LONDON - A host of stars from the world of politics, music and film gathered to celebrate former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev's 80th birthday at a charity gala event in London on Wednesday.
Statesmen and Russian oligarchs converged at the Royal Albert Hall for the party to celebrate his achievements, hosted by Hollywood stars Kevin Spacey and Sharon Stone.
The event was aimed at raising millions of dollars for cancer charities, including The Raisa Foundation, named in honor of the 1990 Nobel Peace Prize winner's late wife.
From Left: Gorbachev, Peres, Stone (Photo: Marc Naiman, GPO)
Israeli President Shimon Peres, Hollywood action hero and former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, former British prime minister John Major and Earl Charles Spencer, brother of Diana, princess of Wales, were all in attendance.
Gorbachev personally chose Sir Tim Berners-Lee - the founder of the internet - CNN founder Ted Turner and Evans Wadongo as the winners of the inaugural Gorbachev Awards.
Peres presented Kenyan engineer Wadongo, who invented a hand built solar lantern, with the award.
In his speech, the Israeli president said Gorbachev fought to regain what his country had lost to communism, adding that the former Soviet leader changed history.
Peres also called Gorbachev a good friend to the Jewish people, saying many Soviet Jews were permitted to make aliyah under his rule.
Leonid Shlachover, the event's general producer, said "this gala has been organized to honor Mikhail Gorbachev, a man who truly changed the world for the better through his actions and example."
"This event will celebrate his achievements by bringing together major artists from East and West in a night of celebration."
Gorbachev's perestroika and glasnost reforms altered the course of history by burying the Soviet Union and liberating eastern Europe.
He turned 80 on March 2, marking the occasion by advising Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin against running for a third term as president and warning about the dangers of Arab-style social revolt.
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