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Gorbachev He was born in the agricultural region of Stavropol Gorbachev studied law at Moscow Univ Returning to Stavropol he moved gradually upward in the local Communist party In 1970 he became Stavropol party leader and was elected to the Supreme Soviet of the USSR Regarded as a skilled technocrat and a reformer Gorbachev joined 1978 the Communist party secretariat as agriculture secretary and in 1980 he joined the politburo as the protege of Yuri Andropov After Andropovs rise to party leadership Gorbachev assumed 1983 full responsibility for the economy Following the death of Konstantin Chernenko Andropovs successor in 1985 Gorbachev was appointed general secretary of the party despite being the youngest member of the politburo He embarked on a comprehensive program of political economic and social liberalization under the slogans of Glasnost openness and Perestrioka restructuring The nuclear disaster at Chernobyl 1986 forced Gorbachev to allow even greater freedom of expression The government released political prisoners allowed increased emigration attacked corruption and encouraged the critical re-examination of Soviet history In a series of talks 1985-88 Gorbachev improved relations with US President Ronald Reagan and that was who he signed an Intermediate Nuclear Forces INF arms limitation treaty in 1987 By 1989 he had brought about the end of the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan and had sanctioned the end of the Communist monopoly on political power in Eastern Europe For his contributions to reducing East-West tensions he was awarded the 1990 Nobel Peace Prize By 1990 however Gorbachevs perestroika program had failed to deliver significant improvement in the economy and the elimination of political and social control had released latent ethnic and national tensions in the Baltic States in the constituent republics of Armenia Georgia Ukraine and Moldova and elsewhere A newly created 1989 Congress of Peoples Deputies voted in Mar 1990 to end the Communist partys control over the government and elected Gorbachev executive president An unsuccessful anti-Gorbachev coup by hardliners in Aug
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