Biography Of Mikhail Gorbachev
Mikhail Gorbachev was general secretary of the Soviet Union Communist Party from 1985 to 1991. Gorbachev was the very first President elected by democratic means in 1990.
Mikhail Gorbachev played a key role in breaking down the Communist control of power both in The Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. His zeal for reform and democracy opened the way to the end of the Cold War and the bringing down of the Berlin Wall. He was removed from the presidential office in the year 1991, following an unsuccessful coup attempt. After his departure, Gorbachev has worked tirelessly to promote new initiatives in social justice and care about the planet through his group known as The Green Cross.
Mikhail Gorbachev was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in October 1990.
Gorbachev was born in March 1931 in Stavropol The North Caucasus to a poor family of peasants. At the age of eleven, the area was taken over by Germans for three consecutive years, which was a difficult period for every one of the inhabitants. In 1950, he began his studies at Moscow University where he became an active part of the Soviet Union Communist Party. At this university, Gorbachev met his bride, Raisa Maxima, and they were married shortly after their meeting.
After earning a bachelor’s law degree, Gorbachev made much progress within the Communist party. Gorbachev earned a reputation as being honest, hardworking, and a loyal Communist member. In contrast to his colleagues, He was moderate with his drinking and did not care about earning financial benefits. His enthusiasm for life led him to notable successes and earned gained the respect of party bosses, however, he realized the weaknesses in the Communist system and why the huge bureaucracy was difficult to alter. Gorbachev supported socialism but wanted to make it more effective and better geared towards improving the lives of people.
In 1980, he was among his youngest Politburo member, and in 1985 Gorbachev was elected General Secretary of the Communist Party. Gorbachev was a young man. Gorbachev stood out with the premature aging and disintegrated top leaders in the Soviet Union. The KGB was pleased to get Gorbachev elected because they believed that he could make improvements to and improve the Soviet Union. They were unaware of the extent to which Gorbachev would alter Communism as well as that of the Soviet Union. Later, some KGB sources claimed that their biggest error was Gorbachev.
As the first president of the Soviet Union, Gorbachev announced two major policies: Perestroika as well as Glasnost.
Perestroika included reforming the economic system and opening it to market-driven forces.
Glasnost brought about changes in the political system. This included freedom of religion and individual liberty; it opened the way to democracy and the release of many political prisoners. be released. This was especially significant to those in the Eastern Block. When the eastern European economies made demands for democratic elections in the region, they were able to claim that the Soviet Union no longer stood in their way (as it was during Hungary or Czechoslovakia).
One year after he became the head of the party after his election, there was a major blast at Chornobyl nuclear power plant. The numerous failures and attempts to conceal serious safety issues only strengthened Gorbachev’s conviction of the Communist system required serious reform.
“The Chornobyl disaster, more than any other event, opened up the possibility of more freedom of speech, until the point at which the system we had as it was not able to continue. It was clear the importance of maintaining the practice of glasnost and I’m forced to admit that I began to consider the concept of time in terms of before Chornobyl and post-Chornobyl.”
“Turning point at Chernobyl”, Japan Times (21 April 2006)
On the international stage Gorbachev set out to end the arms race, he declared:
“We need Star Peace, not Star Wars.”
He established good relations with US president Ronald Reagan and especially with UK leader Margaret Thatcher. He shocked the world when he offered the world a huge concession in dismantling nukes. He is widely credited for being a key player in ending the Cold war, in both the East and the West. In the Nobel Address of June 1991, He offered an optimistic vision of how nations can cooperate to build an improved world.
“I am an optimist and I believe that together we shall be able now to make the right historical choice so as not to miss the great chance at the turn of centuries and millennia and make the current extremely difficult transition to a peaceful world order.” (Nobel Address)
In 1991, conservative military forces tried to take over Gorbachev to save his Soviet Union and Communist system. In 1991, the life of Gorbachev was in danger. The Coup failed, but upon returning to Moscow the political power was shifted to the Politburo to modernizers like Yeltsin. Gorbachev quit and did not make his return successful in Russian politics.
Raisa Maximova Gorbachev’s spouse died from Leukaemia in 1999. They had a daughter named Irina.
While he is not popular in Russia because of his involvement in the disintegration of Russia’s Soviet Union, he remains an influential voice. While he was previously a supporter of Putin in 2011, Gorbachev critiqued the third time he served in office as Russian President. He also voiced his displeasure about the lack of democratic legitimacy in the election of 2011. Gorbachev is also warning about the state of democracy in Russia. “Politics is increasingly turning into imitation democracy” and with all power coming from the Executive Branch.
