- 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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Unfortunately, U.S.-Soviet relations took a major hit when the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant exploded in the Ukraine on April 26, 1986. The Soviet Union failed to release a full report until more than two weeks after the event. In light of Gorbachev’s policy of “openness,” some considered his reaction hypocritical.
During the 1985 and October 1986 summits,
the resulting strain on Gorbachev’s relationship with Reagan was apparent. The two disagreed over whether to do away with or continue developing the Strategic Defense Initiative, with Gorbachev leaning toward the latter. Both summits ended in stalemates. At the end of 1987, Gorbachev gave in to Reagan’s argument. At this point, the Soviet Union’s economy was in crisis. Gorbachev’s economic reforms weren’t working. In 1987, Gorbachev and Reagan signed the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, the first-ever mutual agreement on nuclear weapons reduction. The Soviet Union welcomed some desperately needed relief from the expenses of the space race.
Included among Gorbachev’s key political reforms was a new, more democratic election system. In 1989, he organized elections that required Communist Party members to run against nonparty members. He revoked the Communist Party’s special status as set forth in the USSR’s constitution. State power was handed over to the Congress of People’s Duties of the USSR, the Soviet Union’s first parliament, based on democratic elections. On March 15, 1990, the Congress of People’s Duties elected Gorbachev the first president of the Soviet Union.
During his presidency, Gorbachev promoted more peaceful international relations. He ordered Soviet troops to withdraw from Afghanistan. Through his peaceful negotiations with President Reagan, Gorbachev was also instrumental in ending the Cold War. He is likewise credited for his crucial role in the fall of the Berlin Wall and subsequent reunification of Germany. For his excellent leadership and his contributions to the overall betterment of world development, Gorbachev was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on October 15, 1990.
In addition to fielding conflicts with other nations, Gorbachev tackled pressing issues within the Soviet Union. Different ethnic groups within the USSR had begun to wage war against one another, while other groups, such as Ukrainians and Lithuanians, demanded that they become independent nations. As Gorbachev was grappling with these fractures, along with a still flailing Soviet economy, a new rival leader came on the scene. Boris Yeltsin, a former Communist Party member, emphasized radical changes to the economy. In the summer of 1991, Yeltsin was voted president of the Russian Republic. Gorbachev now faced the problem of how to balance the shared power between him and the opposing leader.
In August 1991, while Gorbachev was vacationing in the Crimea, Communist conservatives captured him in a coup to seize power. Ironically, among the Communist Party conservatives who organized the coup was Prime Minister Pavlov, whom Gorbachev had hired to help him balance power with Yeltsin.
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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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Through the funding of Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel, the world's most renowned prize series was born; historically, Nobel Prizes have been awarded to individuals who confer "the greatest benefit on mankind." Examine this group to learn more about some of the world's most famous Nobel Prize winners, including Nelson Mandela, Albert Einstein, Al Gore, Ernest Hemingway, Martin Luther King Jr., Gertrude B. Elion, Barack Obama and Marie Curie.
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