K.

Marx: “The label of a system differs from labels of other goods in that, among other things, it fools not only the buyer, but often the seller as well.”

March 5, 1972 (Sunday) [Georgiy Emmanuilovich] Tsukanov (Brezhnev’s top adviser) called yesterday and notified me that I am included in a group that will prepare the General Secretary’s speech for the XV Congress of Trade Unions (March 20). Naturally, Kulakov is out of the picture. Moreover, [Georgiy Arkadievich] Arbatov conveyed to me the conversation between Tsukanov and Brezhnev: Tsukanov told Brezhnev that “the main group is being pulled apart.” To which the latter apparently replied, “Why don’t you figure this one out yourself.” March 9, 1972 In the morning I was summoned to Brezhnev’s. Tsukanov, Arbatov, and I. He already read the text yesterday and was thinking out loud, which meant he was “making comments”… He read out the beginning… “My main idea is to rise above the trade union themes. I am not supposed to stoop down to their problems on behalf of the Party, but to get them to adjust to the policies of the Party”… The selector buzzed, we recognized [Aleksey Nikolaevich] Kosygin’s voice. Brezhnev responded without turning around to face the device; it was like two people having a conversation in the same room. Tsukanov made a sign for the three of us to leave (including him). But Brezhnev stopped us. So we heard [the following]: K[osygin]: “How did you spend the holiday?” 1 B[rezhnev]: “So-so. We were at the dacha with Viktoriya Petrovna (wife). Nobody visited us. During the day she went to the hospital, our daughter (20 years old) got a duodenal ulcer. Who would have thought… But it looks like she is going to be ok.” K: “I also visited my daughter at the hospital in Barvikha. We went for a walk. In the evening I saw a movie, don’t remember what it was called. Made by the Odessa motion pictures, about our intelligence men. It was alright. Of course, there were all kinds of heroic deeds which are only ever so easy in a movie studio.” B: “I saw a movie last night with V.P… what was it called… Maybe “Shield and Sword”? It’s old, but I haven’t seen it before. It was good. During the day I called Stavropol. The Obkom [oblast committee] secretary 2 told me they have a scientist (don’t recall his last name) who completed an experiment. He sustained wheat sprouts at -20 degrees [Celsius]. It is a great achievement!

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March 8 - International Women’s Day – ed. Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev at the time – ed.

“I worked a little bit. I’m preparing for the XV Congress of Trade Unions. Some comrades are helping me right now…” K: “Oh yes… here is what I wanted to tell you. Remember we sent [Vladimir Vladimirovich] Matskevich to accompany [Sheikh Mujibur] Rahman to Tashkent. He said that on the plane, the ministers came down on him, Rahman, for giving us too many promises. He was very agitated. Later, in private he swore to Matskevich that he will fulfill everything he promised to Brezhnev and that he liked the Soviet Union so much that he did not want to leave. “Next week we are receiving [Zulfikar Ali] Bhutto and the Prime Minister of Afghanistan. With the Afghan it is simple: they want to pick at Pakistan from their side and to take away the Pashtuns. We will tell him that they shouldn’t (do this). “It is more serious with Bhutto. After all he… those generals, who executed the Bengalis, he took them into his government. Maybe we should not receive him right now?” B: “Actually, we are pretty busy right now, what do you think?” K: “We could write him a letter or convey a verbal message through the ambassador, saying that he should put his generals behind bars, otherwise we will not receive him.” B: “Oh, he is not going to agree to that…” K: “Yes, you are right… And if we do not receive him, he will run over to the Americans or the Chinese.” B: “He is already with them… Maybe we should write him a polite letter that we are not prepared right now to discuss the complex issues that have arisen from the armed conflict. Let them, say, discuss it among themselves (with India and Bangladesh) and try to settle it, it is not our job to be the middlemen. For how long should we postpone it? Until May? No… Nixon is coming in May, damn it. Then let’s do June.” K: “All right. I will talk with Gromyko.” B: “No, I’ll talk with him myself.” K: “Look at how insolent Nixon has gotten. He keeps bombing Vietnam, more and more. Bastard. Listen, Len’, 3 maybe we should postpone his visit as well?” B: “Are you kidding?” you!” K: “Why not? What a bombshell that would be! That’s not like postponing Bhutto’s visit for B: “It would be a bombshell alright, but who is it going to affect more!?” K: “Yes, you are probably right. But we should write to him, at least…”
3

Shortened familiar version of the name Leonid – translator.

B: “Yes. I think I have a letter from Nixon somewhere. I haven’t replied to it. I should use this opportunity. I want to spend this Saturday and Sunday to work on it. I’ll go through all the correspondence again, read up on some materials.” K: “Sounds good. I am going to receive the Yugoslav ambassador right now. He’s been asking for a long time. He needs to convey something from their Premier (or what do they call him there).” The selector turns off. Brezhnev switches it to Gromyko. B[rezhnev]: “Hello.” G[romyko]: “Hello. How are you (!) 4 feeling?” B: “Alright. You know, Aleksey Nikolaevich [Kosygin] just called me and suggested to postpone Bhutto’s visit. I thought – I am very busy right now, and I’m tired, plus the situation there is very uncertain, their problems aren’t settled. It is too early for us to come in as intermediaries.” G: “Nobody is asking us to be the intermediary. And we don’t need that right now.” B: “OK, I was speaking hypothetically. But you know what I mean. Plus, you know how Aleksey Nikolaevich is – he considers both options possible.” G: “Are you alone right now?” B: “I’m alone.” (He gave each one of us a look.) G: “This Kosygin changes his mind twenty times a day. My opinion is this: we should not postpone Bhutto’s visit for any reason. If he is turning to us in such a desperate situation, it means he realized that had Yahya Khan listened to us before the start of the armed conflict, he would not have lost such an important piece as Bangladesh. It means he understood that it is better to listen to us. “Right now we have very strong positions in that whole region. If we push away Bhutto, we will lose an opportunity to quickly expand and enhance them. “To demand that he jail the generals is just dumb. He will have enough time to do that. There is no need to exaggerate their role. It is not true that he is no longer in control of the situation and that everything is in the hands of the military junta. “We should strike while the iron is hot.” B: “Alright. I will raise this question at the Politburo today. You are probably right. I wavered for a minute because there is absolutely no time. Among foreign affairs, there are two things on my mind: Germany and Nixon. We need to help Brandt. I’m thinking to include a couple paragraphs in support of him and against the opposition’s arguments in my speech at the Congress of Trade Unions.” G: “That would be very important. We presented our suggestions per your request. By the way, we should mention the Common Market. It is time to decide on this issue. The opposition is pushing the
4

