fatal blow; Gorbachev had expected Ukrainians to reject independence. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_478

Without Gorbachev's knowledge, Yeltsin met with Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk and Belarusian President Stanislav Shushkevich in Belovezha Forest, near Brest, Belarus, on 8 December and signed the Belavezha Accords, which declared the Soviet Union had ceased to exist and formed the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) as its successor. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_479

Gorbachev only learned of this development when Shushkevich phoned him; Gorbachev was furious. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_480

He desperately looked for an opportunity to preserve the Soviet Union, hoping in vain that the media and intelligentsia might rally against the idea of its dissolution. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_481

Ukrainian, Belarusian, and Russian Supreme Soviets then ratified the establishment of the CIS. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_482

On 10 December, he issued a statement calling the CIS agreement "illegal and dangerous". Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_483

On 20 December, the leaders of 11 of the 12 remaining republics–all except Georgia–met in Alma-Ata and signed the Alma-Ata Protocol, agreeing to dismantle the Soviet Union and formally establish the CIS. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_484

They also provisionally accepted Gorbachev's resignation as president of what remained of the Soviet Union. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_485

Gorbachev revealed that he would resign as soon as he saw that the CIS was a reality. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_486

Accepting the fait accompli of the Soviet Union's dissolution, Gorbachev reached a deal with Yeltsin that called for Gorbachev to formally announce his resignation as Soviet President and Commander-in-Chief on 25 December, before vacating the Kremlin by 29 December. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_487

Yakovlev, Chernyaev, and Shevardnadze joined Gorbachev to help him write a resignation speech. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_488

Gorbachev then gave his speech in the Kremlin in front of television cameras, allowing for international broadcast. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_489

In it, he announced, "I hereby discontinue my activities at the post of President of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics." Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_490

He expressed regret for the breakup of the Soviet Union but cited what he saw as the achievements of his administration: political and religious freedom, the end of totalitarianism, the introduction of democracy and a market economy, and an end to the arms race and Cold War. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_491

Gorbachev was only the third Soviet leader, after Malenkov and Khrushchev, not to die in office. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_492

The following day, 26 December, the Council of the Republics, the upper house of the Supreme Soviet, formally voted the Soviet Union out of existence. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_493

The Soviet Union officially ceased to exist at midnight on 31 December 1991; as of that date, all Soviet institutions that had not been taken over by Russia ceased to function. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_494

Post-presidency Mikhail Gorbachev_section_21

Initial years: 1991–1999 Mikhail Gorbachev_section_22

Out of office, Gorbachev had more time to spend with his wife and family. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_495

He and Raisa initially lived in their dilapidated dacha on Rublevskoe Shosse, although were also allowed to privatize their small apartment on Kosygin Street. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_496

He focused on establishing his International Foundation for Socio-Economic and Political Studies, or "Gorbachev Foundation", launched in March 1992; Yakovlev and Grigory Revenko were its first Vice Presidents. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_497

Its initial tasks were in analyzing and publishing material on the history of perestroika, as well as defending the policy from what it called "slander and falsifications". Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_498

The foundation also tasked itself with monitoring and critiquing life in post-Soviet Russia and presenting alternate forms of development to those pursued by Yeltsin. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_499

In 1993, Gorbachev launched Green Cross International, which focused on encouraging sustainable futures, and then the World Political Forum. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_500

To finance his foundation, Gorbachev began lecturing internationally, charging large fees to do so. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_501

On a visit to Japan, he was well received and given multiple honorary degrees. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_502

In 1992, he toured the U.S. in a Forbes private jet to raise money for his foundation. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_503

During the trip he met up with the Reagans for a social visit. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_504

From there he went to Spain, where he attended the Expo '92 world fair in Seville and also met with Prime Minister Felipe González, who had become a friend of his. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_505

In March, he visited Germany, where he was received warmly by many politicians who praised his role in facilitating German reunification. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_506

