Gorbachev, the last leader of the Soviet Union, dies at 91 | International

Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev (Stavropol, March 2, 1931), the last Soviet leader, has died at the age of 91. The first and last president of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and father of the perestroika He has died after “a serious and prolonged illness”, as confirmed by the Moscow Central Clinical Hospital.

Gorbachev, who assumed power at the head of the USSR as General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in 1985, then undertook two enormous reforms, the glastnost (transparency, in Russian) and the perestroika (restructuring) aimed at ending the opacity of the Soviet regime and opening the economy to the market, respectively.

For his work he received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1990. “He brought the Cold War to a peaceful end”, highlights the institution that awards the award in the profile dedicated to the figure of Gorbachev on his website. “Society was liberalized and Gorbachev sought detente with the US,” adds the Nobel Foundation. She recalls that he lived “under the Stalin regime and the German occupation during World War II,” and that his trips abroad “gradually made him more critical of the inefficiencies of the Soviet system.”

After the coup attempt of August 1991, perpetrated by the leadership of the KGB and the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU), his political position was greatly weakened. He resigned in December of that year and dissolved the central committee. A day later, on December 25, the Soviet Union ceased to exist.

The figure of Gorbachev has provoked intense debates between applause and criticism. The current Russian president, Vladimir Putin, described the disappearance of the USSR as a huge tragedy. Likewise, the former Soviet leader also weighs his management of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster of April 26, 1986, whose leak was hidden from the population until it was detected by the West days later. Gorbachev would take several weeks, until May 14, to appear before public opinion.

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Historical reference of the 20th century, Gorbachev had spent his last years of life away for health reasons. According to the Tass news agency, he was hospitalized at the beginning of the pandemic and has remained under constant medical supervision since then. Sources close to the family have reported that he will be buried at Moscow’s Novodevichy Cemetery alongside his wife, Raisa Gorbachova, who died in 1999.

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