30+ Years of Freedom of Information Action

Russia and Former Soviet Union

Nov 18, 2009 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., November 18, 2009 - Secret messages from senior Soviet officials to West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl after the fall of the Berlin Wall led directly to Kohl's famous "10 Points" speech on German unification, but the speech produced shock in both Moscow and Washington, according to documents from Soviet, German and American files posted today on the Web by the National Security Archive. Published for the first time in English in the Archive's forthcoming book, "Masterpieces of History," the documents include highest-level conversations between President George H.W.

Oct 30, 2009 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., October 30, 2009 - The debate over U.S. policy in the Afghanistan war features striking and troubling parallels with the choices faced by Soviet general secretary Mikhail Gorbachev in the 1980s, according to Soviet documents posted today on the Web by the National Security Archive.

Sep 22, 2009 | Briefing Book
Washington, DC, September 22, 2009 - Sixty years ago this week, on 23 September 1949, President Harry Truman made headlines when he announced that the Soviet Union had secretly tested a nuclear weapon several weeks earlier. Truman did not explain how the United States had detected the test, which had occurred on 29 August 1949 at Semipalatinsk, a site in northeastern Kazakhstan. Using declassified material, much of which has never been published, this briefing book documents how the U.S. Air Force, the Atomic Energy Commission, and U.S.

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.

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