RAISA by Urda Jurgens


The 1st First Lady of the Soviet Union
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 A superficial portrait of Mrs. Gorbachev by a Moscow journalist. Raisa Gorbachev, JÅrgens reports, holds a Ph.D., wears fashionable clothes, and is something of an international media darling. Born in 1932 in Western Siberia, Raisa moved frequently as a child but managed to be an excellent student. She was admitted to the prestigious Moscow State Univ., where she met and married Mikhail Gorbachev. As soon as Mikhail got his degree, the couple was transferred to Stavropol. Culture-loving Raisa missed Moscow, but Stavropol was built around a natural springs, and high-ranking members of the government were frequent visitors, an opportunity for the ambitious couple to make invaluable political connections. Raisa also pursued and obtained her doctorate in sociology, with a thesis on conditions on collective farms. In 1978, the family moved back to Moscow; in 1985, Gorbachev was appointed General Secretary. Among the details of her current life: her schedule (much time spent with her correspondence and with her work at the Soviet Cultural Foundation); her relationship with her family (she dotes on two granddaughters); and, of course, her clothes (according to her dressmaker, Raisa prefers warm, bright colors and is adamant that everything must match). Considering the difficulty of scratching below the surface of official information, JÅrgens has done admirable legwork--but her emphasis on chronology and physical detail offers little indication of Raisa's political bent and a minimum of anecdotes that might shed color or psychological insight. (Eight pages of b&w photographs--not seen.)

Pub Date: June 1st, 1991
ISBN: 0-671-72663-3
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 1991