Mikhail Gorbachev

by Andrey from Tselina, Russia

Each nation has its heroes. People of Russia respect and admire their heroes. As for me, my hero is a great person who served our country best. Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev is my hero.

In March 1985 he became General Secretary of Communist Party of the Soviet Union. He was a leader who held supreme power in a nation covering one-sixth of all the world’s territory. The Soviet Union had in its possession an enormous stockpile of nuclear weapons.

At that time the USA and its allies in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) were pouring billions of dollars into modern weapons, new ships, new planes, new guided and missiles. Economic conditions changed. For the Soviet Union and the USA it was more and more difficult to spend large sums of money on military growth. This policy was dangerous for both countries because it threatened their economic stability. This policy was a part of Cold War strategy. Gorbachev understood that he had to take truly drastic action. First he opened the Soviet Union up to contact with other countries after many years of isolation.

The new “openness” (criticism of Communist party officials in newspapers or on TV) in Soviet life, Gorbachev called the Russian word glasnost. Changing the Soviet economy and Soviet politics he called perestroika.

Mikhail Sergeyevich set free from prison Andrei Sakharov and Anatoly Scharansky. They were well-known critics of the Soviet government and Soviet policy. By late 1990 it had been strikes of coal miners, farmers and dock workers. It was Gorbachev who had opened the way for mass media, freed from censorship to criticize him.

Soviet republics began to demand independence. One of the Soviet Union’s republics declared independence after another. Gorbachev declared that he disagreed with the idea of a divided nation, but acknowledged that the old system of government had collapsed before it was possible to put a new one into place. So there was a loose union of the former Soviet republics, known as the Commonwealth of Independent States. Gorbachev himself resigned his position as head of the ruling party. He declared in his farewell speech “I did all that I could.”

Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev was the first to launch the dramatic period of change in Soviet life and in the history of the twentieth century world. It was Gorbachev who melted the ice of the Cold War relationship with the USA. It was Gorbachev who had opened the way to independence for the nations of East Germany, Bulgaria, Hungary, Rumania, and Czechoslovakia.

His dream is about the possibility of a “new world order” with lasting peace in the world. Such a dream is hard to achieve, but there is a hope for all of us.

Mikhail Gorbachev undoubtedly earned himself a place in history as one of the most important world leaders of the twentieth century; he was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1991. That’s why Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev is my hero.

Page created on 5/14/2009 12:00:00 AM

Last edited 1/6/2017 10:21:05 PM

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