Joshua Sanborn, professor of history and chair of Russian and East European Studies, presented a lecture Oct. 3 entitled “Mikhail Gorbachev and the End of the Cold War” to prepare the community and students for the former Soviet president’s visit to campus Wednesday, Oct. 19.
During his talk in the Williams Center for the Arts, Sanborn called Gorbachev one of the most significant political figures in world history and credited him with ending the Cold War.
“He did more than any other individual to bring the conflict to an end,” he said.
Sanborn discussed Gorbachev’s rise in the Communist Party and his policies of glasnost (political openness) and perestroika (governmental and political restructuring), as well as his initiation of radical arms reduction talks with U.S. President Ronald Reagan. Although he was adored by British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and trusted by Reagan, his popularity in his own country waned, and in 1991 he was overthrown in a coup by Communist hardliners. He was restored to power, but resigned shortly after.