Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev (born 2 March 1931) is a Russian and former Soviet politician. The eighth and last leader of the Soviet Union, he was the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1985 until 1991. He was also the country's head of state from 1988 until 1991, serving as the chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet from 1988 to 1989, chairman of the Supreme Soviet from 1989 to 1990, and president of the Soviet Union from 1990 to 1991. Ideologically, Gorbachev initially adhered to Marxism–Leninism, although he had moved towards social democracy by the early 1990s.Of mixed Russian and Ukrainian heritage, Gorbachev was born in Privolnoye, Stavropol Krai, to a poor peasant family. Growing up under the rule of Joseph Stalin, in his youth he operated combine harvesters on a collective farm before joining the Communist Party, which then governed the Soviet Union as a one-party state according to Marxist–Leninist doctrine. While studying at Moscow State University, he married fellow student Raisa Titarenko in 1953 prior to receiving his law degree in 1955. Moving to Stavropol, he worked for the Komsomol youth organization and, after Stalin's death, became a keen proponent of the de-Stalinization reforms of Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev. He was appointed the First Party Secretary of the Stavropol Regional Committee in 1970, in which position he oversaw construction of the Great Stavropol Canal. In 1978 he returned to Moscow to become a Secretary of the party's Central Committee and in 1979 joined its governing Politburo. Within three years of the death of Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev, following the brief regimes of Yuri Andropov and Konstantin Chernenko, the Politburo elected Gorbachev as General Secretary, the de facto head of government, in 1985.Although committed to preserving the Soviet state and to its socialist ideals, Gorbachev believed significant reform was necessary, particularly after the 1986 Chernobyl disaster. He withdrew from the Soviet–Afghan War and embarked on summits with United States President Ronald Reagan to limit nuclear weapons and end the Cold War. Domestically, his policy of glasnost ("openness") allowed for enhanced freedom of speech and press, while his perestroika ("restructuring") sought to decentralize economic decision making to improve efficiency. His democratization measures and formation of the elected Congress of People's Deputies undermined the one-party state. Gorbachev declined to intervene militarily when various Eastern Bloc countries abandoned Marxist–Leninist governance in 1989–90. Internally, growing nationalist sentiment threatened to break up the Soviet Union, leading Marxist–Leninist hardliners to launch the unsuccessful August Coup against Gorbachev in 1991. In the wake of this, the Soviet Union dissolved against Gorbachev's wishes and he resigned. After leaving office, he launched his Gorbachev Foundation, became a vocal critic of Russian Presidents Boris Yeltsin and Vladimir Putin, and campaigned for Russia's social-democratic movement.Widely considered one of the most significant figures of the second half of the 20th century, Gorbachev remains the subject of controversy. The recipient of a wide range of awards, including the Nobel Peace Prize, he was widely praised for his pivotal role in ending the Cold War, curtailing human rights abuses in the Soviet Union, and tolerating both the fall of Marxist–Leninist administrations in eastern and central Europe and the reunification of Germany. Conversely, he is often derided in Russia for not stopping the Soviet collapse, an event which brought a decline in Russia's global influence and precipitated an economic crisis.
Reaching an adult height of 5 foot 9 inches (1.75 m), Gorbachev has a distinctive port-wine stain on the top of his head. By 1955 his hair was thinning, and by the late 1960s he was bald. Throughout the 1960s he struggled against obesity and dieted to control the problem; Doder and Branson characterized him as "stocky but not fat". He speaks in a southern Russian accent, and is known to sing both folk and pop songs.Throughout his life, he tried to dress fashionably. Having an aversion to hard liquor, he drank sparingly and did not smoke. He was protective of his private life and avoided inviting people to his home.Gorbachev cherished his wife, who in turn was protective of him.He was an involved parent and grandparent. He sent his daughter, his only child, to a local school in Stavropol rather than to a school set aside for the children of party elites. Unlike many of his contemporaries in the Soviet administration, he was not a womanizer and was known for treating women respectfully.Gorbachev was baptized Russian Orthodox and when he was growing up, his grandparents had been practicing Christians. In 2008, there was some press speculation that he was a practicing Christian after he visited the tomb of St Francis of Assisi, to which he publicly clarified that he was an atheist. Since studying at university, Gorbachev considered himself an intellectual; Doder and Branson thought that "his intellectualism was slightly self-conscious", noting that unlike most Russian intelligentsia, Gorbachev was not closely connected "to the world of science, culture, the arts, or education". When living in Stavropol he and his wife collected hundreds of books. Among his favorite authors were Arthur Miller, Dostoevsky, and Chingiz Aitmatov, while he also enjoyed reading detective fiction. He enjoyed going for walks, having a love of natural environments, and was also a fan of association football. He favored small gatherings where the assembled discussed topics like art and philosophy rather than the large, alcohol-fueled parties common among Soviet officials.
