The death of former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev has prompted a huge outpouring of fond reflection in the west for a man widely seen as making the world a more peaceful place in the 1980s by playing a key role in bringing the cold war to an end. But his legacy is fiercely contested. Many in Russia blame him for economic chaos and the years of turmoil that followed. Indeed the roots of the current Kremlin regime and its war in Ukraine can be seen in the late Soviet period. In former Soviet states such as Georgia and Lithuania, meanwhile, memories of state killings that happened on Gorbachev’s watch remain fresh.

You can find our complete coverage of the passing of one of the 20th century’s most significant figures here, written, as ever, by leading academic researchers from around the world. More will follow.

And NASA will again attempt to launch its huge new rocket at the weekend, which is intended to usher in a new era of human exploration of deep space. But who was Artemis, the greek goddess the new lunar missions are named after? Marie-Claire Beaulieu of Tufts University explains.

Stephen Khan

Executive Editor, The Conversation International

Liberator, failed reformer or architect of Soviet demise? Bryn Colton/Getty Images

Mikhail Gorbachev: The contradictory legacy of Soviet leader who attempted ‘revolution from above’

Ronald Suny, University of Michigan

Mikhail Gorbachev died at 91 on Aug. 30, 2022. A historian of the Soviet era assesses his impact and the consequences of his failed attempts to reform state socialism.

A turbulent melt-river pours a million tons of water a day into a moulin, where it flows down through the ice to ultimately reach the ocean. Ted Giffords

What’s going on with the Greenland ice sheet? It’s losing ice faster than forecast and now irreversibly committed to at least 10 inches of sea level rise

Alun Hubbard, University of Tromsø

A field glaciologist explains the changes scientists are now seeing.

Diana by Augustus Saint Gaudens, 1928, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Postdlf via Wikimedia Commons

Who is Artemis? NASA’s latest mission to the Moon is named after an ancient lunar goddess turned feminist icon

Marie-Claire Beaulieu, Tufts University

A scholar of Greek mythology explains the naming of NASA’s missions after mythological figures and why the name Artemis is indicative of a more diverse era of space exploration.