Mikhail Gorbachev was the first president of the Soviet Union. Under his presidency, he initiated reforms in the USSR, namely glasnost and perestroika. Freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and economic reforms were promised to the citizens of the country. However, Gorbachev's opponents, namely hardliners in the communist party, hated the reforms. These hardliners overthrew and arrested Gorbachev in coup in 1988. Gorbachev was imprisoned in the Lubyanka prison until he was released in a another coup in 1990 against the hardline Soviet government.
Following his release, Gorbachev became the President of the Soviet Union before resigning and handing the position to Boris Yeltsin.