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Gorbachev, Mikhail (1931—)

Mikhail Gorbachev was the leader of the Soviet Union from 1985 until 1991. His reform efforts contributed to ending the Cold War, ended the political supremacy of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, and ultimately dissolved the Soviet Union. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1990.

Gorbachev is known for trying to revive the Soviet economy, which had reached stagnation in 1985. He initiated acceleration reforms, later known as perestroika (“reconstruction”) and glasnost (“liberalization” or “opening”). In 1988, glasnost brought about greater freedom of speech, a radical change for a system in which control of speech and suppression of government criticism had previously been strictly enforced. The press became less controlled, and thousands of political prisoners and many dissidents were released. Time ...

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