The former Soviet head of state Mikhail Gorbachev is dead. The most important stages in the life of the Russian Nobel Peace Prize winner:

March 2, 1931: Born in the North Caucasian village of Privolnoye (Stavropol Territory). The son of a kolkhoz farmer initially works as a combine harvester mechanic. He is unfit for military service.

1950: Studied law at Moscow’s Lomonosov University. There Gorbachev met his future wife Raissa (1932-1999).

1952: After joining the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (KPdSU), a steep political career follows. In 1971 he became a member of the Central Committee and in 1980 he was promoted to the Politburo. As a representative of the Supreme Soviet, he helped shape Kremlin policy.

March 11, 1985: At the age of 54, he is elected the second youngest general secretary in party history against the resistance of old communist cadres. Gorbachev initiates a historic reform policy of glasnost (openness) and perestroika (transformation).

1988: In a speech to the United Nations in New York, he announces unilateral disarmament steps. The echo is positive worldwide. In addition, after a ten-year military fiasco, Gorbachev withdraws Soviet troops from Afghanistan.

October 7, 1989: During a visit to East Berlin, the famous phrase comes up: “He who comes too late will be punished by life” – although he is said to have never said the sentence like that.

July 16, 1990: Gorbachev agrees to German reunification at a meeting with Chancellor Helmut Kohl in the Caucasus.

1990: Gorbachev, now officially President of the Soviet Union, receives the Nobel Peace Prize. The head of state plays a leading role in the peace process, the committee explains the election.

1991: Gorbachev survives a putsch by party officials. But more and more Soviet republics are breaking away from Moscow. As a result, Gorbachev resigned as president on December 25.

1992: The Gorbachev Foundation begins its work in Moscow. Internationally, the ex-president remains a sought-after discussion guest. In Russian daily politics, his voice has been barely heard for many years. In the Ukraine crisis, he speaks up again more often.

2001-2009: Gorbachev is involved in the Petersburg Dialogue, a civil society forum between Germany and Russia.

August 30, 2022: Gorbachev dies in Moscow at the age of 91.