Raisa Maximovna Gorbacheva

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Raisa Gorbacheva during the 1985 state visit to Paris

Raissa Maximowna Gorbacheva , b. Titarenko ( Russian Раиса Максимовна Горбачёва , scientific transliteration Raisa Maksimovna Gorbačëva ; born January 5, 1932 in Rubzowsk , Krai West Siberia , Russian SFSR , Soviet Union ; † September 20, 1999 in Münster , Germany ) was a Russian sociologist. As the wife of Mikhail Gorbachev , she was an influential, socially and culturally committed woman in the Soviet Union and Russia .


Childhood and youth

Raissa Titarenko was born in 1932 as the oldest of three siblings. Her father Maxim Andreevich Titarenko was a Ukrainian railway engineer from Chernihiv , her mother Alexandra came from Siberia. She spent her childhood in Siberia and the Urals . After graduating from high school in Sterlitamak with a gold medal, she studied philosophy and sociology at Moscow's Lomonossow University and met the farmer's son Mikhail Gorbachev, who was studying law there. They married in 1953, and after graduating in 1957 they moved to Stavropol , where they lived for 23 years. Gorbachev worked there as a lawyer on his rise in the party and Komsomol; Raissa Gorbatschowa first worked as a lecturer in the city library and then taught her subject in schools and at the agricultural institute. In 1957 the only daughter Irina was born.

Scientific work and advancement

1967 Gorbachev published her candidacy dissertation in sociology entitled emergence of new features of the life of the collective farmers (based on sociological research in the Stavropol region) ( Формирование новых черт быта колхозного крестьянства (по материалам социологических исследований в Ставропольском крае)) in which it drew attention to the difficult situation of rural residents in the Stavropol Territory.

In 1978 the Gorbachev family moved to Moscow , where Mikhail Gorbachev became secretary at the Central Committee of the CPSU . The new living conditions brought extensive material privileges with them; Raisa Gorbacheva was still working in Moscow. Until 1985, when her husband became Secretary General, she taught at Lomonosov University in the philosophical-sociological subjects.

Wife of the Secretary General and President

In 1986 - as the "First Lady" of the Soviet Union - she founded the Soviet Cultural Foundation together with other scientists and artists , which was committed to the promotion of museums, the preservation of old churches and monuments, libraries and archives and much more.

In addition to her cultural commitment, Raissa Gorbacheva was the patron of several social organizations and projects, such as the aid organization for children from Chernobyl , an international aid organization for pediatric hematologists and the Moscow Central Children's Hospital. In 1987, she was by the British magazine Woman's Own for Woman of the Year chosen. In the climate of the opening iron curtain between the Soviet Union and the West, she played a not insignificant role as a companion and advisor to Michael Gorbachev. She had international relations and was honored with honorary doctorates in Europe, America and Asia.

Due to its comparatively glamorous appearance, it was also controversial in the economically stressed population of the Soviet Union during the Gorbachev era. During the growing unrest in the final phase of the Soviet Union, the criticism and intrigues against Raisa Gorbachev were also used to target Mikhail Gorbachev politically.

Life in Post-Soviet Russia

Raisa Gorbacheva's grave in the Novodevichy Cemetery in Moscow

After the military coup in 1991 and Gorbachev's resignation from his post as President of the Soviet Union in 1991, the latter set up a foundation to support socio-economic and political research - the Gorbachev Fund , in whose work Raisa Gorbachev was involved. In 1997 she also founded the Raissa Gorbatschowa Club , in which highly qualified working women campaigned for the improvement of the living conditions of women in Russia with conferences, charity campaigns and the support of specific projects.

Raisa Gorbacheva had developed leukemia some time before the coup . Several heart attacks and an eye disease troubled her. On September 20, 1999, she died of megakaryocytic leukemia at the University Hospital in Münster , where she had been treated since the summer of that year under the direction of Thomas Büchner . She was buried in Moscow in the New Virgin Convent cemetery.


  • To live is to hope. Memories and thoughts. Autobiography ( Я надеюсь… 1991), ISBN 3-7857-0637-5

Individual evidence

  1. ↑ That left no one indifferent ( Memento of the original from August 18, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. on Vienna international on June 19, 2013 @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.wieninternational.at

Web links

Commons : Raissa Gorbacheva  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files