Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev
1987 Man of the Year
Born: March 2, 1931--Died: Not Yet.
Born during the peak of Josef Stalin's horrors of mass murder and of collectivization in Privol'noye in the Krasnogvadeisk district of the Stavropol krai. His Maternal grandfather, Pantelei, joined the Communist Party in 1928 and was chairman of the first collective farm in Privol'noye in 1931, where Gorby would later be a machine operator. His father, Sergei Andreevich, prior to the war, was also a machine operator in a local Machine-Tractor Station. After WWII, dad worked as economist and was a prominant local party official. His mother is Maria Panteleyvna.
In 1932 and 33, the Stavropol area was stricken by an extreme famine. His grandfather Andrei was sent to Irkutsk, Siberia because he couldn't harvest enough crops, despite the fact that he didn't have enough seed. He returns in 35.
In 1937, his grandfather Pantelei was accused of being part of a "counter-revolutionary right-wing Trotskyite organization." Say that three times fast. Then, the next year, grandpa is convicted of impeding harvest, causing loss of grain, livestock death, plow meadows and repressing the Stakhovites at the kolkhoz. The next year, a purge leads to Grandfather being released, charges dismissed. and there was much rejoycing. Then grandpa was elected as chairman of the kolkhoz.
WWII brought the need for millions of Russians to die. To help with this effort, Gorby's father, Sergei was conscripted (drafted) into the Soviet Army in 1941. From 1942 until January 1943, the German Army occupied Stavropol. 1944 brought another famine.
For four years, 45-49, during the summer, Gorby works as an assistant combine operator while attending schools. In 1949, the harvest plan is surpassed, and awards are handed out. Sergei Gorbachev gets an Order of Lenin and little Mikhail gets an Order of the Red Banner of Labor, both high honors, and all before Mikhail finishes secondary school in Krasnogvardeisk.
After he graduates, he becomes a candidate member of the Party and enters Moscow State University, to study law and then becomes Komsomol secretary. In 1952, he becomes full Party member. He will graduate in 1955.
Personally, on September 25, 1953, he marries Raisa Maksimovna Titorenko and buys his first suit for the occasion. In January of 1957, his daughter Irina Gorbachev is born.
From 55 until 1962, Gorby works and is promoted quickly through the Komsomol ranks until in 1962, he volunteers to be a Party Organizer for one of 16 territorial-production agricultural units in Stavropol krai. Some would see this as a demotion, but it is actually closer to a lateral transfer. It's Party work, which is more emportant. To help with this work, he enrolls in department of agricultural economy at the Stavropol Agricultural Institute on a correspondence course. He is promoted even faster, and with is boss, a guy named Kulakov trusting him, there is nowhere to go but up.
October, 1964, Khrushchev removed from office.
In 1966, gorby visits East Germany. Then he is elected First Secretary of Stavrolpol Gorkom (aka city council).
After 5 years, 1967, the correspondence course pays off, he graduates the Stavropol Agricultural Institute as an agronomist-economist, with his dissertion topic being milk production.
Even more promotions and elections follow him up the ranks. He travels throughout the communist world, becoming very popular. He is even sent to West Germany in 1975 as head of an official delegation. How much further could the son of a pair of pesants go?
But, in Febuary of 1976, Sergei, Mikhail's father dies.
To add to his fame, in 1977, his boss's, Kulakov, "Ipatovsky method" experiment in harvesting at Stavropol krai is declared complete success because it over produces. A major step was Mikhail Gorbachev being interviewed on Page 1 of Pravda.
Then, in 1978, Irina, his daughter, marries.
On his 47th birthday, given Hero of Socialist Labor award. Then on March 1, 1978, he is given Order of the October Revolution.
July 17, 1978, boss and mentor Kulakov dies. No medical explanation given beyond "His heart stopped beating."
More tours and promotions follow, good harvests (he's in agriculture, remember), speeches given and text in newspapers, and in 1979 his granddaughter, Ksenia is born. He also decides to represent Ipatovsky district in Supreme Soviet elections. In list of Kremlin leaders and the districts they choose to represent in Supreme Soviet, Gorbachev listed last, making him 28th in Party hierarchy. This may not seem important, but it is.
A possible blow is delivered when in 1979 a bad harvest threatens food supplies. Only Kazakhstan does well, and Kunayev gets credit for that. However, Gorbachev is not blamed because it was situation he inherited. Then, on November 17, 1979, he is named Candidate Member of Politburo.
More work agriculturally. In 1980, he publiishes in Kommunist, the Party's theoretical journal detailing agro-industrial linkage. Another bad harvest, but is still promoted to Full Member of Politburo.
81 and 82 both bring bad harvests. In November 10, 1982 Brezhnev dies from a heart attack, then a man named Andropov takes over as General Secretary, he gets ill pretty much after taking office, and when he takes a vacation in August, leaves Gorby with the keys to the kingdom. However, in May, Gorby heads to Canada to meet with members of the House of Commons and the Senate.
1983 brings the fifth poor harvest in a row. This is not good. What is good is that in Dec., he's given the task to recommend new Party officials in areas where economic conditions were poor or where corruption was evident.
Expectedly, almost, Febuary 9, 1984, Andropov dies. A few days later Chernenko is elected General Secretary, thus placing Gorbachev 2nd-in-command.
1984 gives another bad harvest.
December 15, 1984 he heads for England. In '85 Chernenko dies and Gorbachev is elected General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. He was nominated by Gromyko while Chernenko's preferred succesor was Victor Grishin, Moscow Party Secretary.
Now, unlike Boris Yeltsin, Gorbachev is anti-alchohol, he published new laws creating long lines at alcohol shops called "Gorbachev's nooses." Getting ballsy, he then gives an improvised, televised speech in Leningrad being overtly critical of Party (Romanov) excesses and industrial failures. Also in 1985, he orders that embassy receptions and parties should be alcohol-free.
The whole year of 1985 was filled with Gorbachev exercising his authority. Rural migration to cities was halted, economic plans outlined, scientists salaries were increased 50% to stimulate growth, an almost crazy amount of growth. Then, in November, he meets Ronald Regan. We begin to see a new up and comer in Boris Yeltsin, who is Moscow Party Boss at this time.
Perestroika began in 1986. This begins a series of changes, from annoucing that nuclear weapons should be eliminated from Europe after visiting Prague in 1987 to the first multi-canidate elections in 1989 along with finishing the Pull out from Afghanistan. Lithuania declares itself independant, and the USSR strikes back. But, in November of 1989, the Berlin Wall came down, signaling the beginning of the end for communism. It was just a matter of time until it was all over. However, acknowledging his anti-nuclear actions, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1990.
In August 18, 1991, Gorbachev was kidnapped by coup leaders and held captive for three days. Three days later, Gorbachev resigns from the Party, and then, a Christmas Gift to the west, December 25, 1991, he resigns as president and dissolves the USSR.
In 1995, his mother died. When he ran for Russian president in 1996, he got less than 1% of the vote
Since the collapse of the last second superpower, Gorbachev has been speaking all over the country, giving lectures and making snotballs worth of money. Currently, though, and since 1993, he actually is president of Green Cross International. (http://www.gci.ch/GreenCrossFamily/gorby/activities.html).