To supplement his lecture fees and book sales, Gorbachev appeared in print and television adverts for companies like Pizza Hut and Louis Vuitton, enabling him to keep the foundation afloat. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_507

With his wife's assistance, Gorbachev worked on his memoirs, which were published in Russian in 1995 and in English the following year. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_508

He also began writing a monthly syndicated column for The New York Times. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_509

Gorbachev had promised to refrain from criticizing Yeltsin while the latter pursued democratic reforms, but soon the two men were publicly criticizing each other again. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_510

After Yeltsin's decision to lift price caps generated massive inflation and plunged many Russians into poverty, Gorbachev openly criticized him, comparing the reform to Stalin's policy of forced collectivization. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_511

After pro-Yeltsin parties did poorly in the 1993 legislative election, Gorbachev called on him to resign. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_512

In 1995 his foundation held a conference on "The Intelligentsia and Perestroika". Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_513

It was there that Gorbachev proposed to the Duma a law that would reduce many of the presidential powers established by Yeltsin's 1993 constitution. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_514

Gorbachev continued to defend perestroika but acknowledged that he had made tactical errors as Soviet leader. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_515

While he still believed that Russia was undergoing a process of democratization, he concluded that it would take decades rather than years, as he had previously thought. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_516

The Russian presidential elections were scheduled for June 1996, and although his wife and most of his friends urged him not to run, Gorbachev decided to do so. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_517

He hated the idea that the election would result in a run-off between Yeltsin and Gennady Zyuganov, the Communist Party of the Russian Federation candidate whom Yeltsin saw as a Stalinist hardliner. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_518

He never expected to win outright but thought a centrist bloc could be formed around either himself or one of the other candidates with similar views, such as Grigory Yavlinsky, Svyatoslav Fyodorov, or Alexander Lebed. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_519

After securing the necessary one million signatures of nomination, he announced his candidacy in March. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_520

Launching his campaign, he traveled across Russia giving rallies in twenty cities. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_521

He repeatedly faced anti-Gorbachev protesters, while some pro-Yeltsin local officials tried to hamper his campaign by banning local media from covering it or by refusing him access to venues. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_522

In the election, Gorbachev came seventh with circa 386,000 votes, or around 0.5% of the total. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_523

Yeltsin and Zyuganov went through to the second round, where the former was victorious. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_524

In contrast to her husband's political efforts, Raisa had focused on campaigning for children's charities. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_525

In 1997 she founded a sub-division of the Gorbachev Foundation known as Raisa Maksimovna's Club to focus on improving women's welfare in Russia. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_526

The Foundation had initially been housed in the former Social Science Institute building, but Yeltsin introduced limits to the number of rooms it could use there; the American philanthropist Ted Turner then donated over $1 million to enable the foundation to build a new premises on the Leningradsky Prospekt. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_527

In 1999, Gorbachev made his first visit to Australia, where he gave a speech to the country's parliament. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_528

Shortly after, in July, Raisa was diagnosed with leukemia. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_529

With the assistance of German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, she was transferred to a cancer center in Münster, Germany and there underwent chemotherapy. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_530

In September she fell into a coma and died. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_531

After Raisa's passing, Gorbachev's daughter Irina and his two granddaughters moved into his Moscow home to live with him. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_532

When questioned by journalists, he said that he would never remarry. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_533

Promoting social democracy in Putin's Russia: 1999–2008 Mikhail Gorbachev_section_23

In December 1999, Yeltsin resigned and was succeeded by his deputy, Vladimir Putin, who then won the March 2000 presidential election. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_534

Gorbachev attended Putin's inauguration ceremony in May, the first time he had entered the Kremlin since 1991. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_535

Gorbachev initially welcomed Putin's rise, seeing him as an anti-Yeltsin figure. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_536

Although he spoke out against some of the Putin government's actions, Gorbachev also had praise for the new regime; in 2002 he said that "I've been in the same skin. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_537

