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Last Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev dies

Mikhail Gorbachev: Photo AP

Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev has died aged 91.

BBC says Mr Gorbachev, who took over in 1985, is best known for opening up the USSR and for his rapprochement with the West, but he was unable to prevent his country collapsing in 1991.

He presided over the dissolution of a Soviet Union that had existed for nearly 70 years and had dominated huge swathes of Asia and Eastern Europe.

Yet, when he set out his programme of reforms in 1985, his sole intention had been to revive his country’s stagnant economy and overhaul its political processes.

His efforts became the catalyst for a series of events that brought an end to communist rule, not just within the USSR, but also across its former satellite states.

Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev was born on 2 March 1931 in the Stavropol region of southern Russia.

The hospital where he died said he had been suffering from a long and serious illness.

Editing by Hadiza Abdulrahman, Omotola Oguneye