Mikhail Gorbachev hospitalised for routine check-up: Official

MOSCOW (AFP) - Last Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev has been hospitalised and is undergoing a planned checkup linked to his battle against diabetes, his spokesman said on Tuesday.

"Gorbachev is undergoing a general examination," Gorbachev Foundation spokesman Vladimir Polyakov told AFP.

"Sometimes this happens once a year, and sometimes twice a year," Polyakov said. "There were no special reasons for the hospitalisation."

Gorbachev, 82, became Soviet leader in 1985 and instituted the political and economic reforms that became known as glasnost (openness) and perestroika (rebuilding).

He served as Soviet leader until 1991, when his reforms gave the Moscow-controlled republics enough strength to declare independence, and for Russia to be left on its own.

Gorbachev was replaced in the Kremlin by Russia's first president Boris Yeltsin.

Since then he has played only a marginal role in Russian politics despite his broad recognition abroad.

Most recently, Gorbachev urged Russian President Vladimir Putin not to run for a third term last year.