Gorbachev is also warning of the possibility of a new cold war and said the argument that America along with the West should be wary when interfering in Russian matters and Russian zones of influence. In the area of economics, the president is calling for a different view of economic issues – insisting that the financial collapse of 2007 revealed the weaknesses that the “Washington Consensus” – on free market economics. Gorbachev is also the founder of an organization called the Green Cross International – one of the primary supporters of the Earth Charter – a movement to promote a greater awareness of the environment and the planet.
“We desperately need to recognize that we are the guests, not the masters, of nature and adopt a new paradigm for development, based on the costs and benefits to all people, and bound by the limits of nature herself rather than the limits of technology and consumerism.”
– M.Gorbachev, 301 Extraordinary Environmentalists (2008)
Spirituality and religion
Gorbachev has stated publicly the fact that he’s an atheist. However, Gorbachev is open to the influence of religion. He has admired the work that of St Francis from Assisi, Pope John Paul II, and has developed a relationship with his Indian spiritual mentor, Sri Chinmoy. When asked about his views, he stated:
“I believe that the universe is a part of it. We all are connected to the universe. Consider the sun. If there’s no sun, then we can’t exist. Nature has become my God. For me Nature is sacred. The trees are my temples, and the forests are my cathedrals.”
– M.Gorbachev, “Nature Is My God”
What did Mikhail Gorbachev do to make a difference in the world?
When Gorbachev was elected in 1985 there was a real risk that nuclear warfare was imminent. It was clear that the Soviet Union and the US were at odds with the rhetoric and the actions of rival leaders did not leave any doubt of the deep ideologic divide between east and west. In the Soviet Union, the Communist Party maintained totalitarian control over the country after the revolution of 1917. As of 1985, it was no chance for the immense strength and influence that was the Communist party to be challenged and even changed. Gorbachev was a fervent socialist however, he also was keen on the truth and, through his career within the Communist bureaucracy, he was aware of the limitations of the Soviet Union.
Following the Chornobyl catastrophe of 1985, Gorbachev’s determination to change Communism was afoot in earnest. His theories regarding glasnost as well as perestroika are revolutionary. Glasnost was a movement towards openness and perestroika towards freedom for individuals and transparency. It was Gorbachev who sought to release prisoners of the state and to allow more press freedom. He also initiated the transition to an economic system that was based on market forces. The changes Gorbachev initiated started to take shape and Soviet satellites in Eastern Europe gained a taste of freedom. Before, efforts to liberate from oppression in Eastern Europe (Hungary 1956, Czechoslovakia (1967) were faced by Soviet tanks and Soviet oppression. However, when borders began to fall apart in the late 80s Gorbachev did not want to resort to force against his citizens. There is a belief that the hold on the power of Soviet Communism power was weaker, but it was also weaker since Gorbachev is a unique kind of leader, one who was able to move the nation toward the direction of liberation.
In the realm of foreign policy Gorbachev often astonished the West with the ferocity and the urgency with which he advocated nuclear disarmament and a halt to the nuclear arms race. It was despite some belligerence on behalf of President Reagan. In the early 1980s, Reagan spoke of his Soviet Union as the ‘evil empire’, but after a short period, even this staunch anti-communist recognized Gorbachev as different. UK prime minister Mrs. Thatcher famously stated that “This is a person who we can do business
The fall of Communism and the liberation of the eastern part of Europe and the closing of the Cold War might all seem to be inevitable in retrospective analysis. However, a different president may not have been ready to give up power, allow press freedom, and shift the economy toward democratic principles. It wasn’t only Gorbachev to end his country’s Cold War. Others played a significant role, including Pope John Paul II, Reagan, Thatcher, Kohl, and many other ordinary people from Eastern Europe who smashed the Berlin Wall. However, Gorbachev more than anyone else was the key piece of the puzzle. It was through Gorbachev that the hold of Communism fell away and transformed the world in a way that no one else could during the 20th century.
Mikhail Gorbachev initially welcomed President Putin as a source of stability following a period of chaos. But he soon became dissatisfied, especially with Putin’s plan to suppress Russia’s Russian people. Even though he supported the annexed territory of Crimea in 2014, Gorbachev was said to an acquaintance of his to be extremely irritated by the invasion of 2022 in Ukraine that severely damaged his work.
After a lengthy illness, Mikhail Gorbachev was declared dead on August 31, 2022, aged 91.