Alexander Yakovlev, honorary graduate, dies
(20 October 2005)
One of the great influences on the dismantling of the Soviet Union, Mr Alexander Yakovlev, has died.
The architect of the reforming spirit of ‘glasnost’ – more openness in government – was awarded an honorary degree by Durham University in 1992.
Mr Yakovlev, who was 81, was a politician, broadcasting official and ambassador for the old Soviet Union and became a political ally of Mikhail Gorbachev. He was one of the nominees put forward for an honorary degree by Sir Peter Ustinov for his installation as University Chancellor in 1992. He was unable to attend that ceremony but eventually received his Doctor of Civil Law degree from Sir Peter at the June 1994 congregations.
Sir Peter also conferred an honorary degree on Mr Gorbachev at a special ceremony during a world peace conference in Greece in 1995. He commended both men for university honours for their contribution to the cause of political tolerance and an end to cold war-style confrontation.