• Gorbachev, who led the Soviet Union from 1985 until its collapse in 1991, died in Moscow, Russian news agencies say.

Mikhail Gorbachev, the last leader of the Soviet Union, has died at age 91, Russian news agencies reported, citing medical sources.

“Gorbachev died this evening after a serious and long illness,” the Central Clinical Hospital in Moscow said late on Tuesday, as quoted by the Interfax, TASS and RIA Novosti news agencies.

Gorbachev led the Soviet Union from 1985 until its collapse in 1991.

The dissolution of the Soviet bloc — marked by Gorbachev’s resignation that year — ended the Cold War and led to the independence of several Eastern European countries as well as the establishment of the modern Russian state.

Gorbachev’s death comes as Russia pushes on with its invasion of Ukraine, which has intensified tensions between Moscow and the West.

He will be buried in Moscow’s Novodevichy Cemetery next to his wife Raisa, who died in 1999, state-owned TASS reported, citing a source familiar with the family’s wishes.

After becoming the general secretary of the Soviet Communist Party in 1985, Gorbachev pushed to revitalise the system by introducing some political and economic freedoms. He also refrained from using force to subdue pro-democracy protests in the Soviet bloc nations of communist Eastern Europe in 1989.

But the Soviet Union began to fall apart over the next two years, and Gorbachev struggled to prevent that collapse.

  • News Agencies

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