Nearly 20 years after the collapse of the Soviet Union's atheist empire, Mikhail Gorbachev has admitted he is a Christian, reports the Daily Telegraph. On a visit to Italy the last president of the Communist state prayed at the tomb of St. Francis of Assisi, and later told priests the saint had played a fundamental role in his life. "St. Francis is, for me, the alter Christus, the other Christ," said Gorbachev.
Gorbachev always professed atheism as Soviet leader, although Ronald Reagan is said to have suspected that his Cold War adversary was a "closet believer." Gorbachev's parents baptized him in the Russian Orthodox church and his wife's parents were killed during World War II for owning religious icons.