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Mikhail Gorbachev (born on 2 March 1931) was the seventh and final General Secretary of the Soviet Union from 1985 to 1991. He was largely responsible for the fall of Communism and introduction of capitalism in Russia. In addition, he led the Soviet pullout from Afghanistan in 1989.
He was a 1955 law graduate of the Moscow State University. While at the university, he joined the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and became an active member. As a rising star in the Party, he was known for advocated for better conditions for farmers. In 1979, he became a member of the Politburo, one of the most powerful government agencies in the nation. When Konstantin Chernenko, General Secretary, died in 1985 after only one year of leadership, it was decided that a younger man would be better fit for the job. At 54, Gorbachev was appointed General Secretary.
As General Secretary, Gorbachev began relaxing the censorship of the press and reforming the economy. Also, he looked for a way out of Afghanistan. By 1991, Gorbachev's reforms led to the secession of the republics from the Soviet Union. After the dissolution was complete, Gorbachev resigned.