Mikhail Gorbachev

(Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev)

Mikhail Gorbachev
Mikhail Gorbachev
  • Born: March 2, 1931
  • Nationality: Russian
  • Profession: Writer









Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev is a Russian and formerly Soviet politician. He was the eighth and last leader of the Soviet Union, having been General Secretary of the governing Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1985 until 1991. He was the country's head of state from 1988 until 1991, serving as Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet from 1988 to 1989, Chairman of the Supreme Soviet from 1989 to 1990, and President of the Soviet Union from 1990 to 1991. Ideologically a socialist, he initially adhered to Marxism-Leninism although following the Soviet collapse moved toward social democracy.

Quote Topics Cited
[In a nuclear era:] It is necessary for all [nations] to feel they are equally secure. Defense & National Security
[On Russia's civil disorder:] Comrade deputies, the most essential thing now is to overcome the crisis, to restore order in the country. Rebellion, Revolution, Insurgency & Resistance
[Urging a referendum:] The issue of private ownership of land is too critical a decision to be left to the government. Voters, Voting & Elections
A magazine, a publishing house, or a newspaper is not a personal affair; it is the affair of the party. Media, Journalism & The Press
A revolution should be constantly developed. There must be no marking time.... Should we again get stuck, we are in for trouble. Therefore—only forward! Rebellion, Revolution, Insurgency & Resistance
Actually, I'm going around in circles. Management & Managing Government
All of us today are learning democracy. We are only now forming a political culture. Democracies & Republics
America remains an open society in which opposing forces can surface and clash, a necessary precondition for their solution. Policy & Policy Making
Americans have a severe disease --- worse than AIDS. It's called the winner's complex. Expansionism, Colonialism & Imperialism
Any initiative which patently served the interests of society was immediately viewed with suspicion and even with overt hostility. Why was our system so unresponsive to renewal and innovation? Reform, Change, Transformation & Reformers
Apart from undeniable gains, there are still daily cares largely preventing women from enjoying their rights fully. Equality & Equal Opportunity
Democracy is the wholesome and pure air without which a socialist public organization cannot live a full-blooded life. Life ;Democracies & Republics
Democracy should be home grown. Democracies & Republics
Democratization was not a slogan, but the essence of Perestroika. Reform, Change, Transformation & Reformers
Do you think that we are so talented that we can achieve in 200 days what you have achieved in 200 years. Democracies & Republics
Each of us in our time in high office had our ample share of severe critics. But only we actually knew, far better than our worst critics ever dreamed, how truly fallible and all-too-human each of us really was. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
For a new type of progress throughout the world to become a reality, everyone must change. Tolerance is the alpha and omega of a new world order. Reform, Change, Transformation & Reformers
Freedom of choice is a universal principle that ... applies both to the capitalist and the socialist system. Freedom & Liberty
History is a fickle lady. History
History punishes those who come too late. History
I consider it no longer possible to carry out my duties as General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Soviet Union and I relinquish corresponding authority. Miscellaneous
I didn't know what country I represented anymore. Presidency, Vice Presidency & Prime Ministership
I should have sent him somewhere as an ambassador. The world’s a big place.
I was haunted by the constant awareness that I might be required to calculate and decide in an instant of time whether some kind of nuclear action might be required in response to a real or imagined or mistaken attack perceived to be under way against my country. Nuclear, Chemical & Biological Weapons & Energy
I will never abuse power if elected.... This country [Russia] can never again fall under the influence of a dictator. Power ;Dictators, Despots, Autocrats, Autocracies & Dictatorships
If you try to smooth out society with a hot iron, you're liable to drive out all talent. Reform, Change, Transformation & Reformers
In many cases democracy has not been able to solve the social problems like poverty. Poverty
In this situation [perestroika] problems and difficulties are unavoidable. For it involves far-reaching changes in everything—in the way of life, the attitude toward work and civic duty. We have chosen, definitively and irrevocably, the route leading to new forms of life: democratizing our society in all spheres. Democracies & Republics
Is it an American pen? In that case, I will use it. Miscellaneous
It will not be enough to rely on experts. Ordinary citizens must become experts too. It will take public opinion on a wide scale to ensure that world leaders act. Public Opinion & Polling
Mr. President, you won’t even sell milk technology to us. Arms Race & Disarmament
No party has a monopoly over what is right. Political Parties & Machines
Nobody obeys my instructions. Leaders & Leadership
Our intention is not to replace socialism by some other system, but to reinforce it. Reform, Change, Transformation & Reformers
Our rockets can find Halley's comet, and fly to Venus with amazing accuracy, but side by side with these scientific and technical triumphs is an obvious lack of efficiency in using scientific achievements for economic needs, and many Soviet household appliances are of poor quality. Space Exploration
