Raisa Gorbachova - Biography

Biography

Raisa Maximovna Titarenko was born in the city of Rubtsovsk in the Altai region of Siberia. She was the eldest of three children of Maxim Andreyevich Titarenko, a railway engineer originally from Chernihiv, Ukraine, and his Siberian wife, Alexandra Petrovna Porada, originally from Veseloyarsk. She spent her childhood in the Ural Mountains region, and met her future husband while studying philosophy in Moscow. She earned an advanced degree at the Moscow State Pedagogical Institute, and taught briefly at Moscow State University.

They married in September 1953 and moved to her husband's home region of Stavropol in southern Russia upon graduation. There, she taught Marxist-Leninist philosophy and defended her sociology research thesis about kolkhoz life. She gave birth in 1958 to their only child, daughter Irina Mikhailovna (married name: Virganskaya; Ири́на Миха́йловна Вирга́нская). When her husband returned to Moscow as a rising Soviet Communist Party official, Gorbachova took a post of a lecturer at her alma mater, Moscow State University. She left the post when her husband became a leader of the Soviet Union in 1985. Her public appearances beside her husband as First Lady were a novelty at home and went a long way in humanizing the country's image. Her dynamic personality and style caught the attention of Western media and observers.

She made a $100,000 contribution to the charity "From hematologists of the world to children" when Prof. Rumiantsev and others addressed her in 1989. This and further donations raised by Gorbachevs helped to buy equipment for blood banks and to train Russian doctors abroad. As a result, country-wide children's leukemia survival rates have since improved (Transcripts 2000).

On 1 June 1990, Gorbachova accompanied U.S. First Lady Barbara Bush to Wellesley College in Massachusetts. Both women spoke before the graduating class during the commencement service, touching upon the role of women in modern society. Their addresses were covered on live television by all of the American broadcast networks. The CNN cable network provided live television coverage of their speeches around the world. The events of the Soviet Coup of 1991 left a scar on Gorbachova. The political turmoil that followed pushed aside the Gorbachevs' life from the headlines.

Read more about this topic:  Raisa Gorbachova

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