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Gorbachev Retrospective

Mikhail Gorbachev, the final General Secretary of the Soviet Union and its only president, passed away on August 30, 2022, at the age of 91. Kennan scholars and alumni remember his complicated legacy as the figure at the center of the Soviet Union's collapse in 1991.

Mikhail Gorbachev and Librarian of Congress James H. Billington walk the capitol grounds

Gorbachev's Remarks at the Kennan Institute

In 2009, Mikhail Gorbachev, then president of the Gorbachev Foundation, visited the Wilson Center’s conference recognizing the anniversary of the Russian constitution. Read excerpts from his opening remarks, which contain reflections on Russia’s post-Soviet transition, the weighty responsibility of the presidency, and Gorbachev's own position at the center of the USSR’s dissolution.