Mikhail Gorbachev, last leader of the USSR, is dead

Mikhaïl Gorbachev, last leader of the USSR, is dead

The former leader of the USSR Mikhail Gorbachev (archives).

Mikhail Gorbachev, the former president of the USSR who was credited with ending the Cold War without bloodshed, has died aged 91, news agencies said on Tuesday. Russian official press, quoting hospital officials.

Mikhail Gorbachev, who was criticized by his critics for the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991, entered into arms control agreements with the United States and partnerships with Western powers to lift the curtain of iron that had divided Europe since the Second World War, bringing about the reunification of Germany.

Mikhail Gorbachev died this evening following a long and serious illness, the Interfax news agency reported, citing a statement from the Russian Central Clinical Hospital.

The Kremlin spokesman, quoted by the Interfax news agency, said Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed his deep condolences.

Mikhail Gorbachev, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1990, will be buried alongside his wife Raisa, who died in 1999, in the Novodevichy cemetery in Moscow, the Tass news agency reported.

< p class="e-p">When pro-democracy demonstrations were organized in some countries of the USSR in the late 1980s, Mikhail Gorbachev refrained from using force, unlike the previous Kremlin leaders who sent tanks to crush uprisings in Hungary in 1956 and Czechoslovakia in 1968.

After he became General Secretary of the Soviet Communist Party in 1985, in By the age of 54, Mikhail Gorbachev had introduced reforms – known as perestroika and glasnost – that accelerated the collapse of the USSR.

Many Russians have never forgiven him for the consequences of these reforms, believing that the fall in their level life was too high a price to pay for democracy.

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