30+ Years of Freedom of Information Action

Russia and Former Soviet Union

Sep 11, 2009 | Briefing Book
Washington, DC, September 11, 2009 - During a 1972 command post exercise, leaders of the Kremlin listened to a briefing on the results of a hypothetical war with the United States. A U.S. attack would kill 80 million Soviet citizens and destroy 85 percent of the country's industrial capacity.

May 26, 2009 | Briefing Book
Washington, DC, May 26, 2009 - Today the National Security Archive publishes its fourth installment of the diary of Anatoly Chernyaev, the man who was behind some of the most momentous transformations in Soviet foreign policy at the end of the 1980s in his role as Mikhail Gorbachev's main foreign policy aide. In addition to his contributions to perestroika and new thinking, Anatoly Sergeevich was and remains a paragon of openness and transparency, providing his diaries and notes to historians who are trying to understand the end of the Cold War.

Feb 15, 2009 | Briefing Book
Washington D.C., February 15, 2009 – Twenty years ago today, the commander of the Soviet Limited Contingent in Afghanistan Boris Gromov crossed the Termez Bridge out of Afghanistan, thus marking the end of the Soviet war which lasted almost ten years and cost tens of thousands of Soviet and Afghan lives.

Dec 8, 2008 | Briefing Book
Washington DC, December 8, 2008 - Previously secret Soviet documentation shows that Mikhail Gorbachev was prepared for rapid arms control progress leading towards nuclear abolition at the time of his last official meeting with President Reagan, at Governor's Island, New York in December 1988; but President-elect George H. W. Bush, who also attended the meeting, said "he would need a little time to review the issues" and lost at least a year of dramatic arms reductions that were possible had there been a more forthcoming U.S. position.

May 31, 2008 | Briefing Book
Left: President Reagan and General Secretary Gorbachev on Red Square in front of St. Basil’s Cathedral, May 31, 1988, with interpreter Pavel Palazhchenko to the right.  Just out of the picture is U.S. Navy lieutenant commander Woody Lee, carrying the “football” briefcase with U.S. nuclear war plan options and launch codes for missiles targeting Red Square.  [Photo courtesy of Reagan Presidential Library, Simi Valley, California]

May 23, 2008 | Briefing Book
Washington D.C., May 23, 2008 - Today, the National Security Archive publishes its third installment of the diary of one of the main supporters of Mikhail Gorbachev and strongest proponents of glasnost during the perestroika period in the Soviet Union — Anatoly Sergeevich Chernyaev. This section of the diary, covering two key years of history, is being published in English here for the first time.

Dec 10, 2007 | Briefing Book
Washington D.C., December 10, 2007 - Previously secret Soviet Politburo records and declassified American transcripts of the Washington summit 20 years ago between President Ronald Reagan and Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev show that Gorbachev was willing to go much further than the Americans expected or were able to reciprocate on arms cuts and resolving regional conflicts, according to documents posted today by the National Security Archive at George Washington University.

Nov 2, 2007 | Briefing Book
Washington, DC, November 2, 2007 - Then-national security adviser Henry A. Kissinger colluded with Soviet ambassador Anatoly Dobrynin to keep the U.S. Secretary of State in the dark about ongoing secret discussions between the Soviets and the Nixon White House, according to newly released Soviet-era documents, released last week by the Department of State.

May 25, 2007 | Briefing Book
Washington, DC, May 25, 2007 - Today the National Security Archive publishes the second installment of the diary of one of the key behind-the-scenes figures of the Gorbachev era--Anatoly Sergeevich Chernyaev. This document is being published in English here for the first time. It is hard to overestimate the uniqueness and importance of this diary for our understanding of the end of the Cold War--and specifically for the peaceful withdrawal of Soviet forces from Afghanistan and Eastern Europe, and the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

Oct 13, 2006 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C. and Reykjavik, Iceland - President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev almost achieved a deal 20 years ago at the 1986 Reykjavik summit to abolish nuclear weapons, but the agreement would have required "an exceptional level of trust" that neither side had yet developed, according to previously secret U.S. and Soviet documents posted today on the Web by the National Security Archive of George Washington University and presented on October 12 in Reykjavik directly to Gorbachev and the president of Iceland.

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