Movies & TV shows
Sakharov. Two Lives
Avenue, university and even an asteroid are named after him. The creator of the hydrogen bomb, an outstanding public figure and a human rights activist are just some of the things that academician Sak...
Chernobyl: The Last Battle of the USSR
Almost everything has been said about the ecological and sanitary disaster that took place after the nuclear explosion. The greatest industrial disaster changed the course of History, disrupted global...
5 Movies · 2 TV shows
"Gorbachev." Heaven is a documentary film about changes in the world caused by one man. The life of a man who changed the world in the 20th century is summarized in a film. The collapse of this empire...
Blending in-depth interviews, rare archival footage, and cinematic recreations, this docuseries on the lives of America's most iconic First Ladies is a bold revision of each woman's traditional portra...
The Way I See It
Pete Souza was the Chief Official White House Photographer and had top secret clearance.
Frenemies: Putin and Trump
Russian President Vladimir Putin was one of the first politicians to congratulate Donald Trump on his election as president of the United States in 2016, but over time the relationship between the two...
Stalin and the Katyn Massacre
Stalin's executioners committed many crimes over the course of three decades, including the Katyn massacre in 1940. The mass murder of thousands of Polish officers was part of a relentless purge that ...
My Favorite War
The director was raised in the Soviet Union. The coming of age story is a personal escape route from the brainwashing of the authoritarian regime. The subject of an antiwar film is the importance of a...
History lessons on scientific discoveries, social movements and world-changing discoveries can be found in Infographics and archival footage.
The former president of the Soviet Union sat down with the director to discuss his accomplishments. Talks to reduce nuclear weapons, the reunification of Germany and the dissolution of his country are...
Solidarność: How Solidarity Changed Europe
September 1980 in Gdask, Poland. Solidarno was the first independent trade union behind the Iron Curtain. The battle to bring down communism has begun.
Bully. Coward. Victim. The Story of Roy Cohn
Roy Cohn was a power broker in the rough and tumble world of New York City business and politics. Senator Joseph R. McCarthy's top counsel during investigations into Communist activities in the 1950s,...
The Man Who Defied Beijing
A portrait of Chinese writer Liu Xiaobo (1955-2017), a witness of the Tiananmen Square massacre (1989), a dissident, a woodpecker who tirelessly pecked the putrid brain of the Communist regime for dec...
Tiananmen: The People Versus the Party
The true story of the seven weeks that changed China forever. On June 4, 1989, pro-democracy demonstrations were violently and bloodily repressed. Thousands of people died, but the basis for China's f...
Russian Federation, December 31, 1999. After President Boris Yeltsin's unexpected resignation, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin becomes acting president of the country. From that day and for a year, Vita...
1960. The USSR starts humanitarian aid programs based on Marxist ideology in several newly independent African countries. For more than 35 years the Soviets expand their influence in Africa. Soviet fi...
Lusia in Wonderland
How Lyusia Stein - a graduate of VGIK and a municipal deputy of Moscow - went to work for Ksenia Sobchak's campaign headquarters.
The Reagan Show
The Reagan Show looks at how Ronald Reagan redefined the look and feel of what it means to be the president.
Free to Rock
Despite attempts by the Communists to outlaw it, Rock & Roll spread the sound of freedom across the Iron Curtain and throughout Eastern Europe. The implosion of the Soviet regime was aided by thousand...
Era Of Dance
The film tells a story about the latest musical revolution in recent history – the early days of the rave scene and the golden age of techno culture. International political changes in the mid-80s and...
The Arrow of Time
President Mikhail Gorbachev recounts the end of the Cold War and the reduction of nuclear arms.
Oscar Arias: Without a Shot Fired
This is the story of a tiny country that decided to abolish its army in order to make the world a better place. This is the story of a young boy who grew up in that country, and how he ended up challe...
Behind the walls of a forbidden city, the only thing more dangerous than its secrets is the truth.
The phenomenon of Stuxnet was discovered in 2010 by international IT experts. This software was designed to sabotage Iran's nuclear programme and was commissioned by the US and Israeli governments. Th...
Those Who Dare
The independence movement in several Baltic countries was sparked by Gorbachev's reform policy. As cries for help from the Baltic States were met with silence from the international community at large...