Gromyko uses the familiar form of address when speaking to Brezhnev, which Chernyaev notes with (!) – translator.

idea that the USSR wants to normalize relations with the FRG in order to separate it from the Common Market. And, they say, it is impossible to deal with the Soviet Union because it set a goal of waging an irreconcilable struggle against the Common Market.” B: “Yes, I am planning to say something about this. You know, Kosygin suggested to postpone Nixon’s visit, too. He said it would be a bombshell.” There was an extended silence over the selector. It seems it took Gromyko several seconds to get over the shock. G: “What’s wrong with him...” B: “Yeah, well… This Bhutto and the Afghan will probably ask to meet with me.” G: “Of course. You don’t have to give them a lot of time, but you should see them. This is important.” B: “I am tired. We will discuss everything today at the Politburo.” He turned off the selector. For about 15 minutes we continued to discuss the text. Then a call came in on the government communications line. Brezhnev, picking up the receiver: “Ah, Nikolai (it was [Nikolai Viktorovich] Podgorny calling from Gagra, where he is on vacation).” This time we could only hear Brezhnev’s side of the conversation. He briefly talked about his daughter’s illness and about some routine affairs. Then he said: “You know, Kolya, 5 my nerves are on the edge. Yesterday I had some harsh talk with [Dmitriy Fedorovich] Ustinov. He was saying how he was resolute and would insist on his point. You know this habit of his. I got wound up. Only later I came to my senses. All day I couldn’t get over it. At night, around 2 a.m., I called him. It seems we made up. In the morning he called me at work. I guess these things happen. But he and I were always so friendly. It’s my nerves… 6” “You run around doing this and that. I tell you, Kolya, unlike my predecessors, I am not just lord over others here. I’m knee-deep in work.” In the evening Tsukanov told us that at the PB everything went “well” and quickly. What “well” means he did not have the time or the inclination to explain. One thing is clear – if matters were in Kosygin’s hands, everything would go to hell. And this easily could have happened, had Brezhnev indeed only reigned in his post, instead of working.

Familiar version of the name Nikolai – translator. As we later learned from Tsukanov, Ustinov demanded from Brezhnev greater influence over the militaryindustrial complex. Brezhnev hesitated, since he took a course for détente and was forced to consider other aspects of the economy and “the people’s needs.” But pressure from his friend – who admonished, as always, about the priority of defense – took the upper hand.
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5

In the beginning, when we just came into his office, he complained about the disorder and the vastness of the information. He was sifting through a folder with ciphered telegrams, articles from American newspapers, and TASS reports. He seemed to be asking: “Could I just read the headlines? Look here – the leadership in Poland is in discord, trade unions are scheming against the Party… Can I just fix it in my memory, without looking into the heart of the matter?” Etc. March 10, 1972 Yesterday at the Politburo Bhutto’s visit was approved for March 16-18; i.e. Kosygin was swiped. The “arguments” have been approved for Brandt’s struggle with the opposition to the agreement. The ambassador is supposed to give them for “the chancellor’s consideration.” March 18, 1972 (Saturday) I haven’t written in a while. On Wednesday evening I visited B.N. at the hospital. He’s old and sickly. He told me at length about his illness and treatment. On Wednesday evening we “considered” Politburo members’ and Secretaries’ comments on L[eonid] I[lyich Brezhnev]’s text. It’s funny: we mostly corrected for “style” and smoothed out the edges, verbally concealing the deficiencies that were marked by “folksy” sayings like “if we dig deeper…” There was probably just one substantive change: [Mikhail Andreyevich] Suslov crossed out everything about the Common Market. It is a sensational part, where in order to support Brandt, we say for the first time that we will not be mortal enemies to the Common Market forever… Brezhnev rejected Suslov’s fears. B.N. is concerned about the position of Academician-Secretary of the History Department that opened up after [Vladimir Mikhailovich] Khvostov’s death. He is afraid that [Pyotr Nikolaevich] Pospelov 7 will show up again. Asked me to think about it. The next day I sent him a note suggesting [Vladimir Grigoryevich] Trukhanovsky (Editor in chief of the Voprosy Istorii [Questions of History] journal) for the position. I told B.N. about the conversation with Kosygin and Gromyko I heard in L.I.’s office. He was surprised at Kosygin. But he also called Gromyko impudent for speaking informally to Brezhnev while kissing up to [Dzhermen Mikhailovich] Gvishiani’s. He recalled that Gromyko was till the last moment against the India-Pakistan war, he thought they were one and the same thing for us. “And why shouldn’t they have a war? Results have shown that it was quite alright,” commented Ponomarev. March 19, 1972 (Sunday, 23:00) [Enrico] Berlinguer was elected Secretary General of the Italian Communist Party [PCI]. (Brezhnev’s greetings in Pravda were more reserved than even the greetings printed right above it on the occasion of [Luigi] Longo’s appointment as Chairman of the PCI.)

