Significant Men: Gorbachev.
He Changed Our World.
Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev born in 1931. He changed and maybe saved the world in which we live today. Gorbachev dismantled the Soviet Union and brought about an end to Soviet Russia. He organised moves towards reforms in Eastern Europe, the ending of the Cold War and of course the demolition of the Berlin Wall. He brought East and West closer together and the world is a better place for his efforts.
A boy to a man.
Gorbachev was born into a peasant family in Southern Russia. He was a young boy of ten years old when World War II started, the Germans invaded and the events he saw left a lasting impression on him. As a young man he studied law in Moscow. It was here that he met and married his wife Raisa. He joined the Communist Party and spent the next twenty five years working hard and rising through the ranks. In 1979 Gorbachev joined the Politburo, the ruling body of the USSR. ( Union of Soviet Socialist Republics ). In March 1985 he became the general secretary and leader of the Soviet Unioin.
He set about making changes and two Russian words became known worldwide; glasnost (openness) and perestroika ( re-structuring ). He encouraged trade and economic ties with western countries and despite political opposition reform at home. During this time Gorbachev was meeting with and negotiating nuclear arms reduction treaties with the US President Reagan. The Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986 concentrated minds with the Russian opposition. They realised the need for the modernisation of and the danger from, their ageing nuclear facilities and weapons. Gorbachev of course had forseen these events and his Leadership was recognised.
Other changes were to follow. In 1988 Gorbachev pulled the Soviet troops from Afghanistan. He relinquished full Soviet control over East European affairs. Countries of the Eastern Bloc were allowed to carry out their own policies and decisions. Generally peaceful revolution encouraged democratic reform throughout Eastern Europe. At home there was still a modicum of opposition to these reforms, the West was more than pleased with Gorbachevs actions, as slowly the Cold War began to come to an end. Appreciation of his efforts came in 1990 when he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
Freedom and change.
National identity began to rise amongs the smaller countries of the East; Azerbaijan, Ukraine and the Baltic States decided that they wished to leave the Soviet Union and stand alone. Nationalism was also on the rise in the Soviet Union itself. There was a nationalist coup which failed, but internal strife brought about the downfall of the Soviet Union anyway. The constituents of the Union declared their independence. Gorbachev tried to bring about a democratic union, but to no avail. On Christmas Day, 1991 he stood down. The next day Boris Yeltsin became the President of newly formed Russian Federation,thus ending 74 years of Communist rule.
A respected world statesman.
So what has happened since. The reforms Gorbachev implemented have not gone the way he would have hoped, but things are far better than they were. It has to be said that he was one of the greatest leaders of his time. Because of his actions, the world is without doubt a safer and more friendly place. Today Gorbachev strides the world stage as a statesman. His views are sought by the Leaders of today and the calls upon his time are many. His actions should not be forgotten.
© 2012 Graham Lee