Dissertations and Theses

Date of Award


Document Type



International Relations


M.Gorbachev, Cold War, Soviet Union


"The role of a political leader has always been important for understanding both domestic and world politics. The most significant historical events are usually associated in our minds with the images of the people who were directly involved and who were in charge of the most crucial decisions at that particular moment in time. Thus, analyzing the American Civil War, we always mention the great role and the achievements of Abraham Lincoln as the president of the United States. We cannot forget about the actions of such charismatic leaders as Adolf Hitler, Josef Stalin, Winston Churchill, and Franklin D. Roosevelt when we think about the brutal events and the outcome of the World War II. Or, for example, the Cuban Missile Crisis and its peaceful solution went down in history highlighting roles of John F. Kennedy and Nikita Khrushchev in the tense negotiations during the confrontation. This thesis is built as a single-case study discovering the personality of Mikhail Gorbachev as a leader and his role in the peaceful solution of the Cold War. It shows how particular social and political-economic backgrounds shaped certain features of his character, and how those features influenced his political decisions later on. Mikhail Gorbachev, the first and the last President of the USSR, is a perfect example of a leader who acted in a new unique historical situation without much of theoretical guidance from the past. Under Gorbachev, the Soviet Union started to shift from socialism towards a new political regime that entitled significant changes in international politics."


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