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Gorbachev Presents New Book

Mikhail Gorbachev at the presentation of his new book.

Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev has presented a new book about his life ahead of his 85th birthday.

In presenting the book in Moscow on February 29, Gorbachev said: "The more I think about my life, the more I see that the biggest and most important events took place unexpectedly."

He said he hopes the book will help Russians understand their current history.

The book, called Gorbachev In Life, is a collection of memoirs, interviews, letters, articles, and other documents.

Gorbachev, who turns 85 on March 2, emerged as general secretary of the Communist Party and leader of the Soviet Union in 1985.

He introduced the policies of glasnost (openness) and perestroika (restructuring) aimed at allowing greater openness and reform in the communist country.

Instead, he presided over the collapse of Communism in Eastern Europe and oversaw the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991.

Based on reporting by AP and TASS