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Mikhail Gorbachev

Last President of the Soviet Union (1985-1991), Nobel Prize Winner

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Mikhail Gorbachev is one of the most important political figures in the second half of the 20th century. He was a soviet official, general secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) from 1985 to 1991 and president of the Soviet Union in 1990–91. His efforts to democratize his country’s political system and decentralize its economy led to the downfall of communism and the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991. Gorbachev was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1990 for, amongst other reasons, endeding the Soviet Union’s postwar domination of eastern Europe.

“If not me, who? And if not now, when?”

Gorbachev was member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in 1971. He was appointed a Party Secretary of agriculture in 1978. He became a candidate member of the Politburo in 1979 and a full member in 1980. His primary domestic goal was to resuscitate the stagnant Soviet economy. To this end, he called for rapid technological modernization and increased worker productivity, and he tried to make the cumbersome Soviet bureaucracy more efficient and responsive.

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