That's what allows me to say what [Putin's] done is in the interest of the majority". Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_538

At the time, he believed Putin to be a committed democrat who nevertheless had to use "a certain dose of authoritarianism" to stabilize the economy and rebuild the state after the Yeltsin era. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_539

At Putin's request, Gorbachev became co-chair of the "Petersburg Dialogue" project between high-ranking Russians and Germans. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_540

In 2000, Gorbachev helped form the Russian United Social Democratic Party. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_541

In June 2002 he participated in a meeting with Putin, who praised the venture, suggesting that a center-left party could be good for Russia and that he would be open to working with it. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_542

In 2003, Gorbachev's party merged with the Social Democratic Party to form the Social Democratic Party of Russia, which faced much internal division and failed to gain traction with voters. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_543

Gorbachev resigned as party leader in May 2004 following a disagreement with the party's chairman over the direction taken in the 2003 election campaign. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_544

The party was later banned in 2007 by the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation due to its failure to establish local offices with at least 500 members in the majority of Russian regions, which is required by Russian law for a political organization to be listed as a party. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_545

Later that year, Gorbachev founded a new movement, the Union of Social Democrats. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_546

Stating that it would not contest the forthcoming elections, Gorbachev declared: "We are fighting for power, but only for power over people's minds". Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_547

Gorbachev was critical of U.S. hostility to Putin, arguing that the U.S. government "doesn't want Russia to rise" again as a global power and wants "to continue as the sole superpower in charge of the world". Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_548

More broadly, Gorbachev was critical of U.S. policy following the Cold War, arguing that the West had attempted to "turn [Russia] into some kind of backwater". Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_549

He rejected the idea – expressed by Bush – that the U.S. had "won" the Cold War, arguing that both sides had cooperated to end the conflict. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_550

He claimed that since the fall of the Soviet Union, the U.S., rather than cooperating with Russia, had conspired to build a "new empire headed by themselves". Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_551

He was critical of how the U.S. had expanded NATO right up to Russia's borders despite their initial assurances that they would not do so, citing this as evidence that the U.S. government could not be trusted. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_552

He spoke out against the 1999 NATO bombing of Yugoslavia because it lacked UN backing, as well as the 2003 invasion of Iraq led by the U.S. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_553

In June 2004 Gorbachev nevertheless attended Reagan's state funeral, and in 2007 visited New Orleans to see the damage caused by Hurricane Katrina. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_554

Growing criticism of Putin and foreign policy remarks: since 2008 Mikhail Gorbachev_section_24

Barred by the constitution from serving more than two consecutive terms as president, Putin stood down in 2008 and was succeeded by his Prime Minister, Dmitry Medvedev, who reached out to Gorbachev in ways that Putin had not. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_555

In September 2008, Gorbachev and business oligarch Alexander Lebedev announced they would form the Independent Democratic Party of Russia, and in May 2009 Gorbachev announced that the launch was imminent. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_556

After the outbreak of the 2008 South Ossetia war between Russia and South Ossetian separatists on one side and Georgia on the other, Gorbachev spoke out against U.S. support for Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili and for moving to bring the Caucasus into the sphere of its national interest. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_557

Gorbachev nevertheless remained critical of Russia's government and criticized the 2011 parliamentary elections as being rigged in favor of the governing party, United Russia, and called for them to be re-held. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_558

After protests broke out in Moscow over the election, Gorbachev praised the protesters. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_559

In 2009 Gorbachev released Songs for Raisa, an album of Russian romantic ballads, sung by him and accompanied by musician Andrei Makarevich, to raise money for a charity devoted to his late wife. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_560

That year he also met with U.S. President Barack Obama in efforts to "reset" strained U.S.-Russian relations, and attended an event in Berlin commemorating the twentieth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_561

In 2011, an eightieth birthday gala for him was held at London's Royal Albert Hall, featuring tributes from Simon Peres, Lech Wałęsa, Michel Rocard, and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_562