The Russian Woodpecker
As his country is gripped by revolution and war, a Ukrainian victim of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster discovers a dark secret and must decide whether to risk his life and play his part in the revoluti...
Margaret Thatcher: Prime Minister
BBC memorial portrait of recently deceased Margaret Thatcher. With the help of never-before-seen archive material and interviews with colleagues and family, a portrait is painted of a politician who m...
2 Movies · 1 TV show
Der Sturz - Honeckers Ende
Honecker ruled the GDR for 18 years. The demise of the state was marked by his fall in 1989. Honecker's regime stood as an unjust state for wall deaths, shooting orders, stasis and forced adoptions, a...
Oliver Stone's Untold History of the United States
Oliver Stone looked at under reported events in American history.
The documentary takes a personal look at George H.W. Bush was the 41st president of the United States.
He Came to Give Us Freedom
Biographical documentary about Mikhail Gorbachev and the way he did not waste his inner freedom before becoming General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and giving this freedom to ...
The Last Days of the USSR
The rivalry between Gorbachev and Yeltsin was brought to light by a string of unpredictable events from 1989 to 1991. The last two years of the former USSR are recounted in the documentary.
A Bitter Taste of Freedom
In her quest to uncover the wrongdoings of the Russian authorities, Anna Politkovskaya inspired awe in some and fear in countless others. At age 48 she was assassinated for simply doing her job. This ...
My Father Evgeni
The film was made by the son of the writer and editor-in-chief of the studio. A portrait of both the person himself and the whole era can be found in the fragments of popular science films and letters...
The Autobiography of Nicolae Ceausescu
The three-hour-long documentary covers 25 years in the life of Nicolae Ceaușescu and was made using 1,000 hours of original footage from the National Archives of Romania.
A Wall in Berlin
Here to Stay
Urban sprawl, extinct species, depletion of natural resources and global warming are all causes of deep anxiety. Here to stay takes an uncompromising look at Planet Earth today, in all its beauty but ...
Disco and Atomic War
A different history of the Cold War: how Estonians under Soviet tyranny began to feel the breeze of freedom when a group of anonymous dreamers successfully used improbable methods to capture the Finni...
The Battle of Chernobyl
On April 26, 1986, a 1,000 feet high flame rises into the sky of the Ukraine. The fourth reactor of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant just exploded. A battle begins in which 500,000 men are engaged th...
A documentary is about the water polo match between Hungary and Russia. The match was held in Australia as the Russian forces were in Hungary.
Doot Doola Doot Doo ... Doot Doo!
After years of requests, Nardwuar the Human Serviette has finally entered the digital age with a compilation of over 60 of his favourite video interviews. Based around his two MuchMusic Specials, Nard...
The Collapse of The Soviet Union
The film is using episodes filmed mainly at the Kremlin, Soviet Union's headquarters which enable to have a glance to world's most well-known political kitchen.
1 Movie · 1 TV show
Zero Hour dramatizes the hour leading up to some of the most memorable historical events. Using a real-time clock and a split screen to follow key players, the series reveals the compelling and exciti...
Disaster at Chernobyl
The explosion at Chernobyl was ten times worse than the Hiroshima bomb and was due to a combination of human error and imperfect technology. An account of the sixty critical minutes prior to the explo...
1 TV show
Days That Shook the World
A British documentary television series called "Days That Shook the World" was aired on the British Broadcasting Corporation. The programme features a lot of important events in history. The series wa...
1 Movie · 3 TV shows
Faith of the Century: A History of Communism
The world was affected by communism. Hundreds of millions of people were affected by the political system. Using newly discovered propaganda films and archival photos, these four episodes explore the ...
The Secret KGB JFK Assassination Files
On Nov. The assassination of John F shocked the world. Kennedy was killed. There are many unanswered questions about this event.
1 Movie · 3 TV shows
Between the end of World War II and the collapse of the Soviet Union is the subject of a 24 part series.
One of the most popular presidents of the twentieth century was Ronald Reagan. Reagan believed in lower taxes, less government, and anti-communism.
Faraway, So Close!
Damiel is married to a woman, runs a pizzeria, and has a child with her. The solitarily remaining angel is more and more dissatisfied with his fate as a mere observer of human life and finally decides...
1 Movie · 1 TV show
Farewell to Enrico Berlinguer
Enrico Berlinguer (Sassari, May 25, 1922 - Padua, June 11, 1984) was an Italian politician, general secretary of the Italian Communist Party from 1972 until his death.