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MOSCOW (Reuters) – Mikhail Gorbachev, the last Soviet leader, was set to throw a Zoom party in quarantine to celebrate his 90th birthday on Tuesday, as President Vladimir Putin hailed him as an “outstanding statesman” who influenced the course of history.

Gorbachev, who championed arms control and democracy-oriented reforms as Soviet leader in the 1980s, is widely credited with helping end the Cold War.

His critics in Russia blame him for what they regard as the unnecessary and painful breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991.

Gorbachev has been in quarantine in hospital for months as a precaution during the coronavirus pandemic, and will host a virtual party with close friends and staff from his foundation, Gorbachev’s spokesman Vladimir Polyakov said.

“We’ll raise our glasses,” he said. “We’ll gather here and he’ll be there and we’ll see each other and make toasts.”

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