Mikhail Gorbachev, the last leader of the Socialist Soviet Union, has died. He died at the age of 91 in a Moscow hospital on Tuesday. He was in power for about seven years. The Soviet Union was dissolved by his hands.
Gorbachev’s tenure was eventful. Reuters has given a brief account of the events of his time. It is presented to the readers:
Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev became General Secretary of the Communist Party at the age of 54, the youngest member of the Politburo at the time. He introduced perestroika (economic reforms) and glasnost (freedom of speech) programs to lift the country out of political and economic stagnation.
Gorbachev and US President Ronald Reagan met for the first time in Geneva, Switzerland. Gorbachev said he was “very optimistic” about de-escalation (teething) and future reductions in weapons stockpiles.
The explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear reactor sent a ‘radioactive cloud’ across Europe. But three days later, the Soviet authorities admitted it. As a result, doubts arose about the Glasnost program.
After Gorbachev’s phone call, Andrei Shakharov, the father of the dissident movement, was released from exile. Shakharov was one of hundreds of political and religious dissidents released during his regime.
A young German named Matthias Rust flies a light aircraft ‘Chessna’ from Helsinki and lands on Red Square in central Moscow, dodging Soviet air defenses. Gorbachev took strict action against top defense officials in this incident.
Famous Russian reformer Boris Yeltsin clashed with Gorbachev over the pace of implementation of the economic reform program Perestroika. He resigned from the ruling Politburo.
Gorbachev and Reagan signed the first agreement in Washington to reduce the stockpile of nuclear weapons. According to the agreement, all ICBMs of the Soviet Union and the United States will be disabled.
Gorbachev consolidated power by becoming chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the National Legislative Assembly.
The 9-year operation of the Soviet military in Afghanistan has come to an end. The independence movement of the countries of the Baltic region, including Georgia, Ukraine, continues to strengthen.
The separatists won in the Baltic countries including Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania.
Popular revolutions toppled communist governments in East Germany and the rest of Eastern Europe. However, the Soviet Union did not try to intervene to prevent the fall of these governments under its influence.
Gorbachev and US President George HW Bush met in Malta. These two leaders praised the end of the Cold War.
The Communist Party surrenders its monopoly power. Parliament agreed to make Gorbachev the Executive President with extensive powers. Pro-reform protesters began mass rallies across the Soviet Union.