Proceeds from the event went to the Raisa Gorbachev Foundation. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_563

That year, Medvedev awarded him the Order of St Andrew the Apostle the First-Called. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_564

In 2012, Putin announced that he was standing again as president, something Gorbachev was critical of. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_565

He complained that Putin's new measures had "tightened the screws" on Russia and that the president was trying to "completely subordinate society", adding that United Russia now "embodied the worst bureaucratic features of the Soviet Communist party". Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_566

Gorbachev was in increasingly poor health; in 2011 he had spinal operation and in 2014 oral surgery. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_567

In 2015, Gorbachev ceased his pervasive international traveling. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_568

He continued to speak out on issues affecting Russia and the world. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_569

In 2014, he defended the Crimean status referendum that led to Russia's annexation of Crimea. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_570

He noted that while Crimea was transferred from Russia to Ukraine in 1954, when both were part of the Soviet Union, the Crimean people had not been asked at the time, whereas in the 2014 referendum they had. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_571

After sanctions were placed on Russia as a result of the annexation, Gorbachev spoke out against them. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_572

His comments led to Ukraine banning him from entering the country for five years. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_573

At a November 2014 event marking 25 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall, Gorbachev warned that the ongoing War in Donbass had brought the world to the brink of a new cold war, and he accused Western powers, particularly the U.S., of adopting an attitude of "triumphalism" towards Russia. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_574

In July 2016, Gorbachev criticized NATO for deploying more troops to Eastern Europe amid escalating tensions between the military alliance and Russia. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_575

In June 2018, he welcomed the 2018 Russia–United States summit between Putin and U.S. President Donald Trump, although in October criticized Trump's threat to withdraw from the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, saying the move "is not the work of a great mind." Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_576

He added: "all agreements aimed at nuclear disarmament and the limitation of nuclear weapons must be preserved for the sake of life on Earth." Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_577

Political ideology Mikhail Gorbachev_section_25

According to his university friend Zdeněk Mlynář, in the early 1950s "Gorbachev, like everyone else at the time, was a Stalinist." Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_578

Mlynář noted, however, that unlike most other Soviet students, Gorbachev did not view Marxism simply as "a collection of axioms to be committed to memory." Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_579

Biographers Doder and Branson related that after Stalin's death, Gorbachev's "ideology would never be doctrinal again", but noted that he remained "a true believer" in the Soviet system. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_580

Doder and Branson noted that at the Twenty-Seventh Party Congress in 1986, Gorbachev was seen to be an orthodox Marxist-Leninist; that year, the biographer Zhores Medvedev stated that "Gorbachev is neither a liberal nor a bold reformist". Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_581

By the mid-1980s, when Gorbachev took power, many analysts were arguing that the Soviet Union was declining to the status of a Third World country. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_582

In this context, Gorbachev argued that the Communist Party had to adapt and engage in creative thinking much as Lenin had creatively interpreted and adapted the writings of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels to the situation of early 20th century Russia. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_583

For instance, he thought that rhetoric about global revolution and overthrowing the bourgeoisie—which had been integral to Leninist politics—had become too dangerous in an era where nuclear warfare could obliterate humanity. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_584

He began to move away from the Marxist-Leninist belief in class struggle as the engine of political change, instead viewing politics as a ways of co-ordinating the interests of all classes. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_585

However, as Gooding noted, the changes that Gorbachev proposed were "expressed wholly within the terms of Marxist-Leninist ideology". Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_586

According to Doder and Branson, Gorbachev also wanted to "dismantle the hierarchical military society at home and abandon the grand-style, costly, imperialism abroad". Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_587

However, Jonathan Steele argued that Gorbachev failed to appreciate why the Baltic nations wanted independence and "at heart he was, and remains, a Russian imperialist." Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_588

Gooding thought that Gorbachev was "committed to democracy", something marking him out as different from his predecessors. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_589

