Mikhail Gorbachev Fast Facts

Here’s a look at the life of Mikhail Gorbachev, former president of the USSR.


Birth date: March 2, 1931

Death date: August 30, 2022

Birth place: Privolnoye, Russia, Soviet Union

Birth name: Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev

Father: Sergei Andreyevich Gorbachev

Mother: Maria (Gopkalo) Gorbacheva

Marriage: Raisa (Titarenko) Gorbacheva (1953-September 20, 1999, her death)

Children: Irina

Education: Moscow State University, Faculty of Law (1955), Stavropol Agricultural Institute, Faculty of Economy (1967)

Other Facts

Nominated for one Grammy Award and won one.


1952 - Joins the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and works in various positions in the party for the next two decades.

1955-1958 - Becomes the first secretary of the Communist Party of the Stavropol Komsomol City Committee.

1963 - Becomes chief of the Agriculture Department in the Stavropol region.

1970-1978 - Named the first secretary for the Communist Party in the Stavropol region.

1970-1990 - Deputy of the Supreme Soviet, the highest legislative body in the Soviet Union.

1971 - Becomes a member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.

March 11, 1985 - Elected general secretary of the Communist Party in the Soviet Union. In this post, he is effectively the leader of the USSR.

1985-1988 - Participates in a series of summit talks with US President Ronald Reagan.

1987 - Signs the Intermediate Nuclear Forces treaty with the United States to limit nuclear weapons.

1989 - Announces the withdrawal of Soviet forces from Afghanistan.

1989-1990 - Chairman of the Supreme Soviet.

1990 - Becomes president of the USSR.

1990 - Wins the Nobel Peace Prize for helping end the Cold War.

December 21, 1991 - USSR dissolves and the Commonwealth of Independent States is formally established.

December 25, 1991 - Resigns as president of the USSR.

1992-2022 - Founder and president of The International Foundation for Socio-Economic and Political Studies (The Gorbachev Foundation)

1993-2000 - Founds and serves as president of Green Cross International, an environmental organization.

1996 - Runs for election in Russia, but receives only 1% of the vote.

November 24, 2001 - Is elected head of the Social Democratic Party of Russia.

February 8, 2004 - Wins a Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album for Children, for “Prokofiev: Peter and the Wolf/Beintus: Wolf Tracks.” He shares the award with Sophia Loren and former US President Bill Clinton.

May 2004 - Resigns from the Social Democratic Party of Russia over conflicts with party direction and leadership.

January 2006 - Along with a business partner, Gorbachev buys 49% of shares in the independent Novaya Gazeta newspaper.

August 2007 - Appears in print advertisements for Louis Vuitton leather goods.

October 2007 - Becomes head of a new Russian political movement, Union of Social Democrats.

September 19, 2008 - Receives the 2008 Liberty Medal, awarded each year by the National Constitution Center, which is chaired by former US President George H.W. Bush.

November 2009 - Attends ceremonies in Berlin, marking the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.

March 2, 2011 - On his 80th birthday, Gorbachev is awarded Russia’s highest honor, the Order of St. Andrew, by President Dmitry Medvedev.

March 7, 2013 - In an interview with the BBC, Gorbachev is critical of Russian President Vladimir Putin and says, “For goodness sake, you shouldn’t be afraid of your own people.”

May 26, 2016 - The Ukraine bans Gorbachev after he shows support for Russia’s annexation of Crimea.

January 26, 2017 - Writes a piece for Time magazine titled, “It All Looks as if the World Is Preparing for War,” in which he says the most urgent problem we face is “the militarization of politics and the new arms race.”

December 4, 2018 - In an opinion piece in the Washington Post on US President Donald Trump’s intention to withdraw from the INF treaty, which Gorbachev and Reagan signed in 1987, Gorbachev and former US Secretary of State George Shultz write that abandoning the treaty “threatens our very existence.”

August 30, 2022 - Gorbachev dies after a long illness, according to official Russian news agencies.