Mikhail Gorbachev

Georgi Arbatov: Political scientist whose calming counsel helped bring

In his own estimation, Georgi Arbatov had more to do with the ending of the Cold War than any other Soviet person, Mikhail Gorbachev included. This may seem like extraordinary vanity. Indeed, it was. But I think that his claim was no more than the truth. He was the senior American policy expert, or "Amerikanist", in the Soviet Communist Party in the last 20 years of the Cold War. He was the public face of the Kremlin for a whole generation of television viewers in the United States.

The workers united: The strike that shook the Kremlin

Thirty years ago, a trade union forced the Communist Party into a retreat that marked the beginning of the end of Soviet Europe. Solidarity's legacy – for Poland and beyond – mustn't be forgotten, writes Neal Ascherson

In memory of Raisa

Mikhail Gorbachev flies to London for a charity event in honour of his late wife.

The Diary: Gorbachev gala; Jacques Mesrine; Nigel Kennedy; Attica

An original, signed Francis Bacon triptych is one of the remarkable items up for auction at the Raisa Gorbachev Foundation Annual Gala, which raises money for cancer care in Russia and Marie Curie in Britain. The work was kept by the late artist in his private collection at his 7 Reece Mews studio in London and, after his death, treasured by his lover, John Edwards, who died in 2003. The foundation's patron, Mikhail Gorbachev, whose late wife it is named after, and chair, Evgeny Lebedev, who is also chairman of Independent Print Ltd, publishers of The Independent, are hoping money raised in the fifth annual gala will exceed the £1.1m generated last year at a star-studded event in the grounds of Stud House in Hampton Court Park. Other lots under the hammer include a pair of tickets to the 2011 FA Cup final at Wembley, lunch with the actor Kevin Spacey, and a dinner cooked by the model-turned-chef Sophie Dahl, with musical accompaniment by Jamie Cullum. Those of a frothier disposition can bid for a jelly wrestle with Lara Stone, refereed by David Walliams.

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