Mikhail Gorbachev's father was Russian, while his mother was of the Ukrainian descent.
Mikhail Gorbachev was born on March 2, 1931, in Privolnoye, Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, Soviet Union (now Russia), to Sergey Andreyevich Gorbachev and Maria Panteleyevna Gorbacheva. While his father was a combine harvester and World War II veteran, his mother was employed as a kolkhoz worker.
Mikhail Gorbachev did not have an easy childhood. He was just old enough to remember when, during the 1930s, both of his grandfathers were caught in the purges and arrested. Although they were released after prison, having been tortured in one case and internally exiled and used as forced labor in the other, young Gorbachev knew what it was like to live in the home of an enemy of the people.
The war and early postwar years provided the family with the opportunity to recover from the stigma of false charges laid against the older generation, although the wartime experience itself was harsh. Gorbachev's father was in the army, saw action on several fronts, and was twice wounded. Remaining in the Russian countryside, Gorbachev and his mother had to engage in back-breaking work in the fields.
After the war, Gorbachev chose to remain on his land, although it was now taken by the Communist Government, the ranks of which he would penetrate later. Gorbachev privately described his life and work on a Soviet collective farm as serfdom.