We have seen that the policy of glasnost began soon after Mikhail Gorbachev became the Soviet leader. Serious economic reform followed not long after, by the middle of 1987. The third part of perestroika, the democratization of political institutions, came last. Although Gorbachev began to emphasize democracy at the start of 1987, it was not until the middle of 1988 that serious plans were laid for significant changes in Soviet political institutions. The actual changes did not occur until 1989.