1931-2022: Mikhail Gorbachev, Last Soviet Leader Who Ended Cold War, Dies Aged 91

Moscow: Mikhail Gorbachev, the last Soviet President who ended the Cold War but whose policies also led to the break-up of the Soviet Union, died on Tuesday. He was 91.

“Mikhail Gorbachev passed away tonight after a serious and protracted disease,” said Russia’s Central Clinical Hospital, according to Reuters.

Gorbachev, who was in power between 1985 and 1991 and was the last surviving Cold War leader, brought the Soviet Union closer to the West than at any point since World War II.

Lionised in the West, he won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1990.

But President Vladimir Putin called the break-up of the Soviet Union the “greatest geopolitical catastrophe” of the twentieth century and said in 2018 that he would reverse the Soviet Union’s disintegration if he could.

Although his relationship with Putin was difficult, the Russian President expressed his “deepest condolences” after Gorbachev’s death.

Paying tribute, US President Joe Biden said he had believed in “glasnost and perestroika — openness and restructuring — not as mere slogans, but as the path forward for the people of the Soviet Union after so many years of isolation and deprivation”, Reuters reported.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Gorbachev’s “tireless commitment to opening up Soviet society remains an example to us all”.

French President Emmanuel Macron praised him as a “man of peace whose choices opened up a path of liberty for Russians. His commitment to peace in Europe changed our shared history”.

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