Pyotr Nikolaevich Pospelov – a long-time party apparatus worker from the Stalin era, a historian of the Party; he participated in the compilation of A Brief History of the CPSU(b); during the war he was an editor of Pravda. An inveterate dogmatist and political chameleon, an academician.

7

I remembered B.N.’s poisonous remarks in the hospital about the “government of the democratic shift”: “They don’t know what else to think up!” Well, what would he, B.N., advise them to think up?! March 20, 1972 (Monday) Brezhnev’s speech at the XV Congress [of Trade Unions]. Tsukanov later told me that Brezhnev was editing the speech on Saturday night. (It was noticeable when I listened to the speech on the radio). Some international aspects, like the phrase that negotiations in Peking took place under the thunder of bombs in Vietnam, were the result of Arbatov’s intervention. [Andrey Mikhailovich] Aleksandrov-Agentov found out about the changes at the last minute, half an hour before the speech. He was fuming at Tsukanov, yelling that he recognizes Arbatov’s work by the handwriting. March 22, 1972 In the morning Tsukanov again: the speech at the presentation of the order to the Trade Unions. Present: Arbatov, [Georgy Lukich] Smirnov, and I, in Tskukanov’s office. Went over it. Snot. In the evening Tsukanov told me that he will try to convince L.I. not to diminish his position by presenting this award. It is not his job. Truly, this is ridiculous. I read the transcript of the conversation between Brezhnev and Bhutto. Brezhnev handled the matter brilliantly. He brainwashed Bhutto, who walked away as our true friend. Brezhnev almost persuaded him to work with India toward an agreement on non-aggression , non-use of force, and noninterference. If that were to happen, he said, then all the remaining problems will resolve themselves, like the issue with prisoners of war Kashmir, etc. If you agree, he said, then we will “work with India” toward this. It was difficult for him [Bhutto] to take this step. But personally, he already agreed. “I will do everything I can. If I fail, at least send a wreath for my grave.” March 23, 1972 (Thursday). All day I can’t shake the feeling of self-satisfaction at how cleverly I reworked the note to the CC about responding to the Communist Party of Australia [CPA]. The gist of the matter: the Aaronses 8 (“revisionists and anti-Soviets”) are proposing a meeting of CPSU and CPA delegations, and they are asking us to send greetings for their Congress (March 31st). The note: We’ll respond after your congress, depending on its results. [If we don’t like it], we will formally sever our connections with the CPA. Vadim Zagladin returned from Italy, and it seems he secured a breakthrough in our relations with the ICP.

8

Laurence and Eric Aarons – leaders of the Communist Party of Australia, brothers.

Our ambassador in Paris met with [André] Malraux (in connection with the latter’s visit to Nixon). He assures us that all of Nixon’s actions are dominated by the upcoming meeting with Brezhnev. He does not think that anything significant has happened. Unlike the rest of the world, he has a low opinion of Zhou, 9 says he is primitive and knows a couple words in French. It turns out Zhou went to Hanoi at Nixon’s request. The latter promised to withdraw all troops and to cease hostilities as soon as the Vietnamese release the pilots. The Chinese want the role of peacemakers and are in a hurry, they are afraid that Nixon will turn to Moscow with the same request for mediation. The prisoners of war are his main trump card in the presidential elections. [Stanislav Mikhailovich] Menshikov (consultant of the International Department) spent a month in the United States. He was surprised that in comparison to 1970, when he was there last, the most urgent issue on college campuses was “freedom for homosexuals!” Whereas in 1970 students were jumping on guns because of Vietnam. Total political apathy among the youth. March 25, 1972 (Saturday, morning, at home). I’m reading the TASS reports. [Carlos] Altamirano (General Secretary of the Socialist Party of Chile, whom I met when he was in Moscow a year ago, and then saw again when I was in Chile in October of 1971) went to the PRC. He spent five hours with Zhou. Enthusiasm – “unfinished revolution,” “great nation,” “the fate of mankind” (in the spirit of Nixon), “750 million Chinese + 600 million Latin Americans,” “a recognized leader of the Third World”… Either they have despaired of the reality of Soviet aid, or it is the effect of the “revolutionary” nature of being anti-Communist and anti-Soviet, since the USSR is now a completed society, similar to a Western consumer society, and an ordinary superpower… April 1, 1972 Saturday, at home. Saw “Brother Alyosha” in the theater on Malaya Bronnaya, directed by Efros. Vomit-inducing slush. Sentimental wimpishness. I am furious about the wasted evening. Our intelligentsia (who applauded and called the author on stage) has completely lost its bearings. They are so consumed by their escapism from reality, that in their “protest” they turn to whatever may come their way. Disgusting! Two dreams of Lyudka Malova: to give herself to a man she loves on a carpet of Parma violets (from Anatole France’s “Sylvestre Bonnard”), and to walk into the Milan Opera in a gorgeous long dress, in diamonds, and with the best hairstyle in the world – so the whole evening all eyes would be only on her (even if the diamonds are only leased!). Only one evening, and a whole life! 10

