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Mikhail Gorbachev dead at 91: Final leader of the Soviet Union allowed 'glasnost' free speech, helped end the Cold War and bring down the Iron Curtain - but then saw his own superpower crumble

Gorbachev won the 1990 Nobel Peace Prize for his role in ending the Cold War and spent his later years collecting accolades and awards from all corners of the world. 

  • Mikhail Gorbachev - the last leader of the Soviet Union - has died in a Moscow hospital aged 91
  • Gorbachev helped bring the Cold War to an end and failed to prevent the collapse of the USSR
  • Under his rule, the Iron Curtain which had divided Europe since the Second World War disintegrated
  • He became general secretary of the Soviet Communist Party in 1985 committed to reforming the system  
  • But many Russians never forgave Gorbachev for the turmoil his liberalising reforms unleashed
  • Ronald Reagan and Gorbachev at the historic 1986 summit in Reykjavik, Iceland

Daily Mail (UK), 

Mikhail Gorbachev - the last leader of the USSR whose failure to prevent the collapse of the Soviet Union after the Cold War is despised by Russian nationalists including Vladimir Putin - has died at the age of 91, Russian news agencies cited hospital officials as saying.

The Central Clinical Hospital in Moscow said that the former Soviet leader died 'after a serious and long illness' but gave no other details, according to the Interfax, TASS and RIA Novosti news agencies. 

Gorbachev had been suffering from long term kidney problems and was on dialysis - and had been confined to a clinic during the Covid pandemic.

Though in power less than seven years, Gorbachev unleashed a series of reforms that resulted in breathtaking changes, including the reunification of Germany, the collapse of Stalin's empire, the liberation of Eastern European nations including Poland, Ukraine and the Baltic republics from decades of Russian domination, and the end of the nuclear confrontation with the West.

In a statement, Putin's spin doctors said the Russian President - who has called the collapse of the USSR the 'greatest geopolitical catastrophe' of the 20th century and a 'major humanitarian tragedy' - expresses 'deep sympathies' over Gorbachev's death. Other world leaders including Prime Minister Boris Johnson and EU chiefs hailed the former Soviet general secretary as 'trusted and respected'.