Our strength lies in the free development of national cultures. True internationalism is possible only if one has a profound respect for the dignity, honor, culture and history of each people. Miscellaneous
Peace is movement towards globality and universality of civilization War & Peace
People like to hear promises. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
Perestroika is our last chance. If we stop, it will be our death. Miscellaneous
Pluralism of opinions is not dissent but democratic centralism understood in a new way. Civil Disorder, Riots, Protests & Demonstrations
Russia doesn’t like it when it is humiliated, when it is pressured. Foreign Policy, World & International Affairs
The guilt of Stalin and his immediate entourage before the Party and the people for the mass repressions and lawlessness they committed is enormous and unforgivable. Miscellaneous
The market is not an invention of capitalism …. It is an invention of civilization. Economics, The Economy & Fiscal Affairs ;Capitalism
The nuclear threat is a direct product of the cult of force that has dominated the world for centuries. Nuclear, Chemical & Biological Weapons & Energy
The old system collapsed before a new one could be created. Rebellion, Revolution, Insurgency & Resistance
The party cannot relinquish its leading role in the economy. Economics, The Economy & Fiscal Affairs
The Soviet model was defeated not only on the economic and social levels, it was defeated on a cultural level. Our society, our people, the most educated, the most intellectual, rejected that model on the cultural level because it did not respect the man. It oppressed him spiritually and politically. States. Nations & Nationhood
The soviet people want full-blooded and unconditional democracy. Government ;Democracies & Republics
The World Doesn’t Want to Be American Expansionism, Colonialism & Imperialism ;Foreign Policy, World & International Affairs
There are many people who want simple solutions, but there are none ... nor will there be. Management & Managing Government
There is one phase of our competition which should be brought under control —competing with each other in fueling the arms race in the Third World.... Most of these countries are desperately poor, and they need economic assistance far more than they need additional arms .... Even thought these are only non-nuclear arms, they are instrumentalities of war, and small wars always have the potential of escalating into nuclear wars. Foreign Aid ;Foreign Policy, World & International Affairs
Those who cling to the past won't give up without a fight. Reform, Change, Transformation & Reformers
To exercise self-determination through secession is to blow apart the union, to pit peoples against one another and to sow discord, bloodshed and death. This is precisely the goal of secessionists in all republics. States. Nations & Nationhood
We are opposed to doctrines that seek to justify the export of revolution. Rebellion, Revolution, Insurgency & Resistance ;Foreign Policy, World & International Affairs
We have abandoned the claim to have a monopoly on the truth. Miscellaneous
We have institutions, but they don’t work. We have laws, but they must be enforced. Compliments, Insults & Rebukes
We have lost control over the financial system ... by printing much more money than in previous years. Money, Coins & Minting
We launched perestroika [openness and restructuring] with our eyes open. We foresaw the complexity and the special nature of that process, realizing that it would shake up thoroughly our entire society. We were not wrong.... As for the difficulties—and they do exist—we accept them as a natural expression of contradictions inherent in a transition period. Reform, Change, Transformation & Reformers
We must treat water as if it were the most precious thing in the world, the most valuable natural resource. Be economical with water! Don't waste it! We still have time to do something about this problem before it is too late…. The shortage of fresh water is the major ecological problem of this moment. Environment & Environmentalism
We need a strong state but we need a democratic one. Democracies & Republics
With Yeltsin, the Soviet Union broke apart, the country was totally mismanaged, the constitution was not respected by the regions of Russia. The army, education and health systems collapsed. People in the West quietly applauded, dancing with and around Yeltsin. I conclude therefore that we should not pay too much attention to what the West is saying. Management & Managing Government
Without glasnost there is not, and there cannot be, democratism, the political creativity of the masses and their participation in management. Management & Managing Government
Without the U. N., world politics is inconceivable. United Nations
You cannot have socialism without democracy. Democracies & Republics
You say that NATO is not directed against us, that it is simply a security structure that is adapting to new realities. Therefore, we propose to join NATO. Diplomacy & Diplomats ;Foreign Policy, World & International Affairs
A society should never become like a pond with stagnant water, without movement. That's the most important thing. Society
America must be the teacher of democracy, not the advertiser of the consumer society. It is unrealistic for the rest of the world to reach the American living standard. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training ;Society
Certain people in the United States are driving nails into this structure of our relationship, then cutting off the heads. So the Soviets must use their teeth to pull them out.
