Former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev passed away on Tuesday at the age of 91. Gorbachev was responsible for ending the Cold War but was unable to save the collapse of the Soviet Union. According to a Russian news agency, he passed away following a serious and protracted illness. ‘Mikhail Sergeevich Gorbachev died this evening after a serious and long illness’, the agency citing the Central Clinical Hospital said on Tuesday.
Mikhail Gorbachev was the last president of the United Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). He was a youthful, energetic soviet leader who sought to give people some independence while also reforming the communist system along democratic lines.
Gorbachev resisted employing force as pro-democracy demonstrations swept through the Soviet Union and communist Eastern Europe in 1989. He acknowledged the Glasnost policy or the freedom of expression, which had been severely restricted during the previous administration.
Gorbachev also started the Perestroika or Restructuring programme of economic reform, which was essential because the Soviet economy was experiencing both covert inflation and supply shortages. The press and the creative community enjoyed cultural liberties throughout his reign.
He enacted drastic changes aimed at reducing party dominance of the executive branch. During his tenure, hundreds of political prisoners and their dissidents were notably freed. He received the Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of the accomplishment of the nuclear disarmament accord with the United States of America.
According to The New York Times, Gorbachev’s first five years in office were distinguished by notable successes. He oversaw an arms deal with the United States that removed an entire class of nuclear weapons for the first time and started the removal of the majority of Soviet tactical nuclear weapons from Eastern Europe.