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  Words in the News
  Raisa Gorbachev, the wife of the former Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, died aged sixty seven, after a long illness. The BBC's former Moscow correspondent Bridget Kendall reported.
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Raisa Gorbachev

23rd September 1999

The death of Raisa Gorbachev

NEWS 1   

There has never been a Russian political wife quite like her. Together with her husband, Raisa Gorbachev changed the West's perception of the Soviet Union. Raisa expected to be noticed and her opinions counted. From the start, she was her husband’s equal. They met when they were both students at Moscow State University. But it wasn’t until 1984, when they visited Britain, invited by Mrs Thatcher, that the Gorbachevs first made their mark on the West. Mikhail Gorbachev was the rising star of the Politburo, she, a politically aware consort with a doctorate of her own in Marxist philosophy." from BBC Correspondent Bridget Kendall


opinions counted: if your opinion counts, what you think is of importance

equal: if you're equal to someone then you have the same abilities or status or skills

made their mark : to make your mark means to have an important influence on soething or someone

rising star: a person who is expected to become more well-known and successful

NEWS 2    Raisa in Russia was never a popular figure. But abroad, she continued to enjoy adulation, even though her husband’s reforms were running into trouble. The attempted coup in August 1991 came as a shock to Raisa Gorbachev. She suffered a stroke, and never really recovered. In the years after her husband lost power, she remained his most faithful ally. As he continued his trips abroad, she was constantly with him. Arguably, the man who demolished the Communists’ seventy-year grip on Russia and ended the Cold War couldn’t have done it without her.

adulation: means extreme affection

running into trouble: to run into trouble means that you have unexpected problems

ally: a person or country who helps and supports another person or country

demolished: to demolish means to destroy, (often used to describe a building that has been knocked down because it is old or dangerous)

    Read about the background in BBC News Online

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