On the advice of his doctors, former general secretary of the Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev will undergo plastic surgery to remove a famous feature that became his trademark.
A team of dermatologists will perform a four-hour laser procedure to remove the dark red birthmark atop his head.
The birthmark became famous during Gorbachev’s time as head of Russia during the Cold War. Comedian Robin Williams (who played a Russian defector in the movie Moscow on the Hudson) once quipped the birthmark resembled the Caspian Sea.
“The birthmark began itching badly a few months ago, and on the advice of three oncologists, I have decided to get it removed,” Gorbachev said through a translator. “The concern is the skin could turn cancerous.”
Doctors plan to replace the cranial skin tissue with skin grafted from Gorbachev’s back.
He is expected to make a full recovery.