Mikhail Gorbachev

Photograph for TIME by TOM STODDART

THINGS PAST: Gorbachev in Reykjavik, October 2006, on the anniversary and at the site of the 1986 talks

In the days surrounding the funeral of his predecessor, Konstantin Chernenko, Mikhail Gorbachev met with countless delegations from around the world. Vice President Bush was the head of our U.S. delegation, so I had the luxury of sitting back and closely observing the new Soviet leader. He held a stack of notes in front of him but never looked at them. He was alert to every nuance of the discussion. You could see the power of his intellect and the range of his ideas and basic knowledge. It was clear that he enjoyed the back and forth of...

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