Former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev poses for a photo in 2009.
Gorbachev’s beginnings were humble: he was born into a peasant family in Privolny on March 2, 1931. Here, he is with his parents in Privolnoy.
Gorbachev with his maternal grandparents, Panteli and Vasilisa Gobkalo, circa 1937.
Gorbachev, far right, poses for a photo with his classmates, circa 1947.
Gorbachev, wearing the hat, was seen with his classmates in the 1940s.
Gorbachev, shown here in 1984, became a member of the Communist Party in 1952 and completed his law degree from Moscow University in 1955. By the end of the 1960s, he had risen to the top of the party hierarchy in the Stavropol region.
Gorbachev and British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher pose for a photo in London as they meet in December 1984. Thatcher once described him as “a man one can do business with.”
Gorbachev, front center, attended the International Women’s Day gala in Moscow in March 1985. He became a full member of the Politburo in 1980, and rose to the top of the party in 1985. This effectively made him the leader of the Soviet Union.
Gorbachev follows coffin carriers carrying the coffin of his predecessor as Soviet leader, Konstantin Chernenko, on Moscow’s Red Square in March 1985.
Gorbachev and US President Ronald Reagan held a historic “chat” in Geneva, Switzerland, in November 1985. The two held a series of summit talks.
Gorbachev and Reagan attend the closing ceremony of the Geneva Summit in November 1985.
Gorbachev and his wife, Raisa, were welcomed to Prague, Czechoslovakia, in April 1987.
Gorbachev visiting Bucharest, Romania, in May 1987.
Gorbachev waves during a military parade in Moscow in November 1987.
Gorbachev speaking with Reagan at the start of a summit in Washington, D.C., in December 1987.
Gorbachev and Reagan signed an arms control agreement in December 1987 banning the use of intermediate-range nuclear missiles.
Gorbachev shakes hands with businessman – and future US president – Donald Trump at the US State Department in December 1987. It was before a lunch in Gorbachev’s honor.
Gorbachev showing Reagan around Red Square during Reagan’s visit to Moscow in May 1988.
Gorbachev, lower right, and Politburo members vote to remove Andrei Gromyko, lower centre, as head of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet in October 1988. Gorbachev will then succeed him in this position.
Gorbachev visits New York with Reagan and US Vice President George HW Bush in December 1988.
A Moscow woman and her cat watch Gorbachev’s New Year’s message in December 1988.
Gorbachev and Cuban President Fidel Castro wave during Gorbachev’s visit to Cuba in April 1989.
Gorbachev salutes East German leader Erich Honecker after his arrival in East Berlin in October 1989.
Gorbachev addresses a group of San Francisco business executives in 1990.
Coretta Scott King awarded Gorbachev the Albert Einstein Prize for his contribution to peace in June 1990.
Gorbachev gives a speech after receiving the Nobel Peace Prize in June 1991. He was awarded “for his pioneering role in the peace process that today characterizes important parts of the international community.”
Gorbachev shakes hands with Bush, then president, in Moscow in July 1991.
Gorbachev rubbed his eyes while speaking in Moscow in August 1991. He threatened to resign if the Soviet Union collapsed. That month, his country’s hardliners staged a revolution while Gorbachev was on vacation in Crimea. Boris Yeltsin, head of the largest Soviet republic and a fierce critic of what he saw as Gorbachev’s half-way reforms, came to Gorbachev’s rescue, as he confronted and defeated the coup plotters.
Gorbachev held a press conference the day after his return from Crimea in August 1991. He was detained in his country house by coup plotters who tried to remove him from power in order to halt economic reform policies. The coup leaders publicly stated that Gorbachev was stepping down due to ill health. Here, Gorbachev holds a wrinkled note that he hid on his body to explain what actually happened in the event he was killed.
Gorbachev finished his resignation speech after he delivered it on Soviet television in December 1991. Throughout the Soviet Union, republics – one after another – were declaring independence. Shortly after his speech, the Soviet hammer and sickle flag was lowered from the Kremlin, and in its place the white, blue and red flag of Russia was raised.
Gorbachev and Reagan spent time together at Reagan’s ranch in California in May 1992. Both are no longer in power.
From left, Bush, Gorbachev and former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl attend a ceremony at Prague Castle in 1999. They were among six former world leaders honored with the Order of the White Lion, the Czech Republic’s highest award.
Gorbychev bows his head at Reagan’s funeral in June 2004.
Gorbachev talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin before a press conference in Germany in December 2004.
CNN founder Ted Turner and Gorbachev answer questions during a United Nations press conference in 2005. Gorbachev was presenting Turner with the Alan Cranston Peace Prize later that day.
Gorbachev shakes hands with a member of Green Cross International during a tour of the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans in 2007. Gorbachev founded Green Cross International, an environmental organization.
Gorbachev and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon shake hands at the UN European Headquarters in 2009. The theme for that day was “Resetting the Agenda for Nuclear Disarmament”.
Gorbachev appeared on stage during the closing ceremony of the Gorby 80 Gala in London in 2011. The concert celebrated Gorbachev’s 80th birthday.