“Politicians still think things can be done through force, but that cannot solve terrorism. Backwardness is the breeding ground of terror, and that is what we have to fight.”

–Mikhail Gorbachev

 

On 15th March 1990, Mikhail Gorbachev was elected the President of the Soviet Union, becoming the first and only occupant of the office. Previous to this, the office of the Premier held the highest power in the USSR.

Gorbachev was a Russian Communist leader who served as the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, and was a key figure in Soviet politics leading to the end of the Cold War. Gorbachev introduced significant economic and political reforms, such as ‘glasnost’, meaning “openness” in relation to freedom of speech and press, and ‘perestroika’, referring to the “restructuring” of economic policy. Gorbachev’s pro-democratic leadership played a vital role in evolution of Eastern European politics, and ultimately led to the fall of the Berlin War.

Gorbachev stayed in the Presidential office until the 1991 coup attempt that led to the eventual dismantling of the USSR.