The Life and Legacy of Gorbachev

To think as he did, that he could democratize the Soviet Union...to believe that he might be able to create a market economy...to believe all of these things required a tremendous amount of optimism.

Mikhail Gorbachev, revered by many in the West for his commitment to "openness" and democratizing reforms, has a more mixed reputation in Russia, where he is associated with the fall of an empire. In this episode, William Taubman discusses his new biography of Gorbachev, emphasizing how the leader's personal history and character were reflected in his leadership, and how the policies of Vladimir Putin can be read as a response to Gorbachev’s contested legacy.


Referenced in this Episode

Gorbachev: His Life and Times by William Taubman

More books by William Taubman

Associate Director, Davis Center

As the Davis Center's associate director, Cris Martin oversees events and educator outreach and supports strategic and program development across the center.

Bertrand Snell Professor of Political Science, Emeritus, Amherst College