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Mikhail Gorbachev, the former president of the Soviet Union, died Tuesday at the age of 91, The Associated Press reported, citing Russian news agencies.

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The TASS, RIA Novosti and Interfax agencies cited the Central Clinical Hospital.

Gorbachev is credited with ending the Cold War without bloodshed but failing to prevent the collapse of the Soviet Union, Reuters reported.

The state media reports said that he died after an unspecified “long and grave illness,” according to The New York Times.

Although brief, Gorbachev’s less than seven-year tenure, which began in March 1985, was considered transformational.

Per the Times: “Few leaders in the 20th century, indeed in any century, have had such a profound effect on their time. In little more than six tumultuous years, Mr. Gorbachev lifted the Iron Curtain, decisively altering the political climate of the world.”

Gorbachev’s downfall was almost as swift as his rise to power, however, with an attempted August 1991 coup leaving him powerless in his final months in office as “republic after republic declared independence until he resigned on Dec. 25, 1991,” according to the AP.

The Soviet Union dissolved the following day.

A quarter-century after the collapse, Gorbachev told the AP that he had not considered using widespread force to try to keep the USSR together because he feared chaos in a nuclear country.

“The country was loaded to the brim with weapons. And it would have immediately pushed the country into a civil war,” he said.

Gorbachev, who won the 1990 Nobel Peace Prize for his role in the Cold War’s demise, spent his later years collecting innumerable global accolades and awards, yet he was widely despised at home.

“I see myself as a man who started the reforms that were necessary for the country and for Europe and the world,” Gorbachev told the AP in a 1992 interview shortly after he left office.

“I am often asked, would I have started it all again if I had to repeat it? Yes, indeed. And with more persistence and determination,” he said.

Despite his frigid acceptance at home, the Times enumerated the following significant accomplishments that marked Gorbachev’s first five years in power:

  • He presided over an arms agreement with the United States that eliminated for the first time an entire class of nuclear weapons and began the withdrawal of most Soviet tactical nuclear weapons from Eastern Europe.
  • He withdrew Soviet forces from Afghanistan, a tacit admission that the 1979 invasion and the nine-year occupation had failed.
  • While he hedged at first, he eventually exposed the nuclear power-plant disaster at Chernobyl to public scrutiny.
  • He sanctioned multiparty elections in Soviet cities, a democratic reform that in many places drove stunned Communist leaders out of office.
  • He oversaw an attack on corruption in the upper echelons of the Communist Party, purging hundreds of bureaucrats from their posts.

According to TASS, the official Russian news agency, Gorbachev will be buried at Moscow’s Novodevichy cemetery next to his wife.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.