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Gorbachev At 85

Former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev turned 85 on March 2, 2016. His years in office brought the end of the Cold War, while at home his twin policies of perestroika (restructuring) and glasnost (openness) changed the Soviet Union -- and ended with its demise.


Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev speaks during a presentation of his new book, Gorbachev In Life, on February 29, 2016. Gorbachev said: "The more I think about my life, the more I see that the biggest and most important events took place unexpectedly."
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Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev speaks during a presentation of his new book, Gorbachev In Life, on February 29, 2016. Gorbachev said: "The more I think about my life, the more I see that the biggest and most important events took place unexpectedly."

A much younger Gorbachev leads a Communist Party delegation in Stavropol on June 10, 1966. It was in Stavropol that he began his party career.
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A much younger Gorbachev leads a Communist Party delegation in Stavropol on June 10, 1966. It was in Stavropol that he began his party career.

Gorbachev (third from right) at the celebration of the revolution in Stavropol, in the 1960s
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Gorbachev (third from right) at the celebration of the revolution in Stavropol, in the 1960s

His first meeting with U.S. President Ronald Reagan, in Geneva, on November 19, 1985
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His first meeting with U.S. President Ronald Reagan, in Geneva, on November 19, 1985

With his wife, Raisa, and British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher on December 16, 1984
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With his wife, Raisa, and British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher on December 16, 1984

With Cuban President Fidel Castro in the Kremlin on March 2, 1986
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With Cuban President Fidel Castro in the Kremlin on March 2, 1986

Reagan and Gorbachev sign the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty in the East Room of the White House on December 8, 1987.
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Reagan and Gorbachev sign the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty in the East Room of the White House on December 8, 1987.

Gorbachev listens to Thatcher speak during a news conference outside 10 Downing Street in London on April 6, 1989.
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Gorbachev listens to Thatcher speak during a news conference outside 10 Downing Street in London on April 6, 1989.

The kiss of death: Gorbachev embraces East German leader Erich Honecker after arriving in East Berlin for ceremonies marking the 40th anniversary of the founding of the GDR on October 6, 1989. A month later, the Berlin Wall collapsed as East Germans flooded to the West.
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The kiss of death: Gorbachev embraces East German leader Erich Honecker after arriving in East Berlin for ceremonies marking the 40th anniversary of the founding of the GDR on October 6, 1989. A month later, the Berlin Wall collapsed as East Germans flooded to the West.

Gorbachev and his foreign minister, Eduard Shevardnadze, meet West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl and Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher to discuss the terms of German reunification on July 15, 1990.
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Gorbachev and his foreign minister, Eduard Shevardnadze, meet West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl and Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher to discuss the terms of German reunification on July 15, 1990.

Czechoslovak President Vaclav Havel shakes hands with Gorbachev as they exchange documents on the withdrawal of Soviet troops in Moscow on February 26, 1990.
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Czechoslovak President Vaclav Havel shakes hands with Gorbachev as they exchange documents on the withdrawal of Soviet troops in Moscow on February 26, 1990.

Gorbachev casts his ballot in Moscow on March 17, 1991, in a referendum to decide whether the Soviet Union would remain a unified state or not.
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Gorbachev casts his ballot in Moscow on March 17, 1991, in a referendum to decide whether the Soviet Union would remain a unified state or not.

U.S. President George Bush and Gorbachev exchange pens after signing the historic Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), which cut the superpowers' nuclear arsenals by up to one-third, in Moscow on July 31, 1991.  
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U.S. President George Bush and Gorbachev exchange pens after signing the historic Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), which cut the superpowers' nuclear arsenals by up to one-third, in Moscow on July 31, 1991.
 

A moment of humiliation: Following the failed coup against him, Gorbachev is forced by Russian President Boris Yeltsin to read out a list of plotters at an extraordinary session of the Russian Supreme Soviet in Moscow on August 23, 1991.  
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A moment of humiliation: Following the failed coup against him, Gorbachev is forced by Russian President Boris Yeltsin to read out a list of plotters at an extraordinary session of the Russian Supreme Soviet in Moscow on August 23, 1991.

 

Gorbachev speaking to Russian President Vladimir Putin at a news conference in Schleswig, Germany, on December 21, 2004. Gorbachev has criticized Putin for rolling back democracy in Russia.
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Gorbachev speaking to Russian President Vladimir Putin at a news conference in Schleswig, Germany, on December 21, 2004. Gorbachev has criticized Putin for rolling back democracy in Russia.

With German Chancellor Angela Merkel at an exhibition marking Gorbachev's 80th birthday at the Kennedy Museum in Berlin on February 24, 2011. 
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With German Chancellor Angela Merkel at an exhibition marking Gorbachev's 80th birthday at the Kennedy Museum in Berlin on February 24, 2011. 

Nobel Peace Laureates (left to right) Lech Walesa, Mikhail Gorbachev, Frederik Willem de Klerk, and Jimmy Carter at a panel discussion at the University of Illinois in Chicago on April 23, 2012. 
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Nobel Peace Laureates (left to right) Lech Walesa, Mikhail Gorbachev, Frederik Willem de Klerk, and Jimmy Carter at a panel discussion at the University of Illinois in Chicago on April 23, 2012. 

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