Shockwaves have blown after former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev passed away, Russian media reported on Tuesday evening. He died in hospital at the age of 91 following a lingering illness.
The former Soviet leader had a great impact on national and global politics from 1985, when he became General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and thus its de facto leader, until 1991, when the dissolution of the Soviet Union took place.
He was widely praised abroad for his role in ending the Cold War by successfully negotiating with US President Ronald Reagan to abolish a whole class of missiles through the Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty.
Gorbachev also introduced new political and economic freedoms in the Soviet Union, resulting in Gorbachev receiving a wide range of awards, including the Nobel Peace Prize.
However, his efforts to democratise the political system and decentralise the economy contributed to the fall of communism and the Soviet Union, making him unpopular in some circles within his country.
The United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres paid tribute to the last leader of the Soviet Union, describing him as the person who “more than any other” brought about the peaceful end of the Cold War, which had dominated international relations since the 1940s.
He said, “The world has lost a towering global leader, committed multilateralist & tireless advocate for peace.”