Zhou Enlai – one of the main “historical leaders” of China. Who is Lyudmila Malova? She is one of four 19-20 year-old girls who were sent by the CC to Prague in 1959 to work for the Problems of Peace and Socialism journal as stenographers and typists; each of them spoke some foreign language. One of them – Valya – married a famous leader of the French Communist Party, Jean Kanapa.
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9

Saw Stalin’s grandson in the “Feeder” [cafeteria] of the “Udarnik” theater. I’m reading Alvin Toffler’s “Facing the Future: the 800-th Generation” in Inostrannaya Literatura No. 3: the end of constancy, the escalation of acceleration, rhythm of life, a society of “discarders,” a new tribe of nomads, easily replaceable people, the overabundance of choice... etc. 11 April 3, 1972 (Monday) Yesterday I was at an exhibition called “Artists of Moscow. Spring 1972” on Kuznetskyi Most. The same social impression as from “Brother Alyosha.” But this case is more complex. As the result of an easing up of restrictions, artistic development has turned back [to the period] 40-50 years ago, to a time when its “natural course was interrupted by force.” Artists are repeating Steinberg, Altman, Larionov, Petrov-Vodkin, even Chagall and Tischler. But all of this looks like feeble imitation, especially after my visit to the vaults of the Russian Museum in Leningrad, where I was in December on vacation. There are also some cheap modernist show-offs. A bunch of natural landscapes, which seem to be 100 years old, a huge number of churches (in village and city settings), Russian huts, palisades and porches, chamber portraits, etc. It is the element of political indifference and thoughtlessness. It seems people are sick of the official theme of “Social Heroism” and the like. But there is no new idea, no new form that would inspire people to look for new content. Terrifying escapism from reality. And the technique is very weak, too. Today I learned that on March 15th and 21st in several cities in Hungary there were student disturbances “with nationalist and anti-Soviet slogans.” It is not the first time that I read in TASS and the cables that economic reform led to a major shift of income to the “private-cooperative” sector. There are high incomes for academics, professors, doctors, and other intelligentsia. There are murmurs from the working class. The student groups were broken up with batons. Sixteen arrests. The “instigators” have not been found yet. Meanwhile, in recent years Hungary seemed to be the most prosperous country from “our camp.” Everybody expected an explosion in Bulgaria (after Poland in 1970). But here you go! Shumeiko’s materials for Brezhnev’s meeting with the World Council of the Peace Movement, which is on its last dying breath. April 6, 1972 (Thursday) Today I attended the Politburo [session] for the first time in my life. There was a discussion of materials for Nixon’s visit.
Another – Olya – married a consultant of the International Department [Yuriy] Zhilin. The third – Nadya – later worked for a long time in the CC International Department. The fourth is that very “Lyudka” – when she returned to Moscow she got lost in the various Ministries. In their personal lives, all these four girls ended up unhappy. In Prague they were at the center of merry companies, which transgressed all norms of CC-morality. They were smart, educated girls. I decided to include them in this political text as examples of political characters that destroyed the notions about “apparatchiks of that time.” Now we know that this is a modern Nostradamus. Back then it was perceived as something foreign to us, in the sense of “we wish we had those kinds of problems.”
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It meets in the Kremlin, not far from Lenin’s cabinet. The windows overlook the Hall of Facets, where Sverdlovsky Hall is located. The guards took a long look at me, and compared my face to the photo on my ID. The small room is the lobby. Gromyko, [Andrey Antonovich] Grechko (and two colonelgenerals and a vice admiral with him, later it turned out they were summoned to confirm their promotions to higher posts), [Nikolai Konstantinovich] Baibakov and other ministers, and some deputy department heads – a total of 10-12 people – gathered in this lobby 15-20 minutes before the start of the Politburo session. Some CC Secretaries stopped by, too. On the spot, [Konstantin Fyodorovich] Katushev assigned me [to write] an article for Pravda: he said he read a ciphered telegram that Brandt is asking for support from the Socialist International, which we are ready to give him… So we should praise the Social Democrats. (He doesn’t understand that this kind of praise from us is like a sickle to the balls for Brandt!) We were invited into the main hall for the “first question [on the agenda].” Brezhnev approved the submitted materials (praised the MFA [Ministry of Foreign Affairs], and “our Department,” as he said, i.e. precisely our Department, and… someone reminded him – [Yuri Vladimirovich] Andropov). He said that right now it is important to note only the fundamentals: the materials lay the foundation, but you can’t use them to talk to Nixon. They need to be converted into “working material.” Let every PB member provide in writing comments and suggestions on the materials. We will form a commission, which will work on this day and night. The order of last names in the committee is indicative: Suslov (member of the PB), Andropov (candidate member of the PB), Ponomarev (just a Secretary), Ustinov (candidate member of the PB), [Pyotr Nilovich] Demichev (candidate member of the PB), Gromyko, Grechko (Minister of Defense). [Brezhnev] asked to pay attention to some unacceptable approaches in the materials, including in the draft communiqué. For example, there is mention of the struggle against colonialism and neocolonialism. “How is this possible? We are teaming up with them on an issue in which we can have nothing in common?! At the Conference in 1969 we pledged to fight against the United States precisely on this issue. Nobody will understand us, first and foremost the ICM [International Communist Movement]. Or – about upholding sovereignty. Why would we write this when Nixon is fighting in Vietnam. He may agree to all of this and put it in writing. But he will not and cannot carry it out. So the communists will say to us: ‘It is all nonsense, you are naïve people.’ “We have to note down all our fundamental disagreements. But we should not use the Chinese method: our positions on one side, theirs on the other. “Of course, on many issues I will be speaking with Nixon without notes. But on paper every phrase has to be carefully weighed.” 12 April 8, 1972 There was an interesting discussion at the Politburo regarding the protocol for Nixon’s visit.
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As we can see, at the time Brezhnev’s mental capacity was still quite normal for his position.

