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1988

Mikhail Gorbachev becomes head of Supreme Soviet

Having forced the resignation of Soviet leader Andrei Gromyko, Mikhail Gorbachev names himself head of the Supreme Soviet. Within two years, he was named “Man of the Decade” by Time magazine for his role in bringing the Cold War to a close. Beginning in 1985, when he became general secretary of the Communist Party in the USSR, Gorbachev moved forward to both liberalize the Soviet economy (perestroika) and political life (glasnost), as well as decrease tensions with the United States. By late 1991, the Soviet Union was moving toward dissolution, and Gorbachev retired from office in December 1991.

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