Russian National Orchestra

Mikhail Gorbachev

Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev, one of the leading statesmen of our time, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1990. In making its presentation, the Nobel Committee cited his contributions to arms control and disarmament, improved relations between East and West, and the historic reforms underway in his own country. These significant accomplishments reflect the vision that characterized President Gorbachev's leadership.

Born in 1931 in the Stavropol region of the North Caucasus, Gorbachev grew up on a collective farm where his father worked at a tractor station. He graduated from Moscow University in 1955 with a degree in law, returned to Stavropol and was rapidly promoted in the local political hierarchy. Taking a second degree, in agriculture, Gorbachev entered the national scene, moved to Moscow as Secretary of Agriculture in the Central Committee and, in 1980, became the youngest full member of the Politburo.

He shaped and advocated his policies of perestroika (new thinking) and glasnost (openness) throughout the 1980s, from increasingly powerful platforms. Named in 1985 General Secretary of the Central Committee, at that time the country's most influential post, Gorbachev was elected the first President of the Soviet Union by a reformed parliament in 1989.

In 1990 pianist and conductor Mikhail Pletnev approached Gorbachev with an idea as revolutionary as the principles of glasnost and perestroika: to create an orchestra completely free of government control. Gorbachev endorsed Pletnev's dream and the Russian National Orchestra was born. He has maintained an affiliation with the RNO ever since.

As a private citizen, Mikhail Gorbachev remains a presence on the international stage. He heads The International Non-Governmental Foundation for Socio-Economic and Political Studies (The Gorbachev Foundation). Long concerned about threatened natural resources worldwide, he founded and is president of Green Cross International. He has selected this environmental organization to receive his royalties from proceeds of the sale of this CD. For information about Green Cross International, please visit www.greencrossinternational.net.