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Mikhail Gorbachev was a Soviet politician. Gorbachev served as the last general secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union —91 as well as the last president of the Soviet Union — Both as general secretary and as president, Gorbachev supported democratic reforms.
Mikhail Gorbachev became a delegate to the Communist Party Congress in He was elected general secretary in He became the first president of the Soviet Union in , and won the Nobel Prize for Peace that same year. He resigned in , and has since founded the Gorbachev Foundation and remains active in social and political causes.
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By , his liberal policies of perestroika and glasnost had permanently transformed Soviet Communism, and had made enemies of radicals on the right and left. By he, more than anyone else, had ended the Cold War, and in , after barely escaping from a coup attempt, he unintentionally presided over the collapse of the Soviet Union he had tried to save. In the first comprehensive biography of the final Soviet leader, William Taubman shows how a peasant boy became the Soviet system's gravedigger, how he clambered to the top of a system designed to keep people like him down, how he found common ground with America's arch-conservative president Ronald Reagan, and how he permitted the USSR and its East European empire to break apart without using force to preserve them. Throughout, Taubman portrays the many sides of Gorbachev's unique character that, by Gorbachev's own admission, make him "difficult to understand. Drawing on interviews with Gorbachev himself, transcripts and documents from the Russian archives, and interviews with Kremlin aides and adversaries, as well as foreign leaders, Taubman's intensely personal portrait extends to Gorbachev's remarkable marriage to a woman he deeply loved, and to the family that they raised together. Nuanced and poignant, yet unsparing and honest, this sweeping account has all the amplitude of a great Russian novel. This excellent biography is an attempt to answer the question "How did Gorbachev become Communist party boss despite the most rigorous imaginable arrangement of checks and guarantees designed to guard
When my wife and I arrived in Moscow as journalists early in the reign of Vladimir V. Putin, the first person we interviewed was the last leader of the Soviet Union, Mikhail S. He told us he had recently visited Putin at the Kremlin and asked the question many around the world were asking: Did Putin plan to return Russia to authoritarianism? To Putin, Gorbachev was an intermediary to the West, sending a reassuring if deceptive message. Westerners like us flocked to see Gorbachev as an oracle of democracy. But what Putin knew was that Gorbachev was no hero to his own people.
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The article examines the decline of democracy worldwide and rising support for populist movements and anti-establishment sentiment. It looks at how changes in economic and military power around the world have contributed to these developments, citing forecasts that authoritarian countries such as China, Russia, and Saudi Arabia will surpass Western liberal democracies in terms of economic strength. The article examines how democracy has been threatened by authoritarian and xenophobic populist movements in Western countries. It looks at how reaction against immigration and racial equality has led to rising support for such authoritarian movements and discusses how prosperity and political opposition can help maintain democracy.
He was also the country's head of state from until , serving as the chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet from to , chairman of the Supreme Soviet from to , and president of the Soviet Union from to Ideologically, Gorbachev initially adhered to Marxism—Leninism , although he had moved towards social democracy by the early s. Of mixed Russian and Ukrainian heritage, Gorbachev was born in Privolnoye , Stavropol Krai , to a poor peasant family. 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.
Jonathan Steele, The Guardian An engaging, poignant portrayal of one of the most significant of Russian leaders Kirkus review
Kathleen E. Smith, W illiam T aubman. Gorbachev: His Life and Times.
Nobody before William Taubman has achieved an in-depth psychological portrait. Political accounts have been two a penny; economic and ideological studies have come at a discount. But what made Gorbachev tick, as a man and a leader, has always been hooded in speculation. Taubman has dedicated a dozen years to gathering first-hand evidence from the man himself. This cannot have been an easy task.
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