Photos: Mikhail Gorbachev dies; Soviet Union’s last leader helped end Cold War
Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev speaks to a Soviet TV newsman at Vnukovo airport outside Moscow, shortly after arriving from Crimea after a three-day coup by Communist Party hard-liners failed in Russia. When a group of top officials ousted Gorbachev 30 years ago and deployed tanks in Moscow, the world held its breath, fearing a rollback of liberal reforms and a return to the Cold War confrontation. But the August 1991 coup collapsed in just three days, precipitating the breakup of the Soviet Union that plotters said they were trying to prevent.
Mikhail S. Gorbachev, the Soviet leader whose vision of humane communism liberated millions, bridled the global arms race and knocked down the walls dividing East and West, has died, according to Russian news agencies.
Gorbachev, who had been in declining health due to acute diabetes, was 91 and had been undergoing treatment at a hospital, according the agencies.
One of the most influential politicians of the 20th century, Gorbachev used his six years as head of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union to systematically dismantle the machinery of repression.
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