In 1995 Mikhail Gorbachev was elected the general secretary of Communist Party. His proclaimed objective was acceleration of the social economic development of the country. The new policy didn't yield results. Besides, in the early 1990s the country was hit by a number of strikes. The leaders of Soviet republics expressed their disappointment in the policy of the central power. They demanded more independence. The first to leave the USSR were the Baltic republics. Mikhail Gorbachev was elected the first (and the last) president of the USSR which by that time had been on the verge of collapse.