The Leadership And Legacy Of Mikhail Gorbachev

977 WordsMar 17, 20164 Pages
Kate Foust Mr. Isaacs Global Studies 17 March 2016 The Leadership and Legacy of Mikhail Gorbachev Not long after becoming the president of the Soviet Union in 1986, Mikhail Gorbachev made a phone call that symbolized many of the reforms he would soon bring to his country. He called Andrei Sakharov, a human rights activist who was exiled to the closed city of Gorky, to tell him that his exile was over: The famous dissident and his wife could return home to Moscow. The very next year, Gorbachev pardoned all Soviet political prisoners: Hundreds of people were freed. After many decades, the Soviet government’s political repression of its own people was finally ending, and Mikhail Gorbachev was the man who made it happen. In addition, the…show more content…
Glasnost brought transparency to the workings of the government as well. The policy also set in place multi-candidate elections, advancing democracy all over the Soviet Union (Rush 3). Also in 1985, Gorbachev introduced perestroika (or “restructuring”) to reduce party control and bring some market elements into the Soviet economy (Plokhy 12). On January 27, 1987, at a Soviet Communist Party gathering, Gorbachev stated, “We need democracy just like we need air to breathe…” (Wofsy 4). Gorbachev also made major changes in the Soviet Union’s relationship with other countries and its own satellite states in line with his statement that “The world will not accept dictatorship or domination” (Burke 9). When he came to power in 1985, Gorbachev told the leaders of Warsaw Pact countries that they were independent and that the Soviet Union would stop interfering in their affairs, a huge change from past Soviet policies (Plokhy 12). In 1989, he withdrew all Soviet troops from Afghanistan after over nine years of a war which had cost millions of dollars and left 15,000 troops dead or missing and 400,000 more debilitated by serious illness (Burke 4). 1989 was also the year that the Berlin Wall and communist governments all over Eastern Europe fell (Spiegel 2). In 1990, the Soviet Union passed a law that allowed all the other
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