Moscow: Former Soviet Union leader Mikhail Gorbachev, the last of the titans in Russia who sought economic reforms through his famous ‘glasnost’ (openness) and ‘perestroika’ (reconstruction), died in a hospital in Moscow. He was 91.
Gorbachev, in power between 1985 and 1991, helped bring US-Soviet relations out of a deep freeze and was the last surviving Cold War leader.
His life was one of the most influential of his time, and his reforms as Soviet leader transformed his country and allowed Eastern Europe to free itself from Soviet rule. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for peace in 1990 which he shared with the US President then.
His death on August 30 was announced by Russian news agencies, citing the government hospital where he was being treated, but no further details were immediately available, The Washington Post reported this evening.
Gorbachev spent the twilight years of his life in and out of the hospital with increasingly fragile health and observed self-quarantine during the pandemic as a precaution against the coronavirus.
Gorbachev was regarded fondly in the West, where he was affectionately referred to as Gorby and best known for defusing US-Soviet nuclear tensions in the 1980s as well as bringing Eastern Europe out from behind the Iron Curtain.
As the USSR collapsed, Gorbachev was superseded by the younger Boris Yeltsin, who became post-Soviet Russia’s first president. From then on, Gorbachev was relegated to the sidelines, devoting himself to educational and humanitarian projects.
He made a disastrous attempt to return to politics and ran for president in 1996 but received just 0.5 percent of the vote. Over the years he saw many of his major achievements rolled back by Putin.