Mikhail Gorbachev to celebrate 75th birthday

Mikhail Gorbachev will celebrate his 75th birthday Thursday by throwing a party for his old Politburo colleagues, former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, relatives and schoolmates.

The former Soviet president invited 200 to 250 guests to dinner at a Moscow restaurant, "the ones that he would really be pleased to see," said his spokesman, Vladimir Polyakov. He declined to name the restaurant.

Kohl's former deputy and foreign minister, Hans-Dietrich Genscher, will also attend, Polyakov said.

Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was invited but didn't feel well enough for the trip, while former U.S. President George H.W. Bush couldn't come but sent videotaped congratulations, Polyakov said.

The guests will include former Politburo member Vadim Medvedev and Gorbachev's former aide on foreign affairs, Anatoly Chernyayev.

Gorbachev also invited his relatives, schoolmates and university friends from the Stavropol area, where he was born and grew up.

The architect of the policy of perestroika, which brought an end to the Cold War and led to the collapse of the Soviet Union, Gorbachev now heads the Gorbachev Foundation, a Moscow think tank, and Green Cross International, a Geneva-based environmental organization, reports Moscow Times.


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