Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev (1931- ) was the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1985 to 1991 and Head of State (under a series of titles) from 1988 to 1991. His term ended with the Soviet Union dissolving and its 15 component states gaining independence.
Very early on in Gorbachev's career, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was quoted as saying, "We can do business with this man". Little could she have known that before his career ended the Iron Curtain in Eastern Europe would fall. President Ronald Reagan gave his very famous speech in Berlin, Germany in front of the Berlin Wall and shouted out, "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall".