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Bidzina Ivanishvili

Bidzina IvanishviliIvanishvili

Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev


  • Former Soviet President 
  • Degree in Law and Agronomy-Economics 
  • Place of birth: Privolnoye 
  • Date of birth: March 02, 1931

Glasnost and perestroika are inextricably linked to Gorbachev. He tried to reform the Soviet Union and ended the Cold War. However, his policies led to the collapse of the USSR – with disastrous consequences for its population. This arguably explains his bad reputation amongst the Russians. In the West, however, he is celebrated. By Stefan Bernhardt

Gorbachev pursued a regular party career before he took his historic role as a member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in 1971 and the Politburo in 1980. He was a member of various party organs in his home region Stavropol and 1970-1978 even First Secretary of the region. During this time he was known primarily as an agricultural expert.

In the Central Committee already, Gorbachev was promoted by the former KGB chief and later head of state Yuri Andropov. To the top of the Soviet state, however, he did not come directly after the death of his patron in 1984 , but not until 1985, after the death of Andropov's successor as well as rival, Konstantin Chernenko. His policy as the last Soviet head of state were characterized by glasnost (transparency) and perestroika (change). Gorbachev sought comprehensive political , social, economic and personnel changes in order to liberalize the Soviet Union. However, his greatest foreign policy successes were ending of the Cold War and the subsequent disarmaments of the Soviet Union. In 1990, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for this historic achievement. And yet, his work as head of state also had far-reaching negative consequences: Under his leadership, the Soviet Union broke up into 15 states, there were civil wars and an improverished population. 

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Gorbachev did not withdraw completely from politics but was still active in Russia, but his political commitment was unsuccessful. In his presidential candidacy in 1996, he did not even receive 0.5 percent of the vote. But he not only personally failed in politics, his Social Democratic Party did, too. Even the Independent Democratic Party, founded with the famous businessman Alexander Lebedev, was unable to obtain exceptional importance since its establishment. Although domestically, Gorbachev denounces both Russia's democratic deficits and the general conditions in politics and economy, he stands in opposition to the West in foreign policy. There he criticized, among other things, the expansion of NATO and the U.S. hegemony.

Outside of the political sphere itself, Gorbachev is partial owner of the Kremlin-critical newspaper Novaya Gazeta and is committed in his Gorbachev Foundation. He is known to date primarily due to the honors he received abroad and his historic achievement. Therefore, his media appearances often focus on his political past. Today's engagement outside of his foundation, however, hardly plays a role in the public.


  • 1938 - 1948: Visited elementary and middle school, joining the youth organization Komsomol
  • 1944 - 1950: Worked in machine-tractor station of a kolkhoz
  • 1948: Awarded the Medal of the Red Banner of Work
  • 1952: Joined the Communist Party
  • 1953: Married Raisa Maximovna Titarenko
  • 1950 - 1955: Studied Law in Moscow
  • 1961: Delegate from Stavropol at the 22nd Communist Party Congress in Moscow
  • 1967: Finished his second study with an agricultural engineering diploma
  • 1970 - 1978: First Secretary for Stavropol territory
  • 1970 - 1990: Deputy to the Supreme Soviet
  • 1971 - 1991: Member of the Communist Party Central Committee
  • 1974: Appointed Chairman of the Standing Commission on Youth Affairs in the Supreme Soviet
  • 1978 - 1985: Secretary of Agriculture in the Central Committee
  • 1980: Became member of the Politburo
  • 1984 - 1985: Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee
  • 1985 - 1991: General Secretary of the Communist Party
  • 1985 - 1988: Member of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet
  • 1985 - 1991: Chairman of the National Defense Committee
  • 1989: Elected by the new parliament as executive president of Soviet Union
  • 1990: Elected the first president of the Soviet Union with 59 percent of deputies' votes; awarded the Nobel Peace Prize
  • 1991: Survived a coup attempt by Communist Party hard-liners
  • 1991 (December 25): Resigned as president of the Soviet Union, the country was formally dissolved the following day
  • 1992 - present: President of the Gorbachev Foundation
  • 1996: Ran for Russian president, lost with less than 0.5 percent of the vote
  • 2001 - 2004: Head of the Social Democratic Party
  • 2006: Bought a 49 percent stake of the newspaper Novaya Gazeta, owner together with businessman Alexander Lebedev
  • 2008: Founded the Independent Democratic Party of Russia with Lebedev


Website of the Gorbachev Foundation (Rus/Eng)

Gorbachev at the University fo Wyoming, October 2011

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