Mikhail Gorbachev in the Hospital for Routine Tests, General Exam

Image: Mikhail Gorbachev in the Hospital for Routine Tests, General Exam Security guards stand at the gate of the Central clinical hospital in Moscow where former Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev (inset) was admitted for tests, June 11, 2013.

Wednesday, 12 Jun 2013 11:31 AM

By Ken Mandel

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Mikhail Gorbachev, the former president of the Soviet Union, is in the Kremlin's hospital for tests, a spokesman told The Associated Press.

The 82-year-old is having routine tests, though spokesman Vladimir Polyakov didn't offer further details.

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"Gorbachev is undergoing a general examination," Polyakov said. "Sometimes this happens once a year, and sometimes twice a year," Polyakov said. "There were no special reasons for the hospitalization."

The Soviet leader complained of health problems at a public lecture in March. In May, an illness kept him from attending the funeral for former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

As General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1985-91, and as the first and last president of the Soviet Union from 1990 until its 1991 dissolution, Gorbachev allowed the Berlin Wall to fall without military interference, and his reforms helped end the Cold War. He received the Otto Hahn Peace Medal in 1989, the Nobel Peace Prize in 1990, and the Harvey Prize in 1992.

The political and economic reforms, instituted in 1985, became known as glasnost (openness) and perestroika (rebuilding). Those efforts changed life in the Soviet bloc countries, giving people a look at Western culture, including free press, and afforded Moscow-controlled republics enough power to declare independence.

Gorbachev later regretted the Soviet Union's collapse, explaining that his goal was to modernize the struggling country rather than tear it apart. In March, he said that he believes his achievements as Soviet leader have not only been reversed, but "distorted, violated, and destroyed."

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Related stories:

Gorbachev: ‘Exceptional’ Thatcher Helped End Cold War

Gorbachev: Reagan Was Great President, Peace Partner

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