The last leader of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), also known as the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev died on Aug. 30, 2022 at the age of 91 (via Reuters). As the subject of former United States President Ronald Reagan’s request to “tear down that wall” (a reference to the Berlin Wall dividing East and West Germany, as described by The Washington Post), Gorbachev later developed a friendship with Reagan’s successor and fellow Republican, President George HW Bush. Gorbachev, a controversial figure of the Cold War era, was reported by the Mirror as “seriously ill” and on dialysis treatment for his kidneys.
Given the Russian oligarch stereotype and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s speculated hefty fortune, it’s worth questioning how much Gorbachev — who removed the Russian Communist Party from its sphere of influence with the collapse of the Soviet Union — was worth before he died. Surprisingly, sources estimate it’s nowhere near Putin’s.
Mikhail Gorbachev’s net worth was only in the millions
Compared to Vladimir Putin’s estimated net worth of around $70 billion, Mikhail Gorbachev had a much smaller net worth at the time of his death, according to Celebrity Net Worth. Make no mistake, however; It does not seem that the former leader of the USSR remained penniless even in old age.
According to Celebrity Net Worth’s profile on Gorbachev, he was worth $5 million at the time of his death. Celebrity Net Worth also notes that Gorbachev was once a supporter of Putin but later “denounced” him, although it’s unclear whether this change of heart significantly affected Gorbachev’s finances. A 1988 Harvard Business Review article described Gorbachev as a “turnaround CEO” at the time, before the fall of the Soviet Union.
In the later years of his life, Gorbachev continued to get involved in politics, but also broadened his horizons, releasing an album of songs dedicated to his late wife, Raisa, with proceeds going to charity (via The St. Petersburg Times) . In a 2017 article originally published in The New York Review of Books, the Brookings Institution reported that Gorbachev lived in a dacha — a cottage or summer house of sorts — outside of Moscow.
Gorbachev’s health had deteriorated several times before his death
At the end of Mikhail Gorbachev’s life, finances were apparently not a major concern for the late politician. Rather, before his death, Gorbachev was hospitalized several times for treatment of various medical conditions. In 2014, the Independent described Gorbachev as “fighting for his life” while he was in the hospital. This comes after Gorbachev had to previously deny reports of his death from Russia’s RIA Novosti in 2013, which hacked the news agency, according to sources including the Independent and Sky News.
Then, in 2019, Gorbachev was hospitalized for pneumonia but eventually recovered. The late politician told RIA Novosti, “The treatment is basically over, now they’re keeping me there for a few days and that’s it” (via NDTV).
According to an article by Russian news source TASS, Gorbachev was hospitalized for the first time in 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic as a precautionary measure to monitor his health and has been hospitalized in deteriorating condition ever since.