Photos: Mikhail Gorbachev dies; Soviet Union’s last leader helped end Cold War


Mikhail S. Gorbachev, the Soviet leader whose vision of humane communism liberated millions, bridled the global arms race and knocked down the walls dividing East and West, has died, according to Russian news agencies.Gorbachev, who had been in declining health due to acute diabetes, was 91 and had been undergoing treatment at a hospital, according the agencies.One of the most influential politicians of the 20th century, Gorbachev used his six years as head of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union to systematically dismantle the machinery of repression. People try to block a personnel carrier from advancing near Red Square in Moscow on Aug. 19, 1991. (Boris Yurchenko / Associated Press) Russian President Boris Yeltsin makes a V-for-victory sign to thousands of Muscovites during a rally on Aug. 22, 1991, in front of the Russian Federation building to celebrate the failure of the coup against Mikhail S. Gorbachev. With him is his top associate Gennady Burbulis, right. (Alexander Zemlianichenko / Associated Press) President Reagan makes his “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” speech in front of the Brandenburg Gate in West Berlin on June 12, 1987.(Roberto Pfeil / Associated Press ) Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev holds notes given to him by Russian President Boris Yeltsin, right, during a special session of the Russian Federation Parliament in Moscow on Aug. 23, 1991. (Boris Yurchenko / Associated Press) After a meeting in New York, President Reagan, Vice President George H.W. Bush and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev pose with the World Trade Center in the background.(Bettmann Archive) British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher listens to Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev speak at Downing Street after their talks in London on April 6, 1989. (Associated Press ) Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, talks with former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev at the start of a news conference in Schleswig, Germany, on Dec. 21, 2004. (Heribert Proepper / Associated Press) Mikhail Gorbachev, center, and other Politburo members attend the International Women’ s Day Gala at the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow on March 7, 1985. (Boris Yurchenko / Associated Press) Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, left, and President Reagan during the signing of the intermediate-range nuclear forces treaty, which bans the use of such missiles, in Washington on Dec. 8, 1987. (Bettmann Archive) Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev speaks to Lithuanians at the Lenin monument in Vilnius on Jan. 11, 1990. (Victor Yurchenko / Associated Press) Former President Reagan and former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev at Reagan’s Rancho del Cielo north of Santa Barbara on May 2, 1992.(Bob Galbraith / Associated Press)