Mikhail Gorbachev

Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev was born on the 2nd of March 1931 is a former Soviet statesman.

Gorbachev was born in Stavropol Krai into a peasant Ukrainian–Russian family, and in his teens operated combine harvesters on collective farms.

He graduated from Moscow State University in 1955 with a law degree.

While he was at the university, he joined the Communist Party, and soon became very active within it.

His father was a combine harvester operator and World War II veteran, named Sergey Andreyevich Gorbachev. His mother, Maria Panteleyevna Gorbacheva (née Gopkalo), was a kolkhoz worker.

He was brought up mainly by his Ukrainian maternal grandparents.

In his teens, he operated combine harvesters on collective farms. Gorbachev was ten years old when the Nazis invaded the Soviet Union in 1941.

His father was drafted into the Soviet military and Gorbachev spent four years living in a war-torn country although his father survived the war.

Gorbachev was an excellent student in school and worked hard helping his father with the combine after school and during the summers.

At age 14, Gorbachev joined the Komsomol (the Communist League of Youth) and became an active member.

Rather than attend a local university, Gorbachev applied to the prestigious Moscow State University and was accepted.

In 1950, Gorbachev traveled to Moscow to study law.

It was at college where Gorbachev perfected his speaking and debating skills, which became a major asset to his political career.

Having received his law degree cum laude in 1955, Gorbachev returned to Stavropol.

At first he was assigned to a job in the Stavropol Territorial Prosecutor’s Office.

On April 10, 1970 Gorbachev was approved as the First Secretary of the Stavropol Territorial Communist Party Committee.

A most important element in his program for developing the Stavropol region was the rational placement of agricultural facilities, their specialization, the establishment of advanced poultry farms and agrarian complexes, the introduction of industrial production processes, the construction of the Greater Stavropol Canal and of the irrigation and water supply systems that were vitally important to the region with its risky farming because dry lands accounted for one-half of its agricultural area, and the completion of modernization in the light and food industries.

In 1993 at the initiative of representatives of 108 countries Gorbachev established Green Cross International, a non-governmental environmental organization.

Its mission is vast education of world public about environmental problems, inculcation of a new environmental consciousness, the overcoming of environmental consequences of the Cold War and the arms race.

National organizations of Green Cross International exist in 23 countries of the world.

In 1996 Gorbachev ran for president of Russia but garnered less than 1 percent of the vote.

He nevertheless remained active in public life, as a speaker and as a member of various global and Russian think tanks.

In 2006 he paired with Russian billionaire and former lawmaker Aleksandr Lebedev to purchase nearly half of the independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta, known for its willingness to challenge Kremlin policies.