Mikhail Gorbachev

Mikhail Gorbachev is one of the greatest statesmen of the modern era. Serving as the last leader of the Soviet Union (1985-1991) he advocated a radical new trajectory for Russia, defined by the ideas of glasnost (openness) and perestroika (restructuring). Gorbachev's commitment to developing relationships with the West and easing political tensions was instrumental in ending the Cold War and recognised with the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1990. Since leaving office, Gorbachev has continued to press for political reform both within Russia and on the international stage, establishing the Gorbachev Foundation which aims to promote democratic values and humanist principles worldwide. He has also consistently pushed for more concerted international efforts to tackle key global issues such as poverty and climate change, arguing that current leaders can learn much from the spirit of dialogue and cooperation that ended the Cold War.