Mikhail Gorbachev Biography

Mikhail Gorbachev was the architect of glasnost and perestroika. It was through his reforms that the grip of Communism was loosened in Eastern Europe. Through his vision, millions are now able to enjoy both political and religious freedom, that was previously denied them. Gorbachev, is not always given credit for the end of the cold war and the transformation of Communist society. However, when he came to power in 1981, there seemed little chance of the Communist party loosing its grip on power. Like Soviet leaders before him, Gorbachev, could have used his power for his own ends. However, he felt the necessity for both political and economic reform.

Very carefully, Gorbachev began dismantling the hold of the Communist party and allowing greater freedom of thought and belief. When eastern European countries announced their desire to leave the Communist block. Gorbachev did not send in tanks, like Prague 1956, instead he gave the transition his blessing. The Cold war had led the world perilously close to nuclear conflict. However, under Gorbachev the Soviet Union made real strides to reduce the arms race, through the negotiation of arms reduction treaties. By moving from a Communist dictatorship, to economic and political freedom the ideological divide between east and west narrowed, allowing an unprecedented decline in suspicion and hostility. Gorbachev will be remembered for his key role in bringing an end to the great divide between east and West, symbolised by the collapse of the Berlin wall; Gorbachev enabled a new era for both the Soviet Union and the world.

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