"The Gorbachev was the latest trophy"
Mikhail Gorbachev in 1987
Public DomainMikhail Gorbachev in 1987 - Credit: White House Photo Office

 Mikhail Gorbachev, who was born in 1931, was General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1985 to 1991, and President of the Soviet Union between 1990 and 1991.

He attempted to initiate far-reaching reforms in the way Soviet government and society was structured, and used the collective terms perestroika and glasnost to describe the proposed changes. These terms may be loosely translated as restructuring and openness.

In April 1989, President Gorbachev and his wife Raisa came to Britain on a two-day state visit.