8 facts you didn’t know about Mijaíl Gorbachev, from the Locomía song to his Grammy award

On Tuesday afternoon, the world was shaken by the news of the death of the last president of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Sergeevich Gorbachev, who lost the battle against “a long illness” at the age of 91, sources from the Central Clinical Hospital reported to the RIA Nóvosti agency.

Gorbachev, went down in history as the ‘father of Perestroika’a reformist policy that, faced with the nation’s economic decline, was inclined to change the model towards a market economy.

During the period from 1985 to 1991 and under his mandate, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics it experienced a series of sudden changes that resulted in the dissolution of the power that confronted the United States during the 20th century.

However, the man who managed get your country out of the ‘Cold War’, without spilling blood, he also ventured into activities so curious and diverse that they would not seem to correspond to the figure of one of the leaders of the most powerful countries in the world.

Gorbachev, the Locomía song and Werner Herzog’s documentary

Gorbachev’s death revived the most diverse episodes that inspired his life and history as a song by the Locomía group named: “Gorbachev”, who also appeared in an animated series, which is a reference in popular culture worldwide: The Simpson.

He was also the inspiration for the documentary by Werner Herzog, Meeting Gorbachev, in which the great admiration for the former president is mentioned. The song by the Spanish electro-pop group also appears in the documentary.

One of the verses of the song ‘Gorbachev’, details the Perestroika reform, promoted and defended by Gorbachev, as well as the phrase: ‘He knows how to command’


‘Gorbachev is Perestroika, Gorbachev is disarm, Gorbachev is convincing, he knows how to command‘, reads the lyrics of the song.

In the field of documentary film, Werner Herzog scripted and directed the 2018 documentary, Meeting Gorbachev in which, over an hour and 30 minutes, he delves into the life of the former Soviet leader and features an interview with the protagonist himself.

Gorbachev as ‘brand ambassador

In the 1990s, the former Soviet leader appeared in a commercial to some extent satirical, about the last years of the USSR… for an American brand.

This is Pizza Hut. In it, Gorbachev and his alleged granddaughter arrive at a pizzeria branch in Moscow. Several diners recognize him and one who appears to be older begins to reproach that Russia’s economy and politics are in chaos because of him, while one of the young people assures that thanks to the politician, they enjoy more freedom.

“Thanks to him we have many things… like Pizza Hut,” replies the apparent ‘matriarch’ of the family, to which all the diners reply with a ‘toast’ in honor of Gorbachev with their slices of pizza.

The commercial was broadcast internationally (including in Mexico), but not in Russia, the magazine reported. Newsweekwhere the figure of Gorbachev was unpopular after the disintegration of the Soviet Union.

How ‘hated’ was the ‘father of Perestroika’ after the fall of the USSR? In 1996, Russia held its first-ever presidential election, and Gorbachev was one of several candidates to be eliminated in the first round. The ‘humiliating’ thing is that he didn’t even meet 1 percent of the votes of the elections.

Years later, in 2007, Gorbachev would pose for Annie Leibovitz’s lens in one of the campaigns for the Louis Vuitton luxury brand.

In an interview for SputnikPável Palázhchenko, spokesman for the Gorbachev Foundation, explained why the politician agreed to film these commercials that, in theory, “collided” with what was promoted by socialism.

According to the spokesman, the money earned by the last leader of the USSR was invested in his charities that They helped, among others, children suffering from leukemia.

As Palázhchenko revealed, in this way, Gorbachev sought to earn money to later invest it in his charities, such as the Gorbachev Foundation or the International Green Cross.

His appearance in the video game Street Fighter II

Gorbachev was one of the most influential men of the last century as he received the Nobel Peace Prizein 1990, due to his role for the reunification of Germany and the end of the cold warAnd till won a grammy in 2004, for the best spoken word album (short stories) for children (Prokofiev: Peter and the Wolf/Beintus: Wolf Footprints)

In the eighties he had a more unusual appearance than in The Simpson, being part of the video game Street Fighter II, in which he steps down from a helicopter to congratulate the Soviet warrior Zangief, who trained fighting bears on the Siberian steppes.

“Comrade ZangiefYou made your country proud. The Soviet spirit can overcome all obstacles. Now it’s time to celebrate Russian style”, says the leader of the USSR who dances with the fighter at the end of the game.

Although in the game developed by Capcom the character is mentioned as “Mr. president”the reference to Gorbachev is evident, not only because of his characteristic stain on the head, but because of the year: 1987, when the USSR had not yet disintegrated.

With information from Newsweek, New York Times and Sputnik

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8 facts you didn’t know about Mijaíl Gorbachev, from the Locomía song to his Grammy award