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First Soviet president Gorbachev turns 90

Gorbachev served on the top post for six years

MOSCOW, March 2. /TASS/. The first and last president of the Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev marks his 90th birthday on Tuesday.

Gorbachev served on the top post for six years. Shortly after his appointment as the General Secretary of the Communist Party in 1985 he chaired the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union (legislative body) and suggested creating the post of a president and abolishing an article of the Constitution on the leading role of the party.

Many languages across the world at that moment added Russian words "perestroika" and "glasnost."

Today Gorbachev is still sure that his decisions were right, describing perestroika as the greatest achievement of his life, for it helped abolish the totalitarian system. "Perestroika, of course, and everything that goes with it," he told TASS in an interview. "It is my profound conviction that perestroika was necessary, and that we were moving in the right direction. Our greatest achievement inside the country was that people gained freedom and put an end to the totalitarian system."

Also, he recalled such major foreign policy achievements as the end of the Cold War and drastic nuclear arms cuts.

Gorbachev stepped down as the Soviet president on December 25, 1991, and then the Soviet Union collapsed. Many years later, Gorbachev believes that the USSR could have been saved by reforming it. Now he is proposing to adopt a program to mend relations with those former Soviet republics with which "there is a discord."

In 1990, Gorbachev was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize as a recognition of his huge achievements as a prominent politician and reformer.

After his resignation, Gorbachev remains a full-fledged member of an informal club of world leaders and maintains relations with presidents, heads of government and top officials. He received honorary doctorate at more than 30 universities around the world, takes part in the activity of many international organizations and gives lectures, writes books and is actively engaged in charity. Besides the Gorbachev Foundation, he set up the World Political Forum, the Nobel Peace Prize Laureates Forum, the Green Cross International environmentalist organization and the Petersburg Dialogue Russian-German forum.