Mikhail Gorbachev

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Mikhail Sergeievich "Gorby" Gorbachev Михаил Сергеевич «Горби» Горбачёв (3 March 1931 – 30 August 2022)[1] was the last ruler of the Soviet Union, famous for his liberal reforms, for which he took inspiration from surprising sources: Lenin and the Neocommunist movement. His introduction of glasnost (openness) and perestroika (restructuring)[2] allowed Soviet citizens to speak their minds and pursue economic opportunities without state oversight. He was also the first leader of a superpower to sign (along with Ronald Reagan) a treaty reducing the number of nuclear missiles.[3] Naturally, such radical change did aid the economy for a time, but the USSR was already at the point of collapse, and Glasnost only added to the ever increasing voices on the Nationalist right demanding for the USSR to split apart (mostly influenced by the disaster of Chernobyl and the equally disastrous reaction to it by the authorities).

Naturally a man who achieved so much in a short time made enemies, and after an attempted coup in August 1991, his position was weakened,[4] and he could not stop Boris Yeltsin breaking up the USSR into squabbling factions ruled over mainly by corrupt opportunists.[citation needed] Gorbachev would later go on to say that he wished he had reassigned Yeltsin to an ambassador post in the United Kingdom.[5]

Famously featured in a cheesy[sic] Pizza Hut commercial to raise money for the Gorbachev Foundation in San Francisco. Gorbachev doesn't actually eat any pizza during the ad (if you look closely, his plate is empty.) While he had some between shots, he refused to eat it on camera, but he did give the company permission to film his granddaughter doing so. In addition, while most of the commercial was shot at an actual Pizza Hut in Moscow, the scene where Gorbachev and his granddaughter supposedly enter a Pizza Hut on Red Square was actually shot at a jewelry store.[6] After the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, Pizza Hut pulled out of Russia.[7] Later that month, a friend of Gorbachev stated that Gorby felt his life's work was being "destroyed" by Putin.[8]

After the fall of the USSR, Gorbachev was active in social democratic movements — ostensibly to try and oust Mr. Putin — until his death on August 30, 2022.

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  1. Mikhail Gorbachev, who ended the Cold War, dies aged 91 -agencies (August 30, 2022) Reuters
  2. Russia: The Gorbachev era: perestroika and glasnost, Encyclopedia Britannica
  3. Gorbachev calls for nuclear weapons treaty by History.com Editors (published November 13 2009, last updated February 25 2021) HISTORY.com, A&E Television Networks.
  4. The August Coup by Lewis Siegelbaum, Michigan State University
  5. Mikhail Gorbachev: I was too soft on Yeltsin by Jonathan Steele (August 16, 2011) The Guardian
  6. Mikhail Gorbachev’s Pizza Hut Thanksgiving Miracle by Paul Musgrave (November 28, 2019, 7:00 AM) Foreign Policy.
  7. https://www.foodandwine.com/news/yum-brands-kfc-pizza-hut-exit-russia
  8. https://www.newsweek.com/gorbachev-russia-putin-ukraine-war-destroyed-1727037