30+ Years of Freedom of Information Action

Soviet-U.S. Relations

Oct 7, 2016 | Briefing Book
Washington D.C., October 7, 2016 -Thirty years ago, a Soviet nuclear submarine with about 30 nuclear warheads on board sank off U.S. shores north of Bermuda as Mikhail Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan were preparing for their historic summit in Reykjavik, Iceland.  But instead of Chernobyl-style denials, the Soviet government reached out to the Americans, issued a public statement, and even received offers of help from Washington, according to the never-before-published transcript of that day’s Politburo session, posted today by the National Security Archive.
Sep 30, 2016 | Briefing Book
Washington D.C., September 30, 2016 – The unilateral nuclear withdrawals announced by President George H.W. Bush 25 years ago this week drew an eager response from Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev to produce what experts call “the most spontaneous and dramatic reversal” ever of the nuclear arms race, according to newly declassified documents from Soviet and U.S. files posted today by the National Security Archive to mark the anniversary of the Bush initiative.
Oct 24, 2015 | Briefing Book
Washington D.C., October 24, 2015 – The newly released Soviet "War Scare" report - previously classified "TOP SECRET UMBRA GAMMA WNINTEL NOFORN NOCONTRACT ORCON" and published today after a 12-year fight by the National Security Archive – reveals that the 1983 War Scare was real. According to the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board (PFIAB), the United States "may have inadvertently placed our relations with the Soviet Union on a hair trigger" during the 1983 NATO nuclear release exercise, Able Archer 83.
May 25, 2015 | Briefing Book
"Anatoly Chernyaev's diary is one of the great internal records of the Gorbachev years, a trove of irreplaceable observations about a turning point in history. There is nothing else quite like it, allowing the reader to sit at Gorbachev's elbow at the time of perestroika and glasnost, experiencing the breakthroughs and setbacks. It is a major contribution to our understanding of this momentous period." — David E.
Mar 11, 2015 | Briefing Book
Washington, DC, March 11, 2015 – Thirty years ago today, in the Kremlin, the Soviet Politburo unanimously elected its youngest member, Mikhail Gorbachev, to the pinnacle of Soviet power — General Secretary of the Politburo of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.
Feb 4, 2015 | Briefing Book
Washington, DC, February 4, 2015 – During much of the Cold War Soviet space activities — civilian and military — were a major focus of U.S. intelligence collection and analysis. As one of the key areas of technological competition with Moscow — one where the Soviet Union jumped to an early lead in some space activities — the space race generated profound concern in Washington over the need to understand and respond to new developments. To that end, U.S.
Jul 24, 2014 | Briefing Book
Washington, DC, July 24, 2014 – Former Soviet foreign minister Eduard Shevardnadze, who passed away on July 7, brought a new diplomatic style and candor to bear in changing U.S.-Soviet relations in the late 1980s and ending the Cold War, according to Soviet and U.S. declassified documents posted today by the National Security Archive at George Washington University (www.nsarchive.org).
May 25, 2014 | Briefing Book
Previous Chernyaev Diary Postings The Diary of Anatoly Chernyaev, 1973 Eigth Installment of Former Top Soviet Adviser's Journal Available in English for First Time The Diary of Anatoly Chernyaev, 1972 Seventh Installment of Former Top Soviet Adviser's Journal Available in English for First Time The Diary of Anatoly Chernyaev, 1991 Sixth Installment of Former Top Soviet Adviser's Journal Available in English for First Time The Diary of Anatoly Chernyaev, 1990 Fifth Installment of Former Top Soviet Adviser's Journal Available in English for First Time
Aug 2, 2013 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., August 2, 2013 – The United States and Soviet Union conducted underground testing that sometimes produced significant "venting" of radioactive gases and particles which crossed international borders, even after signing the Limited Test Ban Treaty fifty years ago, in August 1963. That posed potential health hazards, but also created problems for U.S.-Soviet relations, according to documents recently uncovered through archival research. To minimize the problem, both superpowers tacitly agreed to keep their disagreements secret.
May 25, 2013 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., May 25, 2013 – Today the National Security Archive is publishing — for the first time in English — excerpts from the diary of Anatoly S. Chernyaev from 1973, along with edits and a postscript by the author. As in the previous installment of the diary, for 1972, Chernyaev, deputy head of the International Department of the Central Committee (and later a key foreign policy aide to Mikhail Gorbachev), continues to marvel at the contradictory and enigmatic person at the pinnacle of the Soviet leadership — General Secretary Leonid Brezhnev.

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