Gooding also suggested that when in power, Gorbachev came to see socialism not as a place on the path to communism, but a destination in itself. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_590

Gorbachev's political outlook was shaped by the 23 years he served as a party official in Stavropol. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_591

Doder and Branson thought that throughout most of his political career prior to becoming General Secretary, "his publicly expressed views almost certainly reflected a politician's understanding of what should be said, rather than his personal philosophy. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_592

Otherwise he could not have survived politically." Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_593

Like many Russians, Gorbachev sometimes thought of the Soviet Union as being largely synonymous with Russia and in various speeches described it as "Russia"; in one incident he had to correct himself after calling the USSR "Russia" while giving a speech in Kyiv, Ukraine. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_594

McCauley noted that perestroika was "an elusive concept", one which "evolved and eventually meant something radically different over time." Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_595

McCauley stated that the concept originally referred to "radical reform of the economic and political system" as part of Gorbachev's attempt to motivate the labor force and make management more effective. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_596

It was only after initial measures to achieve this proved unsuccessful that Gorbachev began to consider market mechanisms and co-operatives, albeit with the state sector remaining dominant. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_597

The political scientist John Gooding suggested that had the perestroika reforms succeeded, the Soviet Union would have "exchanged totalitarian controls for milder authoritarian ones" although not become "democratic in the Western sense". Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_598

With perestroika, Gorbachev had wanted to improve the existing Marxist-Leninist system but ultimately ended up destroying it. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_599

In this, he brought an end to state socialism in the Soviet Union and paved the way for a transition to liberal democracy. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_600

Taubman nevertheless thought Gorbachev remained a socialist. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_601

He described Gorbachev as "a true believer—not in the Soviet system as it functioned (or didn't) in 1985 but in its potential to live up to what he deemed its original ideals." Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_602

He added that "until the end, Gorbachev reiterated his belief in socialism, insisting that it wasn't worthy of the name unless it was truly democratic." Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_603

As Soviet leader, Gorbachev believed in incremental reform rather than a radical transformation; he later referred to this as a "revolution by evolutionary means". Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_604

Doder and Branson noted that over the course of the 1980s, his thought underwent a "radical evolution". Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_605

Taubman noted that by 1989 or 1990, Gorbachev had transformed into a social democrat. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_606

McCauley suggested that by at least June 1991 Gorbachev was a "post-Leninist", having "liberated himself" from Marxism-Leninism. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_607

After the fall of the Soviet Union, the newly formed Communist Party of the Russian Federation would have nothing to do with him. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_608

However, in 2006, he expressed his continued belief in Lenin's ideas: "I trusted him then and I still do". Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_609

He claimed that "the essence of Lenin" was a desire to develop "the living creative activity of the masses". Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_610

Taubman believed that Gorbachev identified with Lenin on a psychological level. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_611

Personal life Mikhail Gorbachev_section_26

Reaching an adult height of 5 foot 9 inches (1.75 m), Gorbachev has a distinctive port-wine stain on the top of his head. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_612

By 1955 his hair was thinning, and by the late 1960s he was bald. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_613

Throughout the 1960s he struggled against obesity and dieted to control the problem; Doder and Branson characterized him as "stocky but not fat". Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_614

He speaks in a southern Russian accent, and is known to sing both folk and pop songs. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_615

Throughout his life, he tried to dress fashionably. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_616

Having an aversion to hard liquor, he drank sparingly and did not smoke. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_617

He was protective of his private life and avoided inviting people to his home. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_618

Gorbachev cherished his wife, who in turn was protective of him. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_619

He was an involved parent and grandparent. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_620

He sent his daughter, his only child, to a local school in Stavropol rather than to a school set aside for the children of party elites. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_621

Unlike many of his contemporaries in the Soviet administration, he was not a womanizer and was known for treating women respectfully. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_622

Gorbachev was baptized Russian Orthodox and when he was growing up, his grandparents had been practicing Christians. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_623

