The Soviet leader forged relationships with the west, giving way to the demise of the Iron Curtain and ending the divide of Europe, according to Reuters. In 1990, Gorbachev received a Nobel Peace Prize for his accomplishments in Europe. He is also widely known for his efforts to reform communism.
“Well, perestroika — that is to say, restructuring of the Soviet system — was not an idea born from scratch. It was not some revelation of mine or a dozen other people. It came about because our country, our society, which was a very well-educated society, one of the best educated societies, already rejected the system of total control, of suppressing dissidents and such like,” Gorbachev told PBS in 2001.
“The lack of freedoms was being rejected at the cultural level. The people had outgrown the system; that was quite clear. We knew what kind of country we had. It was the most militarized, the most centralized, the most rigidly disciplined; it was stuffed with nuclear weapons and other weapons,” he explained.