The last Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev has died, the Russian news agency TASS reports, citing the Central Clinical Hospital. As Tass reports from Moscow late Tuesday evening, Gorbachev died at the age of 91. The agencies RIA Novosti and Interfax also reported his death.
“Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev passed away tonight after a serious and protracted illness,” the agency’s Central Clinical Hospital said.
The world-renowned politician was considered one of the fathers of German unity and a pioneer for the end of the Cold War. East Germans in particular revere “Gorbi”, as they call him, to this day as a statesman who brought them freedom more than three decades ago.
In 1971 Gorbachev was elected a member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, and in 1985 he became Secretary General of the Central Committee. As head of government of the Soviet Union, Gorbachev proposed a course of liberalization which he called “perestroika”.
Up until his death, Gorbachev had rendered outstanding service to his own political foundation in Moscow. The organization advocates democratic values and a rapprochement between Russia and the West.
Gorbachev wrote numerous books – most recently also about his disappointment with the Germans and the West. Specifically, he complained that new enemy images were being drawn against Russia. For health reasons, he did not travel to the celebrations marking the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall in autumn 2019. He has had to be hospitalized repeatedly over the past few years.
The politician was a co-owner of the newspaper “Novaya Gazeta”, which is critical of the Kremlin and repeatedly uncovers abuses in Russia. In recent years, Gorbachev has repeatedly asked Kremlin boss Vladimir Putin not to further restrict the freedom of the media and elections.