October 6, 2022

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Gorbachev’s marriage, like his politics, broke the mold

Mikhail Gorbachev was laid to rest Saturday in Moscow’s Novodevichy Cemetery next to his wife, Raisa, with whom he shared the world stage in a visibly close and loving marriage that was unprecedented for a Soviet leader.

“They were a true pair. She was a part of him, almost always at his side,” then Chancellor Helmut Kohl of Germany said at Raisa’s funeral in 1999, where Gorbachev wept openly. “Much of what he achieved is simply unimaginable without his wife.”

Gorbachev’s very public devotion to his family broke the stuffy mold of previous Soviet leaders, just as his openness to political reform did.