The International Foundation for Socio-Economic and Political Studies (The Gorbachev Foundation) was founded by Mikhail S. Gorbachev, former President of the USSR, in December 1991. The Gorbachev Foundation started its work in January 1992.
President of the Gorbachev Foundation: Mikhail Gorbachev
Vice-President: Irina Virganskaya
The Gorbachev Foundation is an international non-governmental non-profit organization. Legal entities and individuals from any country may take part in the Foundation’s activities in a voluntary capacity. The Gorbachev Foundation has developed links of close cooperation with leading universities, foundations, international organizations, government bodies and non-governmental organizations in various countries all over the world.
The Gorbachev Foundation is one of the first independent think tanks in modern Russia. It conducts research into social, economic and political problems of critical importance at the current stage in Russian and world history. The Foundation seeks to promote democratic values as well as moral and humanist principles in the life of society.
The Foundation’s conceptual framework is based on the belief that in the age of globalization Russia and the rest of the world need new thinking – a new interpretation of the ideas of progress and humanism and evolving principles for a more equitable world order. The Foundation facilitates open-minded dialogue among experts and the public and wants to apply research findings for the benefit of civil society’s development and to help educate a new generation of scholars and politicians.
The keynote of the Foundation’s activities is Toward a New Civilization
Main Areas of Activity
Since the Foundation’s inception its research work has focused on several areas, including global problems, economic, political and social problems and processes in Russia and in the world, the history of Perestroika in the USSR, and Russia’s recent history.
The Foundation has held a number of international and national conferences, seminars and Round Tables and published monographs and papers based on its research findings. Reports prepared by the Foundation have been submitted to the United Nations and other international organizations as well as to heads of states and governments, parliaments, heads of major corporations, and political, spiritual and opinion leaders. These reports, such as Global Security (prepared in cooperation with the Gorbachev Foundation/USA and the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation in 1994), Russia’s National Interests and Security Problems (1997, in Russian), Russia’s Self-Identification in a Globalizing World (2000, in Russian), Perestroika: Twenty Years Later (2005, in Russian) and Social Inequality and Public Policy (2006, in Russian) have been well received by political leaders and the academic community.
Over the years of the Foundation’s existence, its President and research fellows have published dozens of books and brochures and hundreds of articles in periodicals in Russia and across the world.
Mikhail Gorbachev travels extensively in Russia and abroad attending international conferences, giving lectures and speeches and meeting with the public, young people, students, prominent political and public figures, members of parliament and representatives of the United Nations and other international organizations. The themes of his talks and lectures include problems of globalization and international security, combating poverty and backwardness, environmental challenges including the preservation of the planet’s water resources, economic cooperation, the future of democratic Russia, prospects of European unity, and others.
The former President of the Soviet Union and the Foundation’s researchers have given hundreds of lectures to various audiences. The Gorbachev Foundation has become a significant element in Russia’s emerging civil society. Among the participants in its research projects are respected scholars and researchers from Russia, other CIS states, the United States, Canada, Japan, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, South Korea, and other countries.
The Gorbachev Foundation attaches particular importance to humanitarian and charitable projects, a tradition which the Gorbachev family did much to revive and promote in Russia. While doing what it can to help patients in need of treatment and Russian medical institutions, the Foundation’s main emphasis has been on children’s health. The Foundation has given critically important help to Russia’s Research Institute of Pediatric Hematology to buy medical equipment and supplies, train physicians and medical personnel and implement advanced techniques to cure blood diseases. With direct financial support from the Foundation and its partners, the first Bone Marrow Transplantation Center for children with leukemia was established in Moscow, with several other similar centers in other regions of Russia.
Overall, the Gorbachev Foundation has channeled over million to various humanitarian programs. In raising the money the Gorbachev Foundation has relied on the support of its partners, including the American Cancer Society, charitable organizations in the United States and Germany, and individual philanthropists.
Raising funds to finance the construction of Raisa Gorbachev Center for Children’s Hematology and Marrow Transplantation in St. Petersburg has been the top priority in the Foundation’s charitable activities since 2002.
In 2006 the Raisa Gorbachev International Foundation was established in London with the support of the Gorbachev Foundation, the Gorbachev family, and Alexander Lebedev, member of the Russian State Duma and President of the Charitable Reserve Fund to finance projects aimed at combating childhood leukemia and cancer. The Foundation helped finance the construction of the Raisa Gorbachev Center for Children’s Hematology and Marrow Transplantation in St. Petersburg, which was inaugurated on September 20, 2007.
The Foundation Projects and Structural Subdivisions
One of the Foundation’s priority project during the 1990s was The Global World of the XXI Century: Challenges and Responses. A group of Russian and foreign scholars united under the auspices of the Gorbachev Foundation, with Mikhail Gorbachev’s personal participation and under his general guidance, conducted a three-year study of the process of globalization, including its philosophical, socio-cultural, environmental, political and economic aspects and the problems of global security. A sub-project Russia in the Emerging Global System explored various factors affecting Russia’s development, its place and role in the future world order and in the resolution of global problems. A fundamental monograph, Facets of Globalization, based on the project’s findings was published in 2003 and became one of the first attempts in Russia to provide a general overview of the problem.
