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Anatoly Chernyaev in 2010

The Diary of Anatoly Chernyaev, 1990

Fifth Installment of Former Top Soviet Adviser's Journal Available in English for First Time

National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 317

By Svetlana Savranskaya
Translated by Anya Melyakova

For more information: 202/994-7000

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Washington, D.C., May 25, 2010 - Today the National Security Archive publishes its fifth 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 chief foreign policy aide. In addition to his contributions to perestroika and new thinking, Anatoly Sergeevich Chernyaev was and remains a strong proponent of openness and transparency, providing his diaries and notes to historians trying to understand the end of the Cold War. This section of the diary, covering 1990—a tragic year, according to Chernyaev—is published here in English for the first time.

Mikhail Gorbachev and Anatoly Chernyaev

By the end of 1989, even after the peaceful revolutions in Eastern Europe, it seemed that events in Europe were developing according to Gorbachev’s vision—integration of a new democratic Soviet Union into Europe on the model of the common European home. The December 1989 meeting with President George Bush at Malta confirmed the U.S.-Soviet partnership and agreement on the main outlines of European transformation. However, already early in 1990, it was becoming clear that the swift process of German unification was undermining the evolutionary developments that in Gorbachev’s mind would lead to the transformation of the two blocs. Eventually, the Soviet Union accepted German unification in NATO and began to pull its troops out of Eastern Europe, including East Germany, spurring discontent and opposition in the ranks of the military and the still strong Communist Party.

Domestically, 1990 became the year when political forces in the country became polarized with the Inter-regional Group of Deputies in the Supreme Soviet crystallizing as the liberal-democratic opposition to Gorbachev, led by Andrei Sakharov and Boris Yeltsin, and the conservative forces consolidating around the Communist Party of the Russian Federation. In the diary entries included in this posting, Chernyaev observes Gorbachev trying to find a balance between these two poles and eventually moving closer to the latter. Chernyaev often shows his frustration and even disillusionment with his leader, questioning his reformist credentials and doubting Gorbachev’s personal loyalty to his adviser. In this section of the diary one hears deep concerns about the fate of perestroika and the Soviet Union itself.

 

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