Born on 02 March 1931
Born in Privolnoye, Stavropol
Nobel Peace Prize (1990)
Mikhail Gorbachev is a former President of the erstwhile USSR who served as the last general secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1986 to 1991 and was also the last head of state of the USSR. He served as the head of state of the USSR from 1988 until 1991, when it fell down. He was also the last head of the state of the USSR. The leader is praised for his role in world peace process ending the long time cold war and also the political supremacy of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in Russia. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1990 for his contribution in the peace process. At present, Mikhail Gorbachev is the leader of the 'Union of the Social-Democrats', major political partly formed aftermath of the disintegration of the Social Democratic party of Russia.
Mikhail Gorbachev was born on 2 March 1931 in Privolnoye, Stavropol Krai. He had a very tough childhood under the Totalitarian leadership of Joseph Stalin. His grandfather was sentenced to nine years prison for withdrawing grain from collective’s harvest. He saw tough times during the World War II, during which Stavropol was occupied by German troops in 1942. Though they left by the next year, it left a scar on his young mind. From 1946 to 1950, he worked as an assistant combine harvest operator at the collective farms in his area, where State quotas and taxes on private plots increased the hardship of peasant labor.
Mikhail, as a student, had an excellent academic record throughout. After leaving school at the age of 16, he was awarded the ‘Order of the Red Banner of Labor’ in 1947, for helping his father harvest a record crop on his collective farm. This, coupled with his intelligence helped him secure a place at the Moscow University in 1950, where he studied law. While in Moscow, he became a candidate member of the Communist Party of Soviet Union in the same year. After graduating in June 1955, he worked in the Prokuratura (Soviet State Procuracy) before transferring to the Komsomol or Communist Union of Youth. Gorbachev married Raisa Maksimovna Titarenko on 25 September 1953. Later their first child, a girl was born on 6 January 1957. He became the First Secretary of the Stavropol City Komsomol Committee in 1956 and later moved up to the Stavropol Krai Komsomol Committee, where he worked as secondary Secretary from April 1958 and as First Secretary from March 1961.
In 1963, Gorbachev was promoted to Head of the Department of Party Organs in the Stavropol Agricultural Kraikom. In 1970, he was appointed First party Secretary of the Stavropol Kraikom. In this position, he helped to reorganize the collective farms; improved worker’s living condition and expand the size of their private plots.It was certain that his effective work made him a member of the Central Committee in 1971. In 1974, he was made a Representative to the Supreme Soviet and the Chairman of the Standing Commission on Youth Affairs after leading a Soviet delegation to Belgium in 1972. His career moved upward very fast and he was subsequently elected to the Central Committee’s secretariat for Agriculture in 1978. In 1980, Gorbachev full membership of the Politburo.
CPSU and Domestic Reforms (1985-1989)
Mikhail Gorbachev was elected General Secretary of the Communist Party on 11 March 1985 and during the period of 1985 to 1989 he implemented several economic reforms that he hoped would improve the stagnating state economy and working productivity. The first major reform under Gorbachev was Alcohol reform that was planned to fight the alcoholism in the Soviet Union. Prices of vodka, beer and wines were increased and the sales were restricted. Drinking in public paces was banned and many famous wineries were destroyed. The reform it failed to bring much difference to alcoholism in the country, the purpose it was intended at. But it was a serious blow to the state budget causing a huge loss. In the opinion of some historians the pace of reforms was too slow because of the blockage of information by the Conservatives.
In 1888, Gorbachev introduced Glasnost, meaning greater freedom of speech. Press became far less controlled and a number of prisoners were released. It was a radical change on odds with the previous policy of suppression of criticism and control of speech that has been a central part of the Soviet System. He opened himself and his reforms up for public criticism with this reform hoping that through debate and public participation the Soviet people would support his reforms initiatives. The Law on Cooperatives came in May 1988 that permitted private ownership of businesses, manufacturing and foreign-trade sectors. Domestic reforms did not succeed because of the increasing divergence between the Reformists, who were not happy with the pace of reforms and the Conservatives, who were unhappy with the extent of the changes. On 15 March 1990, Gorbachev was elected as the first executive President of the Soviet Union.
During his tenure Mikhail Gorbachev established close relationships with several west leaders such as U.S. President Ronald Reagan and British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. On 8 April 1985, he announced the suspension of the deployment of SS-20s in Europe as a move towards resolving the intermediate-range nuclear weapons (INF) issues. In the same year, he proposed that the Soviets and Americans both cut their nuclear arsenals in half. In November, Geneva Summit took place between Gorbachev and Reagan. In November 1988, Gorbachev announced full withdrawal of Soviet forces from Afghanistan. However he was criticized for taking too long to reach the decision. The policy of No-intervention in the affairs of other states (Warsaw Pact) proved to be the most momentous of Gorbachev’s foreign policy reforms.
Collapse of Soviet Union
While Gorbachev’s political initiatives were positive for freedom and democracy of the Soviet Union, the economic policy of his government brought the country close to disaster. By the end of 1980s, there were severe shortages of basic food supplies that led to a limited supply of food distributed to every citizen. Apart from it, the democratization of the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe had undermined the power of the CPSU and Gorbachev himself. Freedom of speech and the relaxation of censorship had re-awakened the nationalist anti-Russian feelings in the Soviet Union and led to the riots, named Jeltoqsan, in December 1986. Violence erupted at many places and amid all these election to the Congress of People’s Deputies took place in 1989. Apart from this violence, three major events took place in 1989. Estonia had declared independence in November, 1988, to be followed by Lithuania in May 1989 and by Latvia in July and finally Eastern Bloc collapsed in the autumn of 1989. 1990 began with the nationalist turmoil in January. The COSU began to loose even more power with Gorbachev’s deepened political reforms. The Congress of People’s Deputies amended the Soviet Constitution in March, removing the article 6, which guaranteed the monopoly of CPSU.
The August Coup and Final Collapse
Hardliners were opposed to anything, which might lead to the break up of Soviet Union, and launched the August Coup in 1991 in an attempt to remove Gorbachev from power and prevent the signing of the new union treaty. They called themselves the State Emergency Committee and were still string within the CPSU and military establishment. Gorbachev was house arrested in Crimea for 3 days (19, 20 and 21 August), before being freed and restored to power. Meanwhile things had changed and the support was shifted to Yelstin, whose defiance had led to the coup’s collapse.
After his return to power, he was forced to fire a number of people, who were his former ally or promoted by him. Between 21 August and 22 September, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Ukraine, Georgia and a number of other countries declared their independence and CPSU was ordered to suspend its activities on the territory of Russia. Gorbachev resigned as General Secretary of the CPSU on 24 August and advised the Central Committee to dissolve. Congress of People’s Deputies dissolved itself on 5 September. Gorbachev agreed with Yelstin on 17 December, to dissolve the Soviet Union and resigned on 25 December. The Soviet Union was formally dissolved the next day.
Activities after Resignation
He remained active in Russian politics after his resignation and collapse of The Soviet Union. Following his failed run for the Presidency in1996, he founded the Social Democratic party of Russia and eventually resigned from the party after a dispute with the party’s chairman. Later Gorbachev founded a new party Union of Social-Democrats. In September 2008, Gorbachev has announced to make a come back to the Russian politics. In 1990, Mikhail Gorbachev was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his leading role in the peace process.
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