Biography (Dictionary of World Biography: Twentieth Century)
Article abstract: Gorbachev, as general secretary of the Communist Party and also President of the Soviet Union, made efforts to implement major improvements in the economy and society, underscoring his genuine belief in the need for long-overdue reforms. The revisions and adjustments in Soviet foreign policy that occurred during the Gorbachev era are noteworthy.
Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev was born on March 2, 1931, in the village of Privolnoye, in the Stavropol Territory of the Soviet Union. This agricultural region, located north of the Caucasus Mountains, lies between the Black and Caspian seas. Gorbachev came from several generations of farmers. He was baptized in the Orthodox Church but is not a Christian. During World War II, the area where he lived was occupied by Nazi military forces. Following the war, he continued his education and worked summers (1946-1950) in local farming. He was awarded (1949) the Order of the Red Banner of Labor at age eighteen and was graduated second in his high school class.
Gorbachev entered Moscow State University in the fall of 1950, graduating with a degree in law in 1955. During this period, he joined the Communist Party (1952) and married Raisa Maximovna Titorenko (1954). Following graduation, he returned to the Stavropol area where he spent the next twenty-three years in Communist Party service.
Gorbachev’s initial responsibilities were in...
(The entire section is 1922 words.)
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