30+ Years of Freedom of Information Action

Russia and Former Soviet Union

Dec 4, 2017 | Blog Post
This posting originally appeared on the Society for U.S. Intellectual History’s blog. George F. Kennan, cherished State Department diplomat to the Soviet Union and father of the American doctrine of Containment toward the USSR, has written that John Reed’s account of October Revolution “rises above every other contemporary record for its literary power, its penetration, […]

Nov 13, 2017 | Blog Post
This post originally appeared on The Wilson Center’s blog, Sources and Methods.  The archives of Ukraine are open and they are filled with former Soviet secrets. Anyone conducting research on the Soviet Union, nuclear history, or the Cold War should visit Ukraine as soon as possible. After being selected as the Nuclear Proliferation International History […]

May 25, 2017 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., May 25, 2017 –The National Security Archive marks what would have been Anatoly Sergeyevich Chernyaev’s 96th birthday today with the publication for the first time in English of his extraordinary diary for 1977, written from inside the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, where he was then a Deputy Director of the International Department.

Apr 4, 2017 | Blog Post
The following was published in Survival: Global Politics and Strategy (Vol 59 No 2). War Scare Sir, In ‘Able Archer 83: What Were the Soviets Thinking’ (Survival, vol. 58, no. 6, December 2016–January 2017, pp. 7–30), Gordon Barrass makes a compelling argument that Able Archer 83 provides ‘lessons on how to analyse and respond to […]

Mar 13, 2017 | News
Washington, D.C., March 13, 2017 – The National Security Archive mourns the passing of our dear friend, mentor, inspiration, and colleague, Anatoly Chernyaev, in Moscow at the age of 95. Anatoly Sergeyevich ranks as a leading protagonist of the peaceful end of the Cold War, a pioneer of “new thinking” on mutual security in international relations, and a transformative visionary for a demilitarized and democratic Soviet Union and a new Russia that tragically never came to be.

Feb 28, 2017 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C. February 28, 2017 - President Dwight D. Eisenhower ruled out military intervention in Eastern Europe early in his administration, despite campaign rhetoric about rolling back world Communism, according to a U.S. Defense Department draft history published today by the National Security Archive. Fear of provoking war with the Soviet Union drove the decision, the study finds, based on research in a variety of government and public sources.

Feb 10, 2017 | Blog Post
Air Force lieutenant general and director of the Defense Intelligence Agency Leonard H. Perroots has died.  I first learned of Perroots while reading the declassified President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board’s report on Able Archer 83 and the 1983 War Scare.  According to this report, Able Archer 83 so closely represented a nuclear launch that the […]

Jan 23, 2017 | Briefing Book
Washington D.C., January 23, 2017 – The historic summit meetings between Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and two U.S. presidents, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, built an intensive learning process on both sides that ended the Cold War, but missed numerous other opportunities to make the world safer, according to the new book, The Last Superpower Summits, featured today in the Washington History Seminar at the Wilson Center.

Dec 25, 2016 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., December 25, 2016 – On Christmas Day 25 years ago, the last leader of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev, stepped down and the hammer-and-sickle flags over the Kremlin were replaced with the red-white-and-blue of the Russian Federation. Triumphalists and conspiracy theorists ever since have attributed this epochal event to the machinations of U.S. policy makers.

Dec 20, 2016 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., December 20, 2016 – Soviet missile and space programs were among the most frequent topics briefed to the president of the United States by  U.S. intelligence during the administrations of John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard M. Nixon, and Gerald R. Ford, according to a review of recently declassified excerpts of the President’s Daily Brief posted today by the National Security Archive at The George Washington University.

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