- NAME: Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev
- OCCUPATION: World Leader, Government Official
- BIRTH DATE: March 02, 1931 (Age: 83)
- EDUCATION: Moscow State University
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Privolnoye, Russia
- Full Name: Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev
- AKA: Mikhail Gorbachev
- AKA: Gorbachev
- AKA: Gorbachov
- AKA: Mikhail Sergeevich Gorbachev
- ZODIAC SIGN: Pisces
Best Known For
Mikhail Gorbachev was the first president of the Soviet Union, serving from 1990 to 1991. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace for contributing to the break-up of the USSR.
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Mikhail Gorbachev was born on March 2, 1931, in Privolnoye, Russia. In 1961, he became a delegate to the Communist Party Congress. He was elected general secretary in 1985. He became the first president of the Soviet Union in 1990, and won the Nobel Prize for Peace that same year. He resigned in 1991, and has since founded the Gorbachev Foundation and remains active in social and political causes.
"If not me, who? And if not now, when?"
Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev was born on March 2, 1931, to a Russian-Ukrainian family in the village of Privolnoye, in the Krasnogvardeisky District near the Stavropol Territory of southern Russia.
Gorbachev’s parents were peasants. His father, Sergei, operated a combine harvester for a living. Sergei was drafted into the Russian Army when the Nazis invaded the USSR in 1941. Three years later, he was wounded in action and returned home to resume operating farm machinery. Sergei passed on his experience with a combine harvester to his young son, Mikhail. Mikhail Gorbachev was a quick learner and showed an aptitude for mechanics.
As a teenager, Gorbachev contributed to the family’s income by driving tractors at a local machine station. So hard a worker was he that, by the age of 17, Gorbachev was the youngest ever to win the Order of the Red Banner of Labor for his active role in bringing in that year’s bumper crop. Gorbachev’s mother, Maria, exemplified this tireless work ethic with her lifelong toil on a collective farm.
The political climate during Mikhail Gorbachev’s upbringing was turbulent. In the 1930s, when Gorbachev was still very young, he suffered the trauma of seeing his maternal grandfather, Pantelei Gopkalo, arrested during the Great Purge. Gopkalo was accused of being a Trotskyite counterrevolutionary and was imprisoned and tortured for 14 months. To his family’s great relief, he was spared execution.
The economic climate during Mikhail Gorbachev’s childhood was also one of turmoil. In 1933, southern Russia endured a major drought. Since the region depended on farming for both food and income, its residents suffered from famine, and many died of starvation.
As a child, Gorbachev had a passion for learning. When he graduated from high school with a silver medal in 1950, his father persuaded him to continue on to university. Gorbachev’s academic record was stellar, and he was accepted into Moscow University, the premier school in the Soviet Union, without having to take the entrance exam. The university even provided him with free living accommodations at a nearby hostel. Gorbachev graduated from Moscow University cum laude with a law degree in 1955 and shortly afterward returned to his hometown with his new wife, Raisa, a fellow Moscow University alumnus.
Gorbachev had become a candidate member of the Communist party while he was in high school, but it wasn’t until 1952, when he was at Moscow University, that he was granted full membership.
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When Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel died in 1896, he left his fortune to create an annual series of prizes for the individuals who confer "the greatest benefit on mankind." The most prestigious of the awards is the Nobel Peace Prize. Historians believe Alfred Nobel wanted to award people who work for peace to compensate for his own role in inventing dynamite. Since its establishment, the prize has gone to many courageous individuals who have fought for peace and human rights around the world.
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