In 2008, there was some press speculation that he was a practicing Christian after he visited the tomb of St Francis of Assisi, to which he publicly clarified that he was an atheist. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_624

Since studying at university, Gorbachev considered himself an intellectual; Doder and Branson thought that "his intellectualism was slightly self-conscious", noting that unlike most Russian intelligentsia, Gorbachev was not closely connected "to the world of science, culture, the arts, or education". Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_625

When living in Stavropol he and his wife collected hundreds of books. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_626

Among his favorite authors were Arthur Miller, Dostoevsky, and Chingiz Aitmatov, while he also enjoyed reading detective fiction. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_627

He enjoyed going for walks, having a love of natural environments, and was also a fan of association football. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_628

He favored small gatherings where the assembled discussed topics like art and philosophy rather than the large, alcohol-fueled parties common among Soviet officials. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_629

Personality Mikhail Gorbachev_section_27

Gorbachev's university friend, Mlynář, described him as "loyal and personally honest". Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_630

He was self-confident, polite, and tactful; he had a happy and optimistic temperament. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_631

He used self-deprecating humour, and sometimes profanities, and often referred to himself in the third person. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_632

He was a skilled manager, and had a good memory. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_633

A hard worker or workaholic, as General Secretary, he would rise at 7 or 8 in the morning and not go to bed until 1 or 2. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_634

Taubman called him "a remarkably decent man"; he thought Gorbachev to have "high moral standards". Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_635

Zhores Medvedev thought him a talented orator, in 1986 stating that "Gorbachev is probably the best speaker there has been in the top Party echelons" since Leon Trotsky. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_636

Medvedev also considered Gorbachev "a charismatic leader", something Brezhnev, Andropov, and Chernenko had not been. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_637

Doder and Branson called him "a charmer capable of intellectually seducing doubters, always trying to co-opt them, or at least blunt the edge of their criticism". Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_638

McCauley thought Gorbachev displayed "great tactical skill" in maneuvering successfully between hardline Marxist-Leninists and liberalisers for most of his time as leader, although added that he was "much more skilled at tactical, short-term policy than strategic, long-term thinking", in part because he was "given to making policy on the hoof". Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_639

Doder and Branson thought Gorbachev "a Russian to the core, intensely patriotic as only people living in the border regions can be." Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_640

Taubman also noted that the former Soviet leader has a "sense of self-importance and self-righteousness" as well as a "need for attention and admiration" which grated on some of his colleagues. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_641

He was sensitive to personal criticism and easily took offense. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_642

Colleagues were often frustrated that he would leave tasks unfinished, and sometimes also felt underappreciated and discarded by him. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_643

Biographers Doder and Branson thought that Gorbachev was "a puritan" with "a proclivity for order in his personal life". Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_644

Taubman noted that he was "capable of blowing up for calculated effect". Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_645

He also thought that by 1990, when his domestic popularity was waning, Gorbachev become "psychologically dependent on being lionized abroad", a trait for which he was criticized in the Soviet Union. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_646

McCauley was of the view that "one of his weaknesses was an inability to foresee the consequences of his actions". Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_647

Reception and legacy Mikhail Gorbachev_section_28

Opinions on Gorbachev are deeply divided. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_648

Many, particularly in Western countries, see him as the greatest statesman of the second half of the twentieth century. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_649

U.S. press referred to the presence of "Gorbymania" in Western countries during the late 1980s and early 1990s, as represented by large crowds that turned out to greet his visits, with Time magazine naming him its "Man of the Decade" in the 1980s. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_650

In the Soviet Union itself, opinion polls indicated that Gorbachev was the most popular politician from 1985 through to late 1989. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_651

For his domestic supporters, Gorbachev was seen as a reformer trying to modernise the Soviet Union, and to build a form of democratic socialism. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_652

Taubman characterized Gorbachev as "a visionary who changed his country and the world—though neither as much as he wished." Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_653

