Yakovlev, Aleksandr Nikolayevich

Yakovlev, Aleksandr Nikolayevich

(əlyĭksän`dər nyĭkəlī`əvĭch yä`kôvlĕf), 1923–2005, Russian historian and diplomat, b. Korolevo, studied Columbia Univ. (1958–59), Academy of Social Sciences, Moscow (Ph.D., 1960). Seriously wounded in World War II, he joined (1944) the Communist party and rose in its ranks, assuming top Soviet media posts during the 1960s. His criticism of Russian nationalism led to a demotion, and he was posted (1973–83) as ambassador to Canada. Returning to Moscow, he was Mikhail GorbachevGorbachev, Mikhail Sergeyevich
, 1931–, Soviet political leader. Born in the agricultural region of Stavropol, Gorbachev studied law at Moscow State Univ., where in 1953 he married a philosophy student, Raisa Maksimovna Titorenko (1932?–99).
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's closest and most influential adviser and became (1987) the Politburo member responsible for mass media. Throughout the 1980s he was a powerful advocate for the economic, political, and social reforms of perestroikaperestroika
, Soviet economic and social policy of the late 1980s. Perestroika [restructuring] was the term attached to the attempts (1985–91) by Mikhail Gorbachev to transform the stagnant, inefficient command economy of the Soviet Union into a decentralized
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 and glasnostglasnost
, Soviet cultural and social policy of the late 1980s. Following his ascension to the leadership of the USSR in 1985, Mikhail Gorbachev began to promote a policy of openness in public discussions about current and historical problems.
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. A champion of democratic change before and after the fall of the Soviet Union, Yakovlev also encouraged press freedom and played a key role in publicizing the horrors wrought by Lenin and Stalin.
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