Brezhnev: “In China, Nixon walked on the Wall (Great Wall of China) with his Madam. Here, she is going to be going everywhere alone. He is only going to ‘Swan Lake.’ Is this appropriate? “We do not have speeches prepared for the luncheon, or toasts for the reception (from our side). What if he wants to make them (and he will probably want to, he needs it)?... “We should not put the accompanying party at the hotel. Andropov won’t be able to keep an eye on them there. We should put all of them at the Lenin Hills (government mansions built under Khrushchev). They will have fewer contacts that way, too. “The crowd at the airport. Usually we have them waving flags and shouting ‘Friendship!’ It won’t do this time. But they shouldn’t be completely silent, either. We should prepare 5-6 guys to say something to the President, maybe to wish him success in the negotiations or something…” Army). Podgorny started to insist on showing Nixon the Osipov and Aleksandrov ensembles (Soviet Brezhnev: “This is not what we should show off.” Brezhnev then separately raised the question presented by Baibakov and [Nikolai Semenovich] Patolichev 13--a draft trade and economic agreement with the USA. Pogorny took the floor first: “It is inappropriate for us to get involved in these deals, with gas and oil pipelines. As if we are planning to sell off the whole of Siberia; plus, it makes us look technologically helpless. Can’t we do the same things ourselves, without foreign capital?!” Brezhnev invited Baibakov to explain. The latter calmly approached the microphone, barely suppressing an ironic smile. And he began to speak, providing from memory dozens of numbers, calculations, and comparisons. Clearly and professionally. 1. We have nothing to sell for hard currency. Only timber and pulp. This is not enough, plus we are selling it at a large loss for us. We also cannot ride forward only on the sale of gold. And it would be dangerous in the current world monetary situation, there is little prospect for success this way. 2. The Americans, the Japanese, and others are interested in our oil, or even better – gas. The fuel balance in the U.S. will become increasingly strained. Their imports will grow, and they prefer to receive liquefied natural gas. They are offering: a. To build a gas pipeline from Tyumen to Murmansk, and there a gas liquefying plant, and from there – on the ships; b. Construct a pipeline from Vilyuysk through Yakutsk to Magadan. The latter option is better for us. It will pay off in seven years. All equipment for construction and operation will be theirs.

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Nikolai Semenovich Patolichev – USSR Minister of Foreign Trade.

If we refuse, we will not be able to even approach the Vilyuysk reserves for at least 30 years. Technologically we could lay down the pipeline ourselves. But we have no metal for pipes, nor for machines or other equipment. 3. Sakhalin. The Japanese are offering to set up oil extraction from the bottom of the ocean. But we do not have the equipment for this. There is one machine, a Dutch one, that is operating in the Caspian Sea. Podgorny: “There are strong winds in Sakhalin, they will topple all the constructions.” Baibakov barely suppresses a smirk: “Nikolai Viktorovich, Sakhalin is big, these are strong winds in the north, and no strong winds in the south. And then, let the Japanese worry about these winds, but for some reason they don’t seem to mind.” In the evening I visited B.N. at the hospital. We again were talking about his report in Sofia for Dimitrov’s 90th anniversary. He started to push the idea of a direct connection between the Popular Front and people’s democracies. It’s a stupid idea. He keeps wanting to teach [foreign] communist parties, which reject this connection as such, and in essence condemn “people’s democracy” as a form of government. Sometimes I am amazed by the bureaucratic limitations of B.N.’s thinking. He is ignorant about issues that he deals with every day, but he possesses precise knowledge of the kitchen gossip of communist fraternal parties and their “scandalous” statements about us. It is mainly based on these statements that he formulated his policies. He again scolded the Italians. It is as if there was no XIII Congress of the ICP, no Grishin-Zagladin reports from Rome, no Politburo session discussing the results of [our delegation’s] visit to the Congress of the CPI, which gave a lot of support to the Italians. They are the only real force in the communist movement of the capitalist world! He even said, “If a war started now, I am not sure that they wouldn’t take a position of neutrality against us.” I protested. He pretended that he was joking. In the morning we were meeting Gus Hall 14 at Sheremetyevo airport. The Vietnamese ambassador was there. Demichev’s talk about, “Vietnam has already secured the election of the American president.” This is in connection to their powerful offensive, which after a long period of inactivity has now lasted for nine days and is upsetting the “Vietnamization” of the U.S. presidential campaign. April 16, 1972 (Sunday) Yesterday we had a subbotnik. 15 We were again working in Kuntsevo on the construction of some beautiful houses of the Central Committee complex, which the people have already dubbed “Ilyich’s Testaments.” We worked cheerfully. Our construction worker Yura was very proud of us. He repeatedly said to the foreman: “you write it down – [my team] finished first and was the first one to be transferred to another section!. During the break, our team drank three bottles of vodka and Teosyan brought good Armenian cognac from home (he lives nearby). We felt really good after that and people decided to walk

14 15

General Secretary of the Communist Party of the U.S. Saturday volunteer work day – translator.

