Moscow: Former Soviet President Mikhail
Gorbachev, who was instrumental in the demise of the Communist
state in the early 1990s, was on Wednesday decorated with Russia`s
highest state honour by President Dmitry Medvedev.
Gorbachev, who was the architect of perestroika and
glasnost in former Soviet Union that led to landmark political
reforms, was honoured with the tsarist-era order of St. Andrew
on his 80th birthday.
"I think it is a fitting mark of the important work
you undertook as head of state," Medvedev was quoted as
telling the former president by the state-run Ria Novosti news
"You headed our country in a very difficult, dramatic
period," Medvedev said, adding that the decoration was a
"symbol of the state`s respect" for his work.
The eight-pointed star embossed with an image of St.
Andrew and a blue ribbon was established by Emperor Peter the
Great in 1698-99. Late president Boris Yeltsin revived the
order in 1998, the report said.
Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who has been critical
of Gorbachev in the past, sent a personal letter of greeting
The Russian strongman described Gorbachev as "one of
the most prominent state leaders, who significantly influenced
Even as the 1990 Nobel Peace Prize winner has been
praised for his role in ending the Cold War with the US and
the monopoly rule of the Soviet Communist party, he has often
been targetted by Russian nationalists who accused him of
ruining the Soviet empire.