Mikhail Gorbachev was elected the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the USSR on this day in 1985. Due to the fall of the USSR, Gorbachev also became the last General Secretary in history. It is interesting that he was elected to that position only a few hours after the death of the previous General Secretary – Konstantin Chernenko. Namely, Chernenko died in the evening of 10 March, while Gorbachev was elected by the Central Committee the very next morning.
It is also interesting that, at the moment of election, Gorbachev was the youngest member of the Politburo. These elections were allegedly the fastest in Soviet history. The Politbuto nominated Gorbachev, and the Central Committee elected him almost immediately afterward. By attaining the position of General Secretary, Gorbachev de facto became the leader of the Soviet Union. He later also became the Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR. From 1990, Gorbachev’s function was renamed to “President of the Soviet Union”.