Democracy must learn to defend itself. Government
Every country should conduct its own reforms, should develop its own model, taking into account the experience of other countries, whether close neighbours or far away countries.
Ex-Presidents of the United States get state subsidies. Not so in Russia. You get no government support. Government
I am a Communist, a convinced Communist! For some that may be a fantasy. But to me it is my main goal.
I believe, as Lenin said, that this revolutionary chaos may yet crystallize into new forms of life. Life
I couldn't wait to get to the most powerful position, because I thought then I would be able to fix problems that only the leader can fix. But when I got there, I realized we needed revolutionary change.
I don't think Russia is setting this as a goal; I don't think this should be Russia's goal. I think even the United States doesn't need to be a superpower. China doesn't need to be a superpower. It's a different world.
I grew up in a family of peasants, and it was there that I saw the way that, for example, our wheat fields suffered as a result of dust storms, water erosion and wind erosion; I saw the effect of that on life - on human life. Life ;Families, Children & Parenting
I paid too heavy a price for perestroika. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
I say again that I am an atheist. I do not believe in God. Religion & God
I think God has some mechanism that he uses to punish those that make mistakes. Religion & God
I think the environmental problem will be the number one item on the agenda of the 21st century... This is a problem that cannot be postponed.
I think we need more young people; we need to elect young people to government. We need to give them a chance, in the media, in politics, in democracy. Government ;Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
If current technological processes continue without change, the environment will change, and we, the human species, will either have to mutate or even die, to disappear, as many species have disappeared.
If not me, who? And if not now, when?
If people don't like Marxism, they should blame the British Museum.
If what you have done yesterday still looks big to you, you haven't done much today.
Imagine a country that flies into space, launches Sputniks, creates such a defense system, and it can't resolve the problem of women's pantyhose. There's no toothpaste, no soap powder, not the basic necessities of life. It was incredible and humiliating to work in such a government. Life ;Women ;Work, Workers & The Labor Force
It is better to discuss things, to argue and engage in polemics than make perfidious plans of mutual destruction.
It seems that the most important thing about Reagan was his anti-Communism and his reputation as a hawk who saw the Soviet Union as an 'evil empire.'
It would be naive to think that the problems plaguing mankind today can be solved with means and methods which were applied or seemed to work in the past. Work, Workers & The Labor Force
Jesus was the first socialist, the first to seek a better life for mankind. Life
More socialism means more democracy, openness and collectivism in everyday life. Life
My life's work has been accomplished. I did all that I could. Life ;Work, Workers & The Labor Force
On the day I became Soviet leader, in March 1985, I had a special meeting with the leaders of the Warsaw Pact countries and told them: 'You are independent, and we are independent. You are responsible for your policies, we are responsible for ours. We will not intervene in your affairs, I promise you.'
Political leaders still think things can be done through force, but that cannot solve terrorism. Backwardness is the breeding ground of terror, and that is what we have to fight.
Sometimes it's difficult to accept, to recognise one's own mistakes, but one must do it. I was guilty of overconfidence and arrogance, and I was punished for that.
Sometimes people ask me why I began perestroika. Were the causes basically domestic or foreign? The domestic reasons were undoubtedly the main ones, but the danger of nuclear war was so serious that it was a no less significant factor. War & Peace
Sometimes when you stand face to face with someone, you cannot see his face.
Starting reforms in the Soviet Union was only possible from above, only from above. Any attempt to go from below was suppressed, suppressed in a most resolute way.
Surely, God on high has not refused to give us enough wisdom to find ways to bring us an improvement in relations between the two great nations on earth. Religion & God
The market came with the dawn of civilization and it is not an invention of capitalism. If it leads to improving the well-being of the people there is no contradiction with socialism.
The market is not an invention of capitalism. It has existed for centuries. It is an invention of civilization.
The world will not accept dictatorship or domination. Government
There should be competition and exchanges between different countries, but there are certainly certain universal values, and that is freedom and democracy. Freedom & Liberty
We are not abandoning our convictions, our philosophy or traditions, nor do we urge anyone to abandon theirs.
We could only solve our problems by cooperating with other countries. It would have been paradoxical not to cooperate. And therefore we needed to put an end to the Iron Curtain, to change the nature of international relations, to rid them of ideological confrontation, and particularly to end the arms race. Nature
What about Jesus Christ? I say that he was a precursor of idealists; a precursor of socialists.
What we need is Star Peace and not Star Wars. War & Peace
Without perestroika, the cold war simply would not have ended. But the world could not continue developing as it had, with the stark menace of nuclear war ever present. War & Peace
You cannot put Russia down on its knees and hold it there because Russia will ultimately pull out.