Mikhail Gorbachev, the last leader of the Soviet Union, has died. He was 91 years old at the time of his death.

Russian news agencies reported this information on Tuesday, citing doctors.

Gorbachev died Tuesday night in a Moscow hospital, TASS and RIA Novosti news agencies reported. He was suffering from illness for a long time. He will be buried next to his wife Raisa at the Novodevichy Cemetery in Moscow.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed his deepest condolences over Gorbachev’s death.

Gorbachev was the President of the Soviet Union from 1985 to 1991. Gorbachev came to power in 1985 at the age of 54 and was appointed general secretary and chief leader of the country’s Communist Party. When communism fell in the Soviet Union in 1990, he was appointed the country’s first and only president.

He resigned on December 25, 1991, the day of the official dissolution of the Soviet Union. Gorbachev’s resignation marked the end of the four-decade-long Cold War. He was a proponent of perestroika (restructuring) and glasnost (openness).

His Glasnost or openness policy allowed people to criticize the government in a way that was previously unthinkable. But it unleashed nationalistic sentiments in many parts of the country which eventually led to its downfall. He could not prevent the downfall of his country in 1991. Many Russians therefore blame him and his reformist policies for the collapse of the Soviet Union.

He signed an arms control agreement with the United States. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1990.

He made an ill-fated attempt to return to political life in 1996. Only 0.5 percent of the votes were cast in the presidential elections held at that time.

(31 Aug/MI/ES)