London played host to the 80th birthday celebrations of Mikhail Gorbachev, one of modern history’s most significant Men of Action.
|The renowned political figure invited guests of the showbiz world to the gala event at The Royal Albert Hall
- including hosts Kevin Spacey & Sharon Stone, Goldie Hawn, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Milla Jovovich
The event was appropriately named Mikhail Gorbachev: The Man Who Change the World in honour of the astounding work Gorbachev had done during his career. His strategic policies and his relationship with US President Ronald Reagan helped to ease the tensions between the United States and USSR, and ultimately brought an end to the Cold War. He oversaw the dissolution of the Soviet Union and beckoned in a new era of Russian politics.
He also helped improve the life of those who lived in Russia. Actress Milla Jovovich was forced to flee the former Soviet Union with her family in 1980. ‘We didn’t know if we would see our family again,’ she told the UK’s Hello Magazine, ‘thanks to Mikhail Gorbachev, we could.’
|Kevin Spacey: ‘I’m very happy that tonight people are going to take the time to pay tribute to him‘|
Co-host of the celebrations Kevin Spacey helped to explain Gorbachev’s legacy: ‘I think you could look around the world now and you see that there are still people fighting for freedom and there is kind of a direct line to Mikhail Gorbachev… And yet i don’t think he’s gotten the kind of due, or kind of respect or kind of adulation that I think he deserves‘.
Interestingly, Gorbachev introduced ‘The Gorbachev Awards’ which will take place annually and celebrate people who have changed the world – Men of Action. The inaugural winners were CNN founder Ted Turner who has made access to global news readily available through the launch of the first 24 hour news network; Tim Berners-Lee who invented the world wide web; and Evans Wadongo, a Kenyan engineer who has created a solar lamp, which has helped thousands of Africans.
Irina Virganskaya, Gorbachev’s daughter and vice-president of the Gorbachev Foundation explained the importance of the awards as recognition for those who had progressed society: ‘They manage to create dialogue between religious groups, countries, between politicians and experts and civil society‘.
Guests turned up glamorous as ever. Katherine Jenkins, Sharon Stone, Kevin Spacey, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Milla Jovovich, and Gorbachev’s granddaughters: Ksenia Gorbachev & Anastasia.
Photos: KERIM OKTEN/EPA