Mikhail Gorbachev (Russia)

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The last Soviet President

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Gorbachev dismantled Soviet communism, leading to the end of the Cold War. He remains involved in Russian politics, joining Alexander Lebedev to form the Independent Democratic Party – concerned that Glasnost (openness) faces increasingly serious threat. In presentations, speaking through his long-serving interpreter, Gorbachev urges close collaboration to combat the global challenges – just as Russia itself experiences growing unease.


Mikhail Gorbachev was the last President of the Soviet Union, responsible for dismantling the Eastern bloc and state communism. Having brought the Cold War to an end, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1990.

Gorbachev was born and raised in Stavropol in southern Russia, the son of a farmer. He graduated in law, joined the Communist Party and rose through the ranks to become General Secretary and President of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet.

He coined his programme of change ‘Perestroika’. It meant a radical re-structuring bringing greater individual responsibility, tolerance and opportunity. Two decades later, as Putin and Medvedev reposition a confident, energy rich Russia, Gorbachev argues that the entire world now needs a new vision.

His presentations inspire a sense of global community and shared respect, warning against domination by any one political system. He talks about the process that led to the opening up of Eastern Europe, the challenges and the lessons learned along the journey. Gorbachev also examines the prevailing threat of Islamic terrorism and climate change, which demand much closer collaboration between East and West, developed and developing nations.

Mikhail Gorbachev is President of the Green Cross, which he founded in the wake of Chernobyl to work wherever ground has been ravaged and infrastructure wrecked by natural or man-made disaster. He remains a close confidante and advisor to a number of world leaders.

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