Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev was born on March 2, 1931in Privolnoye, in  the far western region of the-then Soviet Union, also known as the North Caucasus (mountains). His father was a mechanic on a collective farm. Gorbachev suffered the ignomy of German occupation when, in 1942-1943, the area was under Nazi occupation (Gorbachev was 12 at the time).

In 1949, his political efforts were rewarded with the Order of Red Banner of Labor. In 1950, he enrolled in law school at the Faculty of Law, Moscow University where he learn the civil law system of the Soviet Union.

Gorbachev joined the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in 1952, even though both his grandfathers had been imprisoned - one brutally tortured and the other sent to Siberia - by Stalin's secret service.

Mikhail GorbachevOn March 5, 1953, Stalin died, midway through Gorbechev's tenure at law school. In his Memoirs, Gorbachev's writes that he was "deeply and sincerely moved .. a tragedy for our country".

That same year, he married philosophy student, Raisa Titorenko.

In 1955, he graduated from Moscow State University with a law degree. The subject of his graduation paper: the advantages of socialism over "bourgeois democracy".

After graduation, already deeply involved in Communist Party politics, a job was assured and he was placed in the Soviet Union's equivalent to ministry of the attorney general: the USSR prokuratura. But when he showed up on his first day, he was advised of a secret decree barring law school graduates from working in the central prokuratura. Bitterly disappointed and unemployed, Gorbachev retreated to Stavropol and got a job at the regional prokuratura.

But he was left profoundly disillusioned about a career in law in the Soviet Union. He quit his prokuratura job and took a political job which he describes in his Memoirs as "deputy head of the agitation and propaganda department".

And that was it for his career in law. Gorbachev dedicated himself to being a good communist and he rose steadily through the ranks.

In 1985, with the death of the incumbent, he was appointed Supreme Leader of the Soviet Union.

During his tenure, good for the world but disastrous for the Soviet Union, the Communist Party lost its stranglehold on political power and eventually leading to the dissolution of the Soviet Union into Russia and a number of smaller but independent states. reflecting on the changes in Europe, Time Magazine named Gorbachev Man of the year in 1989 and wrote:

"The magician who set loose these forces is a career party functionary, faithful communist, charismatic politician, international celebrity and impresario of calculated disorder named Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev. He calls what he is doing—and permitting—a revolution. His has (so far) been a bloodless revolution, without the murderous, conspiratorial associations that the word has carried in the past."

In 1990, Mikhail Gorbachev was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize because, under his leadership, and according to the Nobel presentation speech:

"Ancient European nations, such as Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary and East Germany ... have regained their freedom".

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