Former Soviet President, Mikhail Gorbachev, admitted to hospital for tests


Rupert Cornwell
Tuesday 11 June 2013 19:58
Mikhail Gorbachev, the last President of the Soviet Union
Mikhail Gorbachev, the last President of the Soviet Union

Mikhail Gorbachev, the last President of the Soviet Union, has been admitted to the Kremlin hospital in Moscow for tests, amid growing concern over his health.

The 82-year-old complained of health problems at a lecture in March, and a month later illness prevented him from attending the funeral of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. His spokesman described the tests as “routine” but gave no other details.

Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union on 25 December 1991, Mr Gorbachev – whose policies of perestroika (restructuring) and glasnost attempted to reform the Communist system from within – has run a foundation for political, social and economic studies.

But he has always been far more popular abroad than in his own country. Mrs Thatcher famously described him as a “man we can do business with”, and in the West, he is generally regarded as a brave reformer who signed major arms agreements with the US and hastened the end of the Cold War.

When he took power in March 1985, Russians too regarded him as a breath of youthful fresh air, in contrast to his aged and infirm predecessors. Today, however, Mr Gorbachev is mainly remembered for the economic chaos that marked the later stages of his six years in office, and widely blamed for the break-up of the country and Russia’s loss of superpower status.

In a poll in May, Russians rated him as the country’s worst leader of the 20th century – the most successful was Leonid Brezhnev, leader from 1964 to 1982.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in