home. I tried to walk with Nadya (one of the girls who was in Prague) but she told me, “Everybody is at home.” It is 21 degrees Celsius in Moscow, it hasn’t been so warm at this time of the year in a 100 years. On Wednesday I was at Boris Slutsky’s. He recently came back from Hungary. He and his sweet wife, Tanya. We drank wine. He told curious stories (he is a wonderful storyteller) about [Anna] Akhmatova (her feelings about Pushkin, Tolstoy, Blok and Bryusov – with the latter two she slept on occasion – and Esenin, who happened upon her in 1921 as she was washing the floors and was unable to hide a mocking grin on his “Ryazan mug.” From that moment he ceased to be a poet in Akhmatova’s eyes. She crossed him out of literature, as she later did with Zabolotsky, when he refused to drink vodka in toast to her, since he never took the stuff in his mouth and did not make an exception for Akhmatova. She called the last session of the Presidium of the Congress of the RSFSR Writers Union before her death – “a challenge to the king!” In the end, she won! Boris also told us about Konenkov and Shostakovich, who in the last fifteen years not only did not write their articles, but also did not read them. On Thursday I made an impromptu speech at the Party meeting of our Department. And once again I felt that people perceive me as a deputy department head differently from the others. Some with more sympathy, others with contempt, and probably all with some surprise and lack of understanding. They are trying to find some kind of pattern that would allow such a deputy department head to appear in the CC apparatus. They are waiting for me to fail, so the familiar situation could be restored. April 21, 1972 (Friday) The director of “Renault” said during his conversation with Kosygin: “Excuse me, but the cars manufactured by “Moskvich” and in Izhevsk are at the level of cars that we produced 15 years ago.” Brezhnev asked [Earl L.] Butz (U.S. Secretary of Agriculture) to tell Nixon that he should stop the bombing in Vietnam. Our people, Brezhnev said, will never understand or accept it. They remember the war, and you, Americans, never had such a war. [John] Gollan’s words to [Ivan Vasilievich] Kapitonov (CPSU delegation in Great Britain). “I will never agree with your ideological policies,” Gollan said, “nobody knew Daniel and Sinyavsky. You jailed them and turned their books into bestsellers. A whole ‘industry’ has been created around their names in the West. And for what? They served their terms, and the first thing they did when they got out of prison was write books about their experience in the camps and the like. Are you going to imprison them again? But what is the point of imprisoning people who are not afraid of it? “Or, take Solzhenitsyn. You made him into a Nobel laureate. By your policies you turned him into a modern Tolstoy or Dostoyevsky. If you imprison him, you’ll make him the second Christ!” And so on in this vein. In Czechoslovakia the trials of 46 former opposition activists will begin soon. These activists led some underground work. [Gustav] Husak ordered the process to be closed, as he said, “So as not to breed new Dimitrovs.” April 22, 1972

When I was visiting B.N. at the hospital last time, he told me some things about the famous Politburo that was in session from morning till night on the nationalities question. They were discussing Andropov’s report about the document discovered in Ukraine. It was written in 1966 by a group of nationalists. The gist of it is anti-“russification” and pro-separation. In the meantime, as Ponomarev reported at the PB, never in the history of Soviet power was there such an “Ukrainization” of Ukraine. “I,” he said, “provided this fact – from the days of [Dmitriy Zakharovich] Manuilsky and [Georgiy Leonidovich] Pyatakov before him, the First Secretaries of Ukraine were not Ukrainians: [Lazar Moiseyevich] Kaganovich served several times, [Pavel Petrovich] Postyshev, [Nikita Sergeyevich] Khrushchev, and others. This lasted until Podgorny.” And now, the only “practical” and “political” quality considered when picking candidates is whether he is Ukrainian. If yes, then he is automatically a good candidate. [Vladimir Vasilievich] Shcherbitsky said this, and his speech at the PB was much sharper and more self-critical than [Pyotr Yefimovich] Shelest’s. Brezhnev: “I am in touch with Pyotr Yefimovich (Shelest) on the phone every day. We talk about sausage, wheat, land reclamation, and the like. All the while, he and the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Ukraine knew about this document since 1966, they knew about the activity of the nationalists, and never said a word about it to me. He did not see a problem here. Or another example: when it became known, I called Pyotr Nilych (Demichev) and asked what he thinks of this. He started assuring me that it is not a big deal, that they took care of it, and so on. This is the position of our chief ideologist.” There is it. But really, we must look at the root of the problem. Some Armenian and Azerbaijani threads are connected to [Karen Nersesovich] Brutents. They tell him that the dislike and even hatred of Russians is growing on the basis of a spreading belief (which is, by the way, widely introduced by the local Party and government apparatus – as an alibi for themselves) that everything is going badly because the Russians are holding everything at the top, and they are incompetent and stupid. The difference of today’s nationalism is that its main repository is the local political apparatus. And it stems from the fact that the “former colonial outposts” now live much better than the Russian “mother country.” They are wealthier and they feel their “capabilities.” Gratitude, on the other hand, is not a political concept. April 23, 1972 When the week starts, I wait for Saturday and Sunday as a promise of freedom and rest. This happens every time. But they are always the days of uneasiness. You read something that you left unfinished, you look through something, sort something. And you always want to go somewhere, meet with someone, see something – a museum, an exhibition (for a while now, [Boris Abramovich] Slutskyi has been calling me to go see the underground artists), visit Dez’ka (the famous poet David Samoilov), go to Opalikha, visit Karyakin, Vad’ka… These are all attempts to run away from myself, to hide behind the appearance of activity. It is because I do not have my own work in life, something outside of my job. And my job, most of the time, is a profanation of real aspirations. I write articles and reports for Ponomarev, texts for Brezhnev and others. Though sometimes it is possible to play an advisory role in the determination of real political

