Mihail Gorbachov

Soviet Communist Party Leader, (last) Premier of the Soviet Union
Born: 2 March, 1931 in Privolnoye, Stavropol District, USSR. The first and only Soviet leader to have been born after the Bolshevik Revolution, he grew up as a true worker instead of as the child of the Communist Party. In fact his paternal grandfather spent nine years in the gulag for withholding grain from the collective farm's harvest. Too young to have to participate in World War II, he and his family remained in Stavropol, untouched, when German troops occupied it from August 1942 to February 1943 and remained. . After the war he helped his father gather a record harvest on the collective farm and as a result, he was awarded the Order of the Red Banner of Labor, at just 16 (1947). This opened the door to entry in Moscow University despite his non-revolutionary family background. From there he worked up the ranks of the Party, becoming known both for efficiency and new ideas. From 1985 until 1991 he became the last General Secretary of the Communist Party of the USSR and also the last head of state of the USSR, serving from 1988 until after its collapse in 1991.
By the time he came to power it was obvious even to most Communist Party officials that the Soviet System as it had developed was approaching a dead end and Gorbachev was appointed with the hope that he could reanimate the system. Unfortunately for both the Soviet system and M. Gorbachev personally, his attempts at reforms were fatally crippled by the insuperable internal contradictions of Communism. As a result he actually ended up presiding over the demise of both the all-powerful Soviet Communist Party and of the USSR itself. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1990.
Mikhail Gorbachev and his wife Raisa came to the house twice on vacations and the manager of the house service staff recalled that Mikhail was very polite and considerate but his wife was much more demanding. Gorbachev used the house as his headquarters when in the Baltic area and had one of the smaller bedrooms converted into his office. While Gorbachov was in residence, three guards were posted, one at the gate, one at the front door and the third one behind his bedroom.
After the collapse of the USSR and the termination of his official positions, M. Gorbachev has remained active Russian politics, as recently as September 2008, forming the Independent Democratic Party of Russia with fellow Novaya Gazeta owner (retired Gen.) Alexander Lebedev.