Raisa Gorbacheva – Soviet and Russian public figure
Raisa Gorbacheva was a Soviet and Russian public figure, the wife of Mikhail Gorbachev and the first lady of the Soviet Union.
Raisa Maximovna Titarenko was born on January 5, 1932 in Rubtsovsk, West Siberian region, USSR. Her father was a railroad engineer who, when she was only three, was imprisoned for four years for criticizing collectivized agriculture. A grandfather had been executed under Stalin. Her younger brother Evgeny Titarenko (born in 1935) is a writer. Her sister Lyudmila Ayukasova (born in 1938) graduated from the Bashkir Medical Institute and worked as an ophthalmologist in Ufa. During the illness of Raisa she was ready to become a bone marrow donor for her sister.
The family often moved and Raisa spent her childhood in Siberia and the Urals. In 1950 she came to Moscow and entered the Philosophy Faculty of Moscow State University. There she met the future husband, Mikhail, who studied at the law faculty.
On September 25, 1953, she married Mikhail Gorbachev. The wedding took place in the dining room of the student hostel. In 1955, the Gorbachevs moved to Stavropol, where Raisa gave birth to their only daughter, Irina, in 1957.
While living in Stavropol, Raisa was a lecturer in Marxist-Leninist philosophy at the Stavropol Medical Institute and Stavropol Agricultural Institute. In 1967, she received a PhD in Philosophy.
On December 6, 1978 the Gorbachevs moved to Moscow, where Raisa lectured at the Moscow State University.
After 1985, when her husband was elected General Secretary of the Central Committee of the CPSU, Raisa Maksimovna was engaged in public activities. Together with Academician D.S. Likhachev, G.V. Myasnikov and other figures of Russian culture, she established the Soviet Fund of Culture and became a member of the Presidium of the Foundation. She also contributed to the restoration of churches and monuments of civil architecture.
As wife of the General Secretary of the CPSU Central Committee, and later the President of the USSR, she accompanied Gorbachev in his trips, participated in the reception of foreign delegations who came to the Soviet Union, regularly appeared on television screens. On her numerous trips abroad, Gorbacheva impressed foreigners with the breadth of her knowledge and interests.
Woman’s Own magazine called her the woman of the year (1987), the International Foundation Together for Peace awarded her Women for Peace Prize, and in 1991 Raisa received the Lady of the Year award. Gorbacheva won a number of public awards, and was an honorary professor at universities in Europe, America, and Asia.
In 1997 she founded and headed Raisa Maksimovna Club, which helped children’s hospitals, provincial teachers and teachers working with “difficult children”.
Raisa Gorbacheva died on September 20, 1999 in Münster, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, and was buried at the Novodevichy Cemetery in Moscow.