positions (in respect to this or that party, communist movement, some matters of foreign policy, some actions in the sphere of political propaganda). I will be 51 soon. What have I done in my life? Nothing really that would be worthwhile for my successors. But I lived an honest life: I did not hide from responsibility, did not trample on anyone, I defended convictions when it wasn’t hopeless, I did not dance to the tune of any authorities, I certainly did not aid dishonesty and social stupidity, I held ideological scoundrels in contempt and did everything in my power to trip them up. And still, I do not have my own work, my master work. I do not even have a course for a dissertation. This is not so much because I lack confidence in my abilities, but mostly because my own experience (and that of everyone around me) shows the pointlessness of this so-called social science, the futility of its existence and the wasted paper. This is why life in research institutes is either full of vanity and sexual exchanges, or vulgar fussing of ambitions and careers under the pretense of ideological struggle. It’s sickening. I don’t want to write anything (for publication), not just my dissertation. I know too much, therefore any composition (and it can only be on the subject of science or politics) seems to be lying to myself and others. Of course, the habit of a graphomaniac to always be writing something must produce a sense of being a craftsman (no matter what you do, just as long as you have something to do – fill pages and be satisfied with your words and paragraphs). But I don’t have this journalistic habit. Although indirectly, it is there somewhere: I notice that at work, a well-written paper gives me a feeling of satisfaction regardless of its actual significance. Oh yes, by the way, Brezhnev met with the Vietnamese ambassador last week. The press afterwards was full of expressions of solidarity and the like. But in the conversation there was a counterpoint of demanding and emphatic concerns (and requests to convey it to Hanoi) about the fact that “we did not know anything about the plans for the offensive, nor its goals, not its real progress.” We find out about it only through the published reports of “our common enemy.” April 25, 1972 Yesterday in the evening Shaposhnikov and I visited B.N. in the hospital. We talked about the upcoming trip to Sweden, about [Aleksandr Yevgenievich] Bovin. I received Frida Brown (wife of one of the leaders of the “healthy forces” in Australia, a member of the CC of the new Socialist Party). She declared that this is an “historical meeting” because for the first time a representative of the Socialist Party of Australia [SPA] is received in the CC CPSU. I expressed support and approval for the SPA rather bravely (without having the proper authority for it) and encouraged her to keep it up against the Aarons brothers & Co. It was announced that Kissinger was in Moscow from April 20-24th, and Brezhnev and Gromyko received him. In the meantime, our Department is receiving letters from everywhere (including the scientists of Byelorussia) with demands to reject Nixon’s visit because he is bombing Vietnam. We are reaping the fruits of our own propaganda during Nixon’s visit to Peking!

April 27, 1972 All day today we were in suspense: the Bundestag was deciding the fate of Brandt’s government. [Rainer] Barzel moved for a “constructive vote of no confidence.” Everything depended on two-three votes. And before that, a couple of Social Democrats and “Free Democrats” were bought up by the CDU. Fortunately, Brandt “won,” even by two votes! May 1, 1972 I was on Red Square. I walked there slowly. All kinds of thoughts. The main one: “order!” The central streets are cleared of people. There was a cordon of police and people’s guards at Kropotinskie Vorota, and at every turn after that. My god, how much police we have! And hoards of people’s guards, too. This is also “order.” The cordons making way for cars with special passes on the windshields is also “order.” The fact that the passengers in these cars ride to work despite the fact that they live a 15-20 minute walk away, this is “order” too. And the chains of soldiers and “volunteers” that make up the columns that are already on Manezhnaya Ploshchad’… These are all elements of “order.” Podgorny’s speech, which consisted of the necessary phrases, old tired formulas and banalities – this is also a symbol of “order,” of stability, of the “establishment”! Moreover, when the speech ended and the “Internationale” thundered (through loudspeakers, of course) over the Square – with its archaic text and almost incongruously moving rhythm and music – this was also a component of “order,” because there exists a decision to play the “Internationale” because we need official revolutionary enthusiasm for our “order.” Try to express that! What took place on Red Square is a grand abstraction, of course (this became especially evident when I walked down Kremlyovsky Proezd half an hour before the parade ended and saw up close the remains of columns walking toward me…). But even knowing that it is an abstraction, you still get emotional. Very. For many reasons. First of all – the “physical parade.” Girls – healthy, beautiful in their colorful pantsuits, all pretty, showing off their tits, their gait, their hair. Of course they have nothing of the ideology and romanticism of the 1930s. But they exude health, the strength of the people… and prosperity. Yes, there are very many nicely and fashionably dressed young women at this demonstration (it’s stunning how many beautiful women can be gathered in one place) – which shows that there is a considerable level of prosperity already. And this makes one emotional. The melodies are pleasant too, the old ones and the new ones. May 7, 1972 After the reception at the GDR Embassy [Yuri Aleksandrovich] Zhilin and I went for a walk. He was philosophizing about our work at the International Department, saying that we’re not doing what we should be. He said that if we weren’t so busy servicing B.N. with reports, articles, etc. – on which we spend our best creative powers, our time, and our energy – we could be producing analytical materials about the Communist Movement, preparing initiatives, considering the strategy of our policies in the International Communist Movement. I objected: if it wasn’t for B.N. and his aspirations to be a theorist, what would we be doing at all? We would be working on routine stuff, like our sister department (socialist countries). I reminded Zhilin that since 1966 there have been numerous attempts to seriously analyze the state of the International Communist Movement and our strategy as a whole. Once there were even plans for a special CC Plenum on the subject. Where did all of this work go? It is in my safe, a dead weight, work for the wastebasket.