Taubman regarded Gorbachev as being "exceptional... as a Russian ruler and a world statesman", highlighting that he avoided the "traditional, authoritarian, anti-Western norm" of both predecessors like Brezhnev and successors like Putin. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_654

McCauley thought that in allowing the Soviet Union to move away from Marxism-Leninism, Gorbachev gave the Soviet people "something precious, the right to think and manage their lives for themselves", with all the uncertainty and risk that that entailed. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_655

Gorbachev's negotiations with the U.S. helped bring an end to the Cold War and reduced the threat of nuclear conflict. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_656

His decision to allow the Eastern Bloc to break apart prevented significant bloodshed in Central and Eastern Europe; as Taubman noted, this meant that the "Soviet Empire" ended in a far more peaceful manner than the British Empire several decades before. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_657

Similarly, under Gorbachev, the Soviet Union broke apart without falling into civil war, as happened during the breakup of Yugoslavia at the same time. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_658

McCauley noted that in facilitating the merger of East and West Germany, Gorbachev was "a co-father of German unification", assuring him long-term popularity among the German people. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_659

He also faced domestic criticism during his rule. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_660

During his career, Gorbachev attracted the admiration of some colleagues, but others came to hate him. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_661

Across society more broadly, his inability to reverse the decline in the Soviet economy brought discontent. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_662

Liberals thought he lacked the radicalism to really break from Marxism-Leninism and establish a free market liberal democracy. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_663

Conversely, many of his Communist Party critics thought his reforms were reckless and threatened the survival of Soviet socialism; some believed he should have followed the example of China's Communist Party and restricted himself to economic rather than governmental reforms. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_664

Many Russians saw his emphasis on persuasion rather than force as a sign of weakness. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_665

For much of the Communist Party nomenklatura, the Soviet Union's dissolution was disastrous as it resulted in their loss of power. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_666

In Russia, he is widely despised for his role in the collapse of the Soviet Union and the ensuing economic collapse. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_667

General Varennikov, one of those who orchestrated the 1991 coup attempt against Gorbachev, for instance called him "a renegade and traitor to your own people". Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_668

Many of his critics attacked him for allowing the Marxist-Leninist governments across Eastern Europe to fall, and for allowing a reunited Germany to join NATO, something they deem to be contrary to Russia's national interest. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_669

The historian Mark Galeotti stressed the connection between Gorbachev and his predecessor, Andropov. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_670

In Galeotti's view, Andropov was "the godfather of the Gorbachev revolution", because—as a former head of the KGB—he was able to put forward the case for reform without having his loyalty to the Soviet cause questioned, an approach that Gorbachev was able to build on and follow through with. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_671

According to McCauley, Gorbachev "set reforms in motion without understanding where they could lead. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_672

Never in his worst nightmare could he have imagined that perestroika would lead to the destruction of the Soviet Union". Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_673

Orders, decorations, and honors Mikhail Gorbachev_section_29

In 1988, India awarded Gorbachev the Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development; in 1990 he was given the Nobel Peace Prize for "his leading role in the peace process which today characterizes important parts of the international community". Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_674

Out of office he continued to receive honors. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_675

In 1992 he was the first recipient of the Ronald Reagan Freedom Award, and in 1994 was given the Grawemeyer Award by the University of Louisville, Kentucky. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_676

In 1995 he was awarded the Grand-Cross of the Order of Liberty by Portuguese President Mário Soares, and in 1998 the Freedom Award from the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, Tennessee. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_677

In 2002, Gorbachev received the Freedom of the City of Dublin from Dublin City Council. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_678

In 2002, Gorbachev was awarded the Charles V Prize by the European Academy of Yuste Foundation. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_679

Gorbachev, together with Bill Clinton and Sophia Loren, were awarded the 2004 Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album for Children for their recording of Sergei Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf for Pentatone. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_680

In 2005, Gorbachev was awarded the Point Alpha Prize for his role in supporting German reunification. Mikhail Gorbachev_sentence_681


Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mikhail Gorbachev.