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Elder Statesman | by Tobi NDH
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Elder Statesman

Hans-Dietrich Genscher und Michael Gorbatschow, Fototermin am Brandenburger Tor, Berlin 2009.

 

Michail Sergejewitsch Gorbatschow (* 2. März 1931 in Priwolnoje in der sowjetischen Region Stawropol) ist ein russischer Politiker und war von März 1985 bis August 1991 Generalsekretär des Zentralkomitees der Kommunistischen Partei der Sowjetunion und von März 1990 bis Dezember 1991 Präsident der Sowjetunion. Durch seine Politik der Glasnost (wörtlich: „Offenheit“) und der Perestroika (wörtlich: „Umbau“) leitete er das Ende des Kalten Krieges ein. Er erhielt 1990 den Friedensnobelpreis.

 

Hans-Dietrich Genscher (* 21. März 1927 in Reideburg, Saalkreis, seit 1950 Ortsteil von Halle an der Saale) ist ein deutscher Politiker (FDP). Er war von 1969 bis 1974 Bundesminister des Innern sowie von 1974 bis 1992 fast ununterbrochen Bundesminister des Auswärtigen und Stellvertreter des Bundeskanzlers der Bundesrepublik Deutschland. Von 1974 bis 1985 war er außerdem Bundesvorsitzender der FDP.

 

Hans-Dietrich Genscher (born 21 March 1927) is a German politician of the liberal Free Democratic Party (FDP). He served as Foreign Minister and Vice Chancellor of Germany from 1974 to 1982 and, after a two-week pause, from 1982 to 1992, making him Germany's longest serving Foreign Minister and Vice Chancellor. In 1991, he was Chairman of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).

 

Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev, or Gorbachov (born 2 March 1931), is a former Soviet statesman, having served as General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1985 until 1991, and as the last head of state of the Soviet Union, having served from 1988 until its dissolution in 1991. He was the only general secretary in the history of the Soviet Union to have been born during the Communist rule.

 

Gorbachev was born in Stavropol Krai into a peasant Ukrainian–Russian family, and in his teens operated combine harvesters on collective farms. He graduated from Moscow State University in 1955 with a degree in law. While he was at the university, he joined the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, and soon became very active within it. In 1970, he was appointed the First Party Secretary of the Stavropol Kraikom, First Secretary to the Supreme Soviet in 1974, and appointed a member of the Politburo in 1979. Within three years of the deaths of Soviet Leaders Leonid Brezhnev, Yuri Andropov, and Konstantin Chernenko, Gorbachev was elected General Secretary by the Politburo in 1985. Before he reached the post, he had occasionally been mentioned in western newspapers as a likely next leader and a man of the younger generation at the top level.

 

Gorbachev's attempts at reform as well as summit conferences with United States President Ronald Reagan and his reorientation of Soviet strategic aims contributed to the end of the Cold War, ended the political supremacy of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU), and led to the dissolution of the Soviet Union. For these efforts, he was awarded the Otto Hahn Peace Medal in 1989, the Nobel Peace Prize in 1990 and the Harvey Prize in 1992.

 

Gorbachev founded the Social Democratic Party of Russia in 2001 and the Union of Social-Democrats in 2007.

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Taken on March 13, 2009