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|Opiates for the masses|
Mikhail Sergeievich "Gorby" Gorbachev Михиал Сергеевич "Горби" Горбачёв (b.1931) 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) 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. 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, and he could not stop Boris Yeltsin breaking up the USSR into squabbling factions ruled over mainly by corrupt opportunists.
Famously featured in a cheesy [sic] Pizza Hut commercial to raise money for the Gorbachev Foundation in San Francisco, he currently works with social democratic movements ostensibly to try and oust Mr. Putin.
If you think you might have done better than him and want to try your hand at it, there's a political sim for that: Crisis in the Kremlin.
- Kotkin, Stephen. Armageddon Averted: The Soviet Collapse, 1970-2000. New York: Oxford University Press, 2001.