The University of Calgary – the Gorbachev Foundation (UCGF), a Russian-Canadian project, was launched in 1993 with the aim of promoting democratic reforms in Russian society. During the subsequent years, with support from Canadian International Development Agency, over 40 projects were carried out in Moscow and in various regions of the Russian Federation. Each of them addressed specific public policy issues in the economy, the social sphere, culture, education, relations between the state and civil society and between Russia’s federal and regional authorities, and gender and information problems. The studies’ findings were discussed at numerous Round Tables, seminars and conferences and have been the basis for published monographs and collected articles. The project’s decennary was summarized in the monograph Russia’s Public Policy (2005).
Documentary History of Perestroika is a project devoted to the historical and archival reconstruction of Perestroika’s concept and its implementation. The study is based on the notes that Gorbachev’s assistants were taking at meetings of the Politburo of the Communist Party Central Committee. The books The Politburo Meetings: Notes Taken by Anatoly Chernyayev, Vadim Medvedev, Georgi Shakhnazarov (1985-1991), Mikhail Gorbachev and the German Question, and The Union Could Have Been Preserved have been published as part of this project.
Present-day activities of the former USSR President are covered in the project Mikhail Gorbachev after the Kremlin: A Record of Events and Socio-Political Activities.
The purpose of the Expertise Round Table is to analyze major trends in socio-economic development and politics in Russia and the rest of the world. Discussions (“brainstorming” sessions) have been held as part of this project with prominent Russian experts participating. Round Table discussions are followed by the preparation of papers reflecting the range of opinions on the issues debated. They are posted on the Foundation’s website and published as brochures under the common title The Expertise Round Table.
The Gorbachev Readings project focuses on Russia’s recent history. The project is being developed on the basis of the Gorbachev Foundation’s archive and library, containing unique records of the period of Perestroika and extensive material on the subsequent period. The Gorbachev Readings include discussions of the origin and development of democratic changes in Russia, its changing position in contemporary world and the emergence of civil society. These discussions serve an educational purpose, helping to shape public opinion on the historical significance of democratic changes initiated during the years of Perestroika and publicize the results of research conducted in Russia and abroad. Scholars from Russia and other countries, public and political figures and journalists have taken part in the Readings. Discussion materials are published in the yearly collections The Gorbachev Readings.
The Raisa Maximovna Club, launched by Raisa Gorbachev in 1997, supports initiatives that advance civil society’s influence in Russia and is an effort to actively involve women in this process. The Club holds discussions, scholarly and practical conferences and carries out research and charity projects. The Club was among the first forums to open public debate on many urgent problems of today’s Russia, such as neglected children, worsening of social and domestic violence, gender inequality and restrictions on women’s participation in public policy-making, the crisis of the education system, obstacles to charitable activities, and difficulties faced by social journalism. The Club’s charitable activities are mainly aimed to help parentless children. Scholars, political and public figures, journalists, and public organizations’ representatives have participated in the events organized by the Club. As a result of these conferences, numerous articles and interviews have been published as well as eight books of collected works and monographs.
The Archive’s main stock is composed of print, electronic and audiovisual content reflecting the activities of Mikhail Gorbachev as well as major events in Russia’s recent socio-political history. These resources are based on materials donated by the Gorbachev family and their close associates and the Gorbachev Foundation’s materials. The Archive contains more than 30,000 items, including materials donated by Mikhail Gorbachev, Anatoly Chernyayev, Vadim Zagladin, Georgi Shakhnazarov, Vadim Medvedev, as well as the Gorbachev Foundation’s documents. The archive also has a unique collection of over 20,000 photographs.
The Library contains about 6,000 books, brochures and articles in Russian and in foreign languages as well as publications on Perestroika and Mikhail Gorbachev’s activities in keeping with the research areas of the Foundation. The library’s reading room is open to researchers and holds regular displays of books and articles issued by Russian and foreign publishers.
On March 11, 2005 the Gorbachev Foundation held an opening ceremony of its exhibit Mikhail Gorbachev: Life and Reforms, aimed at demonstrating the unique experience of Perestroika and its dramatic complexity. Rare documents from personal archives of Mikhail Gorbachev and his associates collected in the Gorbachev Foundation testify to the spirit and realities of the time of Perestroika.
The exhibit Mikhail Gorbachev: Life and Reforms is the Gorbachev Foundation’s contribution to the study of Russia’s contemporary history. The main purpose of the display is to educate the younger generation of Russians about the period of Perestroika, its main architect and its principal actors, and to provide insights into the true history of the country.
The exhibit’s concept was developed by Irina Virganskaya, the Vice President of the Gorbachev Foundation, and designed by Alexei Litvin, Armen Sargsyan and Yuliya Lombroso.