Mikhail Gorbachev was a Soviet-era political leader famous for his role in the termination of the Cold War and the collapse of the Berlin Wall, which paved the way for the rejoining of East and West Germany. He orchestrated reforms called “perestroika” and “glasnost” that caused cracks in the Soviet Union, liberating 15 nations of the system and leading to the collapse of the USSR in 1991.
Gorbachev was the first and last presient of the USSR and sought to reform the Communist Party and the country’s economy. He introduced transparency, restructuring, democratization and expedited economic growth. Under his reign, Russia developed technologically to increase productivity and control wastage.
Gorbachev’s reform agenda in 1989 allowed Andrei Sakharov, the most famous dissident and nuclear scientist of the Soviet Union, to return from forced exile. He allowed formerly banned books and films back into literary circles. His regime saw more Russians begin to travel to the West.
From a tender age, Gorbachev showed extraordinary organizational skills and was inclined towards politics. In 1947, he become famous at the age of 16 for helping his father, who operated a combine harvester, harvest a record yield on a collective farm. He became one of the youngest provincial chiefs of the Communist Party in 1970, and in 1979 he became the youngest member of Politburo.