Mikhail Gorbachev's political reign helped retract the Iron Curtain and now the award in his honor is given to other world shakers.

This year Irish rock singer Bono, film director Steven Spielberg and Google's Sergei Brin are among the nine high profile nominees for the Mikhail Gorbachev award.

The winner of "The Man Who Changed the World" award will be announced on March 30 in London, during a charitable concert dedicated to Gorbachev's 80th  birthday.

In a statement, Gorbachev said each of the nine nominees has contributed to "changing the world we're living in."

Many in the west celebrate Gorbachev's liberal reforms for leading to the collapse of Communism, although in Russia  many hold him responsible for the breakup of the Soviet Union.