Moscow: Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev dies aged 91

The former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev has died aged 91 at a Hospital in Moscow. The hospital officials in Moscow in a statement said Mr. Mikhail Gorbachev passed away after a serious and protracted disease.

According to media reports, his health has been in decline in recent years. In June, media reported that he had been admitted after suffering from a kidney ailment, though his cause of death has not been announced.

Russian News agency Tass reported that he will be buried in Moscow’s Novodevichy Cemetery next to his wife Raisa, who died in 1999. Mr. Gorbachev became general secretary of the Soviet Communist Party and de facto leader of the country in 1985.

At the time, he was 54 the youngest member of the ruling council known as the Politburo. He also known for opened up the then-USSR to the world and introduced a set of reforms at home.

After decades of Cold War tension, Gorbachev brought the Soviet Union closer to the West than at any point since World War Two. In fact, Gorbachev’s policies of glasnost and perestroika defused the soaring tension of cold war.

Glasnost encouraged Russians and Eastern Europeans to speak out against communism whereas Perestroika was an attempt to modernise and ‘rebuild’ the Soviet state.

He won the Nobel Peace Prize for negotiating a historic nuclear arms pact with US leader Ronald Reagan, and his decision to withhold the Soviet army when the Berlin Wall fell a year earlier was seen as key to preserving Cold War peace. After his demise, the world lost an unparallel preacher of peace.

Tributes have been paid worldwide to the former Soviet leader. UN chief Antonio Guterres said, he has changed the course of history. He said, the world has lost a towering global leader, committed multilateralist, and tireless advocate for peace.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has expressed his deepest condolences following Mr. Gorbachev’s death.

US President Joe Biden called him a rare leader and praised Mr. Gorbachev as a unique politician. European Union President Ursula von der Leyen praised him as a trusted and respected leader who opened the way for a free Europe.

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