30+ Years of Freedom of Information Action

Russia and Former Soviet Union

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.

Dec 18, 2016 | Briefing Book
Washington D.C., December 18, 2016 – Previously secret transcripts of the summit meetings between Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev from 1985 to 1988, and then George H.W. Bush with Gorbachev from 1989 through 1991, show the Soviet leader pursuing an arms race in reverse, Reagan recommending quiet dialogue on human rights, and Bush seeking new nuclear weapons before coming around to cuts at the end, according to a new book published this month by the National Security Archive and Central European University Press.

Dec 12, 2016 | Briefing Book
Washington D.C., December 12, 2016 – Newly declassified documents show that the risk of nuclear proliferation at the end of the Soviet Union in 1991 was even greater than publicly known at the time, with 3,429 Soviet strategic warheads scattered outside of Russia in various former Soviet republics, according to today’s posting by the National Security Archive at George Washington University.

Dec 6, 2016 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., December 6, 2016 – On November 9, 1983, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization launched a nuclear war against its nemesis, the Warsaw Pact, after NATO military commanders sought and received permission for “initial limited use of nuclear weapons” from the political leadership of the Western alliance.

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