Mikhail Gorbachev, Final Leader of the U.S.S.R., Dies at 91

Mikhail Gorbachev, Final Leader of the U.S.S.R., Dies at 91

Andrew Ballan

Mikhail Gorbachev, the final leader of the Soviet Union, died on Tuesday, August 30th, 2022, during a routine hemodialysis at the Moscow Central Clinical Hospital. He had been suffering with kidney issues for the last three months and his diabetes deteoritated his health slowly and painfully. No specific cause of death has been released¹.

Born in southwestern Russia, the leader studied law at Moscow State University in 1952 and, shortly after, joined the Communist Party. Gorbachev’s first step to power was becoming the General Secretary of the Communist Party in 1985, where his influence only increased rapidly from Chairman of the Presidium of the U.S.S.R. in 1988, to Chairman of the Supreme Soviet in 1989, and finally the President of the Soviet Union in 1990².

Perhaps what Gorbachev was most known for is best summarized in the infamous line of Former President Ronald Reagan’s “Berlin Wall Speech” given in a divided Berlin, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.” The Berlin Wall came to symbolize the Cold War and its tense ridges between the U.S.S.R. and the United States, along with its allies. The pounds of the sledgehammers of the citizens of both East and West Berlin on the Iron Curtain were heard around the world in 1989 as it was coming down; the symbol of division being reduced to slag not only represented a new forthcoming of peace and unification but the start of the collapse of the U.S.S.R. During the historic event, Gorbachev stood by, and later praised the unification.

Merely a year following, he became a Nobel Laureate of Peace for, according to the Nobel Prize organization, “[…]the leading role he played in the radical changes in East-West relations.”³ Gorbachev diversion of the U.S.S.R.’s funding from defense to civil matters was among the various accolades that the Nobel Prize Committee expressed. Though he inherited a country of suppression and isolation, he dedicated his later life to unify the world’s major influences once more. Yet, in a bitter unfortunate twist, during Gorbachev’s final months, current Russian President Vladmir Putin’s inhumane invasion of Ukraine is underway, trying to reclaim the independent country as a buffer state between Europe and Russia. This being said, it appears Mikhail Gorbachev’s dream is unfinished and will require what only the world can hope to be miracles to reinstate a sturdy alliance between the current first-world nations.


¹: https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-62732447

²: https://www.britannica.com/biography/Mikhail-Gorbachev

³: https://www.nobelprize.org/prizes/peace/1990/gorbachev/facts/