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HomeNewsThe man who froze the Cold War and dissolved...

The man who froze the Cold War and dissolved the Soviet Union, Gorby, bows at 91

In picture – Mikhail Gorbachev and former US President Ronald Reagan: Mikhail Gorbachev — the last leader of the former Soviet Union from 1985 until 1991 — has died at the age of 91.

Mikhail Gorbachev — the last leader of the former Soviet Union from 1985 until 1991 — has died at the age of 91.

Gorbachev died after a long illness, Russian state news agencies reported.

“Mikhail Sergeevich Gorbachev died this evening after a severe and prolonged illness,” the Central Clinical Hospital said, according to RIA Novosti Tuesday.

The man credited with introducing key political and economic reforms – Perestroika (restructuring) and Glasnot (openness) – to the USSR and helping to end the Cold War had been in failing health for some time.

Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed his condolences, Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, told RIA Novosti.

Other world leaders also paid tribute to Gorbachev on Tuesday, with US President Joe Biden calling him “a man of remarkable vision” in a statement.

“As leader of the USSR, he worked with President Reagan to reduce our two countries’ nuclear arsenals, to the relief of people worldwide praying for an end to the nuclear arms race,” Biden said, adding that Gorbachev’s reforms led to “a safer world and greater freedom for millions of people.”

Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, wrote on Twitter that Gorbachev’s role in ending the Cold War “opened the way for a free Europe. This legacy is one we will not forget.”

“I began these reforms and my guiding stars were freedom and democracy, without bloodshed. So, the people would cease to be a herd led by a shepherd. They would become citizens,” Gorbachev had said.

He will be buried next to his wife at the Novodevichy Cemetery in Moscow, RIA Novosti reported citing the Gorbachev Foundation.

In picture – Mikhail Gorbachev with former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher: He became a member of the Communist Party in 1952 and completed a law degree at Moscow University in 1955

Gorbachev had humble beginnings: He was born into a peasant family on March 2, 1931 near Stavropol, and as a boy, he did farm labor along with his studies, working with his father who was a combine harvester operator. In later life, Gorbachev said he was “particularly proud of my ability to detect a fault in the combine instantly, just by the sound of it.”

He became a member of the Communist Party in 1952 and completed a law degree at Moscow University in 1955. It was here that he met — and married — fellow student Raisa Titarenko.

During the early 1960s, Gorbachev became head of the agriculture department for the Stavropol region. By the end of the decade he had risen to the top of the party hierarchy in the region. He came to the attention of Mikhail Suslov and Yuri Andropov, members of the Politburo, the principal policy-setting body of the Communist Part of the Soviet Union, who got him elected to the Central Committee in 1971 and arranged foreign trips for their rising star.

But to the end, Gorbachev was a leader more respected in other countries than at home. In Russia, he was reviled by some for destroying the Soviet empire and by others for moving too slowly in freeing his nation from the grip of communism. In the West, however, he remains the Nobel Peace Prize winner who helped end the Cold War.

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