In memoriam, Mr. Gorbachev’s youth… “Close 2-shot” photo with his older girlfriend
Mikhail Gorbachev, the last leader of the Soviet Union, died on August 30 at a Moscow hospital where he had been hospitalized; he was 91.
Gorbachev was born into a farming family in the Stavropol region of southern Russia in 1991, graduated from Moscow State University’s Faculty of Law in 1955, and began his working life as a local Communist Party bureaucrat, and in 1985, at the age of 54, he became the youngest person to be appointed General Secretary of the Communist Party, the supreme leader of the Soviet Union.
Gorbachev felt a sense of crisis over the widening economic gap between the rich West and the rest of the world, and believed that major reforms were needed. Externally, he initiated a summit meeting with then U.S. President Reagan and the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan to limit nuclear weapons and end the Cold War.
Domestically, the government implemented glasnost, which allowed freedom of speech, and perestroika, which sought to improve the efficiency of the economy. In addition, they abandoned the communist one-party dictatorship and introduced democratic policies and direct elections. Although these reforms were welcomed by the West, they were very unpopular within the country. In August 1991, a large-scale coup d’état took place, and Gorbachev was ousted from office.
Mr. Gorbachev is also known as a Japanophile. It is well known that his first date with Mrs. Raisa was a concert by the Japanese chorus group “Royal Knights. He has deepened his relationship with the Imperial Family, and even after retiring from politics, he often visited Japan, showing up at Tokyo Disneyland and Sensoji Temple (Taito Ward, Tokyo).
A Pale Love Affair Revealed in Glasnost
The “glasnost” program promoted by Mr. Gorbachev brought to light one after another internal information that had been veiled, such as the Great Silence during the Soviet era and the status of military deployments in Western countries. In addition, Mr. Gorbachev’s own personal life was also brought to light. It turned out that he had been in love with an older high school girl with brown hair and big eyes when he was in high school.
The information was caught by the “Washington Post,” a U.S. newspaper published in January 1990. The paper carried a firsthand account of Gorbachev’s first love, Yulia Karagodina, a freshman.
[After he started high school, a couple of months in, we became close friends. Every once in a while he would hug my shoulder ……. That’s about it.
A two-shot photo of Mr. Gorbachev and Ms. Karagodina was also published. Ms. Karagodina’s comment continues.
This is a picture of us when we performed together in [author] Lermontov’s play “The Masked Ball”. It was a rehearsal in front of the principal. I said the line, ‘Ask me again and again if I love you,’ and he whispered in my ear, ‘Really? Really? I was so embarrassed. I was so embarrassed that I couldn’t continue the play.
Their relationship did not last long, however. After graduating from high school, Karagodina grew up in a poor family and moved to Moscow, but she was unable to keep up with city life and returned to her parents’ home. They corresponded for a while, but eventually grew apart. They corresponded for a while, but eventually drifted apart, finding separate spouses and raising a happy family.
The pale youth of a great leader. The episodes from their high school days reveal a human side of Mr. Gorbachev.
Photographed by： Shuichi Masuda, Japan Magazine Publishers Association