Goodbye Mikhael Gorbachev

The former Soviet Union leader Mikhail Gorbachev has died at the age of 91.

Mikhail Gorbachev, who ended the Cold War without bloodshed but failed to prevent the collapse of the Soviet Union, has died aged 91, Russian hospital officials say.

The Central Clinical Hospital said in a statement that Mr Gorbachev died after a long illness. No other details were given.

Mr Gorbachev’s office said earlier that he was undergoing treatment in hospital. ABC News

I once shared a stage with Mr Gorbachev.

When I say ‘shared a stage’ what I really mean is that we were both on the same stage at the same time. Gorbachev was speaking to an audience and I was carrying his cup of tea.

It was May 1999 and the World Masters of Business was at the Burswood Dome in Perth. Some friends were staging the event and so I not only recorded all the voiceovers to introduce the guests, I got to be the stage manager on the day.

One of the things Mr Gorbachev requested was that he would have a very hot cup of tea placed on a table off to the side of his lectern.

At the last minute we realised that the cup of tea quite wasn’t ready so there was a lot of frantic activity to get it made and to a small table to the side of the main presentation area of the stage. It was essentially a storm in a tea cup.

By the time the tea was ready, my voice was already booming through the venue to introduce Mr Gorbachev to the stage so I couldn’t walk on and place it in full view of a crowd expecting to see a world leader appear.

We decided the best option was to let the introduction run, let him walk on stage and then while the attention was on him, I would quickly follow, put the cup on the table, then get off as quickly as possible.

It all went to plan and Mikhail Gorbachev was warmly welcomed.

He never drank the tea.

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About the author

Rodney Olsen

Rodney is a husband, father, cyclist, blogger and podcaster from Perth Western Australia.

He previously worked in radio for about 25 years but these days he spends his time at Compassion Australia, working towards releasing children from poverty in Jesus' name.

The views he expresses here are his own.

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