Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, who played a pivotal role in the end of the Cold War, has died at the age of 91 in Moscow.
August 30, 2022
Mr. Gorbachev's first five years in power were marked by significant, even extraordinary, accomplishments:
- He presided over an arms agreement with the United States that eliminated for the first time an entire class of nuclear weapons, and began the withdrawal of most Soviet tactical nuclear weapons from Eastern Europe.
- He withdrew Soviet forces from Afghanistan, a tacit admission that the invasion in 1979 and the nine-year occupation had been a failure.
- While he equivocated at first, he eventually exposed the nuclear power-plant disaster at Chernobyl to public scrutiny, a display of candor unheard-of in the Soviet Union.
- He sanctioned multiparty elections in Soviet cities, a democratic reform that in many places drove stunned Communist leaders out of office.
- He oversaw an attack on corruption in the upper reaches of the Communist Party, a purge that removed hundreds of bureaucrats from their posts.
Mikhail Gorbachev, who has died aged 91, was the most important world figure of the last quarter of the 20th century. Almost singlehandedly he brought an end to 40 years of east-west confrontation in Europe and liberated the world from the danger of nuclear conflagration.
The man who oversaw the end of the Cold War and then the end of the Soviet Union has died.