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Mikhail Gorbachev (born on 2 March 1931) was the seventh and final General Secretary of the Soviet Union from 1985 to 1991. His efforts at reform of the socialist government of the Soviet Union, perestroika, glasnost, and demokratizatsiya produced a crisis which lead to the dissolution of the Soviet Union. He is very unpopular in Russia, they accuse them of the fall of the Soviet Union, he received just 0,18% in the presidential elections of 1996 in Russia.
He was a 1955 law graduate of the Moscow State University. While at the university, he was an active and enthusiastic participant in Komsomol and joined the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. Assigned to party work in Stavropol, he specialized in Komsomol activities and agricultural administration. A protege of Yuri Andropov, who also hailed from Stavropol, in 1979 he became a member of the Politburo. When Konstantin Chernenko, General Secretary, died in 1985 after only one year of leadership, Gorbachev was appointed General Secretary at 54.
As General Secretary, Gorbachev initiated a three pronged program of reform: perestroika, economic restructuring of the economy of the Soviet Union; glasnost, transparency and freedom of speech and the press, ending Soviet censorship; and democratization, introduction of democratic elections and deliberation in the Soviet government. By 1991, Gorbachev's reforms led to a severe crisis resulting in abrogation of the Treaty on the Creation of the USSR and dissolution of the Soviet Union and creation of the Commonwealth of Independent States at a meeting in Minsk December 8, 1991 led by Boris Yeltsin, President of the Russian Republic, with the participation of the presidents of the Ukrainian and Belorussian republics. The agreement was ratified by the remaining republics; Georgia and the Baltic republics had previously succeeded. His political office abolished, Gorbachev resigned on December 25, 1991.
- Pages 19, Robert V. Daniels, The End of the Communist Revolution, Routledge (1993), trade paperback, 222 pages, ISBN0-415-06159-4
- Pages 13 to 28, 34 to 41, Robert V. Daniels, The End of the Communist Revolution, Routledge (1993), trade paperback, 222 pages, ISBN0-415-06159-4
- Page 52, Robert V. Daniels, The End of the Communist Revolution, Routledge (1993), trade paperback, 222 pages, ISBN0-415-06159-4
- "Gorbachev on 1989" interview by Katrina vanden Heuvel and Stephen F. Cohen October 28, 2009. This article appeared in the November 16, 2009 edition of The Nation.