Mikhail Gorbachev (1931-2022): A life in pictures

After decades of Cold War tensions and confrontations, he brought the USSR closer to the West than at any point since World War Two



By Agencies

Published: Wed 31 Aug 2022, 1:36 PM

The passing of Mikhail Gorbachev, the last leader of the Soviet Union — and, for many, the man who restored democracy to then-communist-ruled European nations — was mourned Wednesday as the loss of a rare leader who changed the world and for a time gave hope for peace among the superpowers.

Though in power less than seven years, Gorbachev unleashed a breathtaking series of changes. But they quickly overtook him and resulted in the collapse of the authoritarian Soviet state, the freeing of Eastern European nations from Russian domination, and the end of decades of East-West nuclear confrontation.

Here is his life in pictures:

Photos: Reuters
Photos: Reuters

President Ronald Reagan shakes hands at his first meeting with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, in Geneva, November 1985. The two leaders met for the first time to hold talks on international diplomatic relations and the arms race.

Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev meets with President Reagan in Geneva, November 19, 1985.

Nancy Reagan and Raisa Gorbachev hold scrolls during the cornerstone unveiling for a new museum at the headquarters of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Geneva, Switzerland, November 20, 1985.

A four-way handshake between (L-R) Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze, Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, President Reagan and US Secretary of State George Schultz in Geneva, Switzerland, November 21, 1985.

Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev and President Ronald Reagan begin their mini-summit talks in Reykjavik, October 1986.

President Reagan and Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev shake hands after their mini-summit meeting in Reykjavik, October 1986.

President Reagan and Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev leave Hofdi House after finishing their two days of talks during a mini-summit in Reykjavik, October 12, 1986.

President Reagan and Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev have a few final words after a marathon meeting to conclude their mini-summit in Reykjavik, October 1986.

President Ronald Reagan stands with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev during Gorbachev's arrival ceremony at the White House, December 1987.

President Reagan and Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev sign the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty in the White House in 1987.

President Ronald Reagan and his wife Nancy listen to Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev speak during Gorbachev's departure ceremony at the White House, December 1987.

Cuba's President Fidel Castro and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev exchange documents during a treaty signing ceremony in Havana, April 1989.

Cuba's President Fidel Castro and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev during an event in Havana, April 1989.

Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and Cuban leader Fidel Castro wave from an open top car as it drives through Havana's Revolution Square, April 1989.

Photo: Markku Ulander/Lehtikuva
Photo: Markku Ulander/Lehtikuva

Then-Finnish President Mauno Koivisto (L) looks on as then-Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev talks to Moscow on a Nokia Mobira Cityman cellular phone in Helsinki, October 1989.

US President George HW Bush and Mikhail Gorbachev shake hands in front of US and Soviet flags at the end of a press conference in Moscow, July 1991.

Former US President Ronald Reagan takes former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev for a drive in his Jeep to tour the Reagan ranch in the Santa Ynez mountains near Santa Barbara, California, May 1992.

Gorbachev and his wife Raisa with former President Reagan and Nancy, at the Reagan ranch in the Santa Ynez mountains near Santa Barbara, May 3, 1992.

Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and his wife Raisa pose with traditional Peking Opera singers in Taipei, March 1994.

Gorbachev poses with British PM Margaret Thatcher in London, December 1994.

Former US President George Bush gestures ahead of a meeting with former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in Berlin November 1999.

Former US President George Bush hugs former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev ahead of a reception in Berlin to mark the 10th anniversary celebrations of the collapse of the Berlin Wall, in 1999.

Pope John Paul II meets former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev at a private audience at the Vatican, November 2000.

Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev blows on candles during a ceremony ahead of his 70th birthday in Moscow, February 2001.

Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev reaches out to touch the casket containing former US President Ronald Reagan, as Reagan lies in state at the US Capitol Rotunda, June 2004.

Former German Chancellor Kohl, former Soviet Union President Gorbachev and former US President Bush wave during the 'Point Alpha Award' ceremony near the village of Geisa in eastern Germany, June 2005.

Former Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev smiles during a news conference marking the 20th anniversary of Perestroika at the US Chamber of Commerce in Washington, October 2005.

Former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev addresses students as he visits the International University in Moscow, February 2012.

Photo: AFP
Photo: AFP

The last ruling President of the Soviet Union and Guest of Honour, Mikhail Gorbachev speaks during the International Government Communication Forum (IGCF 2014) on February 23, 2014 in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates.

Photo: Wam
Photo: Wam

His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, and former Soviet statesman Mikhail Gorbachev listen during the International Government Communication Forum in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates on February 23, 2014.

Mikhail Gorbachev visits the former Berlin Wall border crossing point Checkpoint Charlie, in Berlin, November 2014.

Former Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev looks on during a presentation of his new book "After Kremlin" in Moscow, December 2014.

Former Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev attends a parade marking the World War II anniversary in Moscow, May 2017.


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