Gorbachev, Mikhail (March 2, 1931-)
Mikhail Gorbachev served as General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) from 1985 to 1991. He was also the first and last Executive President of the Soviet Union from 1990 to 1991. Gorbachev graduated from Moscow State University with a degree in Law in 1955, and became active within the Communist Party of the Soviet Union during his time as a student. As General Secretary of the CPSU, Gorbachev attempted reforms within the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) that greatly contributed to the end of the Cold War and the political supremacy of the CPSU. After a failed coup attempt to depose him in 1991, he effectively lost power as the old Soviet Union crumbled and Boris Yeltsin became the head of the new Russia. For his efforts to restore peace Gorbachev was awarded the Otto Hahn Peace Medal in 1989, the Nobel Peace Prize in 1990 and the Harvey Prize in 1992, as well as receiving honorary doctorates from the University of Calgary in 1993 and Trinity College in 2002, amongst others. He continues to be active in world politics and foundation and charity work.