On This Day

Mikhail Gorbachev

Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev

Profession: Soviet General Secretary

Soviet Union

Biography: Seventh and last leader of the Soviet Union, having served as General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1985 until 1991, and as the country's head of state from 1988 until its dissolution in 1991.

His policies of glasnost (openness) and perestroika (restructuring) as well as summit conferences with United States President Ronald Reagan and his reorientation of Soviet strategic aims contributed to the end of the Cold War, removed the constitutional role of the Communist Party in governing the state, and inadvertently led to the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

Born: March 2, 1931
Birthplace: Stavropol, Russia
Age: 91 years old

Generation: Silent Generation
Chinese Zodiac: Goat/Sheep
Star Sign: Pisces

Articles and Photos

Married Life

  • 1953-09-25 Statesman Mikhail Gorbachev (22) weds Raisa Maximovna (21) at a Komsomol wedding ceremony

Historical Events

  • 1980-10-21 Mikhail Gorbachev elected member of Politburo
  • 1985-03-11 Mikhail Gorbachev replaces Konstantin Chernenko as Soviet leader
  • 1985-10-02 Russian party leader Gorbachev visits Paris (his first trip abroad)
  • 1985-11-16 President Reagan arrives in Geneva for a summit with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev
  • 1985-11-19 US President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev meet for the first time
  • 1986-10-11 Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev open talks at a summit in Reykjavik, Iceland
  • 1986-12-16 Revolt in Kazakhstan against Communist party, known as Zheltoksan, which becomes the first sign of ethnic strife during Gorbachev's tenure
  • 1987-06-12 US President Ronald Reagan challenges Mikhail Gorbachev to "tear down" the Berlin wall
  • 1987-12-07 Gorbachev arrives in US for a summit meeting
  • 1987-12-08 US President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev sign a treaty eliminating medium range nuclear missiles
  • 1988-07-29 Gorbachev pushes plan to elect a Soviet president and parliament in March 1989
  • 1988-10-01 Mikhail Gorbachev becomes Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet, effectively head of state of the Soviet Union
  • 1988-12-07 Gorbachev announces 10% unilateral Soviet troop reductions at UN
  • 1988-12-07 Mikhail Gorbachev cheered by Wall St crowds upon arrival in NYC
  • 1989-05-15 Soviet President Gorbachev visits Beijing for the 1st Sino-Soviet summit in 30 years
  • 1989-05-16 Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev and Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping meet in Beijing and formally end a 30-year rift
  • 1989-05-25 Mikhail Gorbachev elected Executive President in the Soviet Union
  • 1989-12-01 USSR President Mikhail Gorbachev meets Pope John Paul II at the Vatican
  • 1989-12-03 Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev and US President George H. W. Bush, declare the Cold War over
  • 1990-01-22 President Mikhail Gorbachev sends Red Troops into the Soviet republic of Azerbaijan
  • 1990-03-14 Mikhail Gorbachev becomes president of the Soviet Congress
  • 1990-10-15 Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev wins the Nobel Peace Prize
  • 1990-11-26 Mikhail Gorbachev tells Iraq to get out of Kuwait
  • 1991-03-19 Gorbachev says the Soviet Union will cut its oil exports by nearly half
  • 1991-06-05 Mikhail Gorbachev receives his 1990 Nobel Peace Prize
  • 1991-08-19 Conservative members of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union attempt to depose Mikhail Gorbachev in a coup d'├ętat
  • 1991-08-24 Mikhail Gorbachev resigns as head of USSR Communist Party
  • 1991-12-25 Mikhail Gorbachev formally resigns as President of USSR in a televised speech
  • 2014-11-08 Mikhail Gorbachev warns that tensions between America and Russia over Ukraine have put the world on the brink of a new Cold War

Quotes by Mikhail Gorbachev

  • "If what you have done yesterday still looks big to you, you haven't done much today."

Biographies and Sources

Famous Soviet Leaders