Major events in the life and career of Mikhail Gorbachev

Aug 30, 2022, 7:45 PM | Updated: Aug 31, 2022, 7:53 am
FILE - Mikhail S. Gorbachev, who became the new Soviet leader following the death of President Cons...

FILE - Mikhail S. Gorbachev, who became the new Soviet leader following the death of President Constantin Chernenko, studies papers in his Kremlin office on May 1985. Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev has died Tuesday Aug. 30, 2022 at a Moscow hospital at age 91. (AP Photo/Boris Yurchenko, File)

(AP Photo/Boris Yurchenko, File)

A timeline of major events in the life of former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, who has died at age 91.

March 2, 1931: Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev born in Privolnoye in southern Russia.

1950: Admitted to Moscow State University, the Soviet Union’s top university.

1971: Elected to the Communist Party’s powerful Central Committee.

1980: Becomes a full member of the ruling Politburo.

March 11, 1985: Appointed as general secretary of the Communist Party and the nation’s new leader following the death of Konstantin Chernenko.

October 1985: Launches his campaign to end the Soviet Union’s economic and political stagnation, using “glasnost,” or openness, to help achieve the goal of “perestroika,” or restructuring.

November 1985: Meets U.S. President Ronald Reagan in Geneva for the first of a series of summits with world leaders.

April 26, 1986: Reactor explodes at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine. Soviet authorities acknowledge the blast only three days later.

October 11-12, 1986: Gorbachev and Reagan meet in Reykjavik, Iceland, in a summit that produces no agreements, but is widely hailed as a precursor to nuclear arms agreements.

December 1987: Signs the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces, or INF, Treaty with Reagan. The treaty banned the U.S. and Soviet Union from possessing, producing or test-flying a ground-launched cruise missile with a range of 300 to 3,400 miles.

February 1989: The last Soviet troops leave Afghanistan.

November 1989: The Berlin Wall falls as East Germany’s hard-line leadership opens its borders, a key moment in the collapse of communism in eastern Europe.

October 1990: Awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

July 1991: Signs the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, or START, with U.S. President George H.W. Bush. The treaty resulted in the largest nuclear reductions in history, and included a mechanism allowing the two sides to inspect and verify each other’s arsenals.

August 1991: Attempted coup by the Communist old guard fails, but dramatically erodes Gorbachev’s authority.

Dec. 8, 1991: The leaders of Russia, Ukraine and Belarus declare the Soviet Union dead and announce the creation of the Commonwealth of Independent States.

Dec. 25, 1991: Announces his resignation as Soviet leader. The Soviet red flag over the Kremlin is pulled down and replaced with Russia’s tricolor.

June 1996: Runs in Russia’s presidential election, winning less than 1% of the vote.

September 1999: His wife, Raisa, dies of leukemia.

Aug. 30, 2022: Dies at the Central Clinical Hospital in Moscow.


More AP stories on Mikhail Gorbachev here:

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Major events in the life and career of Mikhail Gorbachev