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

Updated: Sep 6, 2022

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