Thursday, May 30, 2024

Former Soviet Union president Mikhail Gorbachev dies aged 91

Mikhail Gorbachev, the first and only president of the Soviet Union, has died at the age of 91, in Moscow.

His death was reported on Tuesday night by the Central Clinical Hospital, which announced in a statement that “Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev died this evening after a serious and prolonged illness.”

According to the news agency TASS, Gorbachev was hospitalized at the very beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, at the request of his doctors, and had been under medical supervision ever since.

Gorbachev will be buried in Moscow’s Novodevichy Cemetery next to his wife, Raisa, who died in 1999, TASS revealed, citing a source familiar with the family’s wishes.

Gorbachev was born on March 2, 1931. He graduated from the Department of Law of the Moscow State University in 1955 and later received a second education in 1967 from Stavropol Agricultural Institute.

Gorbachev joined the Communist Party in 1952 and became a member of its Central Committee in 1971. The last secretary general of the Communist Party’s Central Committee, he was elected to the post in 1985 following the death of his predecessor Konstantin Chernenko.

Gorbachev promoted glasnost – a policy of open discussion of political and social issues – and perestroika, a policy of political and economic reforms.

A divisive figure, supporters credit him with having played a key part in bringing about an end to the Cold War, while opponents accuse him of aiding in the fall of the Soviet Union and a major loss to Moscow’s prestige and global influence.

He was the first and the last president of the Soviet Union, winning elections for the post in March 1990 and resigning on December 25, 1991.

Gorbachev won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1990.

After stepping down as Soviet president, he was engaged in social and literary activities.

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