Mikhail Gorbachev

The Soviet Union and Reform

Rise to Power

After both of Brezhnev's two successors died within 13 months of gaining power, Gorbachev became leader and began remarkable changes in the Soviet Union. He would eventually end both the communist party and the Soviet Union itself. His primary goal was to revive the Soviet economy and raise the country's standard of living.


US President Ronald Reagan and Gorbachev held many conferences together.


Gorbachev was the first Soviet leader to resign from office

Fall From Power

After Gorbachev was accused of being involved in the August Coup of 1991, he was on a downhill slide. The Soviet Union was in shambles, especially after the Baltic states declared themselves independent. Boris Yeltsin was on his rise to power and booted Gorbachev out of the picture. He resigned on Christmas Day 1991.