• Track Two

Gorbachev - A Complex Life and Legacy (1931 - 2022)

Updated: Sep 6

On Tuesday, August 30, 2022 the last leader of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev, passed away in a Moscow hospital at the age of ninety-one. The former leader, a key figure in the Cold War and all that followed, leaves behind a complex legacy, with a broad spectrum of perspectives on his influence within the former Soviet Union and throughout the greater global community.

Within the diplomatic community Gorbachev leaves behind a tradition of cross border collaboration. Without his influence, Track Two's early days of pioneering citizen diplomacy (then as the Esalen Soviet-American Exchange Program) would not have been possible.

Here, we've curated a selection of resources on this influential - but controversial - figure in the shared history of the former Soviet Union and the West.


Memories of Mikhail Gorbachev—and a unique time in Russia in history

By Rose Gottemoeller // Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

Mikhail Gorbachev, in his words and the words of others

By John Mecklin and Mikhail Gorbachev // Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

The Great Gorby: How a country received freedom and didn’t use it

By Andrey Kolesnikov // Russia.Post

Document: The Revolution and Perestroika

By Mikhail S. Gorbachev // Foreign Affairs

The Day Gorbachev Made D.C. Stand Still

By Maureen Dowd // The New York Times


Mikhail Gorbachev’s Enduring Example

By David Remnick // The New Yorker

Gorbachev And The Many Directions He Proffered To The World

By Grigory Yavlinksky // Yabloko

Mikhail S. Gorbachev, Reformist Soviet Leader, Is Dead at 91

By Marilyn Berger

Praise and Blame:
How Russia Reacted to the Death of Gorbachev

By Leyla Latypova // The Moscow Times

The USSR’s final leader is beloved by many in the West but a contentious figure at home. Here’s how Mikhail Gorbachev is being remembered.

Published By Meduza

Scholar Artemy Kalinovsky suggests a Shakespearian perspective on Mikhail Gorbachev’s legacy

By Artemy Kalinovsky // Meduza

Mikhail Gorbachev 1931 - 2022

Published By RT

Gorbachev: Conflicted Catalyst of Cold War’s End

By Thomas Graham // Council on Foreign Relations

How the West Still Misunderstands Gorbachev

By Sumantra Maita // The National Interest

The tragedy of Mikhail Gorbachev

By Anatol Lieven // Responsible Statecraft

Mikhail Gorbachev, the Fundamentally Soviet Man

By Masha Gessen // The New Yorker

Gorbachev’s Legacy

By Katrina vanden Heuvel // The Nation

Mikhail Gorbachev: The contradictory legacy of Soviet leader who attempted ‘revolution from above’

By Ronald Suny // The Conversation

Gorbachev remembered: Respected in the West, detested in Russia

By Alexander Hill // The Conversation

Mikhail Gorbachev’s legacy: sadly, his tory will judge this good man harshly

By Alexander Titov // The Conversation

Gorbachev Freed the Soviet Union but Could Not Save It

By Serge Schmemann // The New York Times


Assessing the impact of Mikhail Gorbachev’s leadership on his country and the world

By Graham Allison // Bulletin of the Atomic

The Tragic Heroism of Mikhail Gorbachev

By Anton Fedyashin // The National Interest

The Gorbachev Vacuum

By Michael Kimmage // Foreign Affairs

Ukraine war: how Gorbachev’s 1987 INF missile treaty has limited the arsenal available to Putin

By Dan Plesch // The Conversation

Gorbachev and glasnost: how his fragile legacy of free speech has been destroyed by Putin

By Jennifer Mathers // The Conversation

Gorbachev will be back! On the imminence of a new perestroika

By Vladislav Inozemtsev // The Insider

Not a tsar, but a man. Nikolai Svanidze on how Russia failed to embrace Gorbachev’s gift of freedom

By Nikolai Svanidze // The Insider

Gorbachev as anti-Putin: The man who destroyed fear

By Oleg Pshenichny // The Insider

‘A big blow’: Mikhail Gorbachev died shocked by Ukraine war

Published By Al Jazeera

Why Gorbachev’s legacy still threatens Putin

By Robert Horvath