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Russian politician Mikhail Gorbachev, a member of the Politburo, in London for a week-long official visit, December 1984. (Photo by Georges De Keerle/Getty Images)
What Happened To Mikhail Gorbachev?
History - Science
Hitting The Road
Gorbachev made three international trips as soon as he left office on Christmas Day in 1991, heading to Germany, Japan, and the United States. His 13-day, 7-city tour of the United States was very well-received — in California, 4000 people each paid $40 for the privilege of hearing the former Soviet leader speak.
Writing A Lot
Gorbachev started his writing career only a few months after he left office, composing a series of political commentary columns reflecting on Russian international relations, the state of communism, and the Persian Gulf War. He also published books such as "Gorbachev: On My Country and the World" in 1999 and “The New Russia” in 2016.
Failed Presidential Run
In 1996, Gorbachev announced his intention to enter the race for the Russian presidency and ran on a platform of being the leader of a democratic coalition. However, Boris Yeltsin cruised to re-election, with Gorbachev receiving 350,000 votes of the 70 million cast — 0.5% of the electorate, and in 7th place out of 10 candidates.
Starting A New Party
Apparently undeterred by his defeat in the 1996 Russian presidential election, Gorbachev made another attempted re-entry into national politics in the early 2000s by re-founding the Social Democratic Party of Russia. However, it secured zero seats in the lower house of Russia’s government and was forcefully dissolved in 2007.
Meeting Celebrity Fans
While he was blamed for much political and social chaos in Russia, Gorbachev had many high-profile admirers in Europe and the U.S. On his 80th birthday in April 2011, he received well-wishes from stars like Sharon Stone and Arnold Schwarzenegger, as well as from President Bill Clinton, Polish President Lech Walesa, Bono, and Sting.