Our “bosses” don’t need this. The Communist Movement right now is nothing more than an ideological addendum to our foreign policy, and archaic “argument” that we are still an “ideological authority,” and not just a superpower. The Communist Movement as an independent force with its own laws and objectives is nothing but a disadvantage to us right now. It is best to ignore it as such, although some parties, as sovereign authorities, sometimes cannot be ignored. That is why it is totally idealistic to offer objective analyses of the movement and to attempt to develop a strategy for the International Communist Movement. I told Zhilin: if B.N. leaves, they will give us the Candidate of Science [Stepan Vasilievich] Chervonenko (former ambassador to Czechoslovakia), then are you going to spend much time working on “problems”?! It was enough to put the question that way, and all arguments disappeared. I’m reading Zbigniew Brzezinski’s “Between Two Ages”! May 8, 1972 Yesterday Ella and I stopped by a movie theater that plays reruns, the Nikitsky one. We saw Bumbarash with Zolotukhin. It’s based on the story by [Arkady] Gaidar. The same spirit as in V ogne broad net [No Path through Fire], Beloye solntse pustyni [White Sun of the Desert], and some others. Though done in a conventional manner and with some exaggeration, this film expresses with great skill our original revolutionary idealism. It is clearly the reaction of the young generation to the conformism of our establishment, our stable and orderly life. It is also a reaction to the cynicism of the people who officially profess Leninism, but in regular life have long been guided by quite different motives. Here you see the “generation gap,” in which you can clearly discern the social and ideological tensions of our society. It is no wonder that all such pictures come out with difficulty, bowdlerized, and have limited runs mainly in peripheral theaters. Lapin, Romanov, Kat’ka, 16 and others are too smart to not figure out what’s going on. This echoes what Gen’ka told me yesterday. She was giving a tour to a class of fifth graders from some Moscow school. One boy, very intelligent, serious, and meticulous, told her, “We have two buildings near my school, they are from the XVII century. There’s a sign on them that they are historical monuments and are maintained by the State. What kind of maintenance is it, if they are completely run down, debilitated, and neglected?” Later, when they were walking from one exhibit to another, she asked him, “Do you study antiquities?” “No,” he said, “I study the year 1937!” Gen’ka was shocked, and at first pretended that she did not understand. He asked her, “Don’t you know what 1937 is?” “How do you study it, where do you get materials and so on?” “Yes, it’s hard to get any materials. But I will not give up. I have to find out how it became possible for so many innocent people, revolutionaries, and Leninists to be killed!” This is a fifth grader. May 9, 1972

16

Sergey Georgievich Lapin – Chairman of State Radio and Television; Grigoriy Vasilievich Romanov – Head of the CC CPSU Department of Culture; Yekaterina Alekseyevna (“Kat’ka”) Furtseva – USSR Minister of Culture.

Victory Day. A terrible day. It seems to contain all your youth, all the most important things in life, all your real importance and self-respect. And you want to escape somewhere, do something, to be with people… With which people? With whom? Yesterday I spent the whole day with Kol’ka Varlamov. 17 We walked around the streets together. I told him about all my goings-on. Then we started drinking, and when we were drunk I walked him to his house. Today we did not meet up or even call each other: either he is busy, or maybe it’s me – there is a sense that we should not spoil the effect of our meeting yesterday, because we have nothing left to do together. I’m in a state of complete despair – from the relentless loneliness, from which it is impossible to escape. An’ka (my daughter) did not even congratulate me on the holiday. Gen’ka too. I destroy in the most vulgar way all of my so-called “free time” out of pity for her, out of my innate sense of duty, out of my attachment to her helplessness. I have so many opportunities to meet with interesting people, to be in very meaningful society… And in recent years I’ve felt a sharp increase in my yearning for intellectual stimulation (particularly through paintings – when I was in Leningrad last December, I got the greatest pleasure and the strongest impressions from the Russian Museum, where I’ve been about a dozen times. The vault left me completely stunned). And despite all this, I spend my Saturdays and Sundays (when they are free) in my room (while she lays in hers) only in order not to hurt her feelings, so she can be calm, and… so I don’t feel guilty. Idiotic. Today – on such a day – [Yuri Petrovich] Lyubimov invited me to a commemorative screening of A zori zdes’ tikhie [At Dawn it’s Quiet Here] and then to a party at Taganka. Oh, how I wanted to be among those people, who for some reason like me, or at least they are always happy to see me. And they themselves are talented and cheerful. But I stayed home and read Brzezinski, and from time to time walked over to the TV, where Gen’ka was watching a banal concert broadcast from the theater of the Soviet Army. Two-hour walk around Moscow with Brutents. This time the city is quite empty. He told me about his trip to Hungary with Kuskov (for the anti-imperialist Congress). Impressions: vigorous economic activity, the store shelves are full of goods, the prosperity is evident and obvious. But the “middle class” and intelligentsia profit from it mostly, the workers much less so. The gap is growing, as are internal tensions. Ideological “debauchery,” though they clamped down on the striptease joints. The apparatus and in the higher echelons of the party are already dividing into “we” (the healthy forces) and “they,” for whom “Moskvich” and “Volga” cars are no longer enough, they want Mercedeses. There are forecasts that “quite something” will happen if this continues for another year-year and a half. After you have your fill of Brzezinski’s “Between Two Ages” (he sees everything, understands everything, and is very deep and merciless) it becomes impossible to write anything serious for publication. Everything will be unbelievably hackneyed, with demagoguery and lies. The only way to refute him is through logic, i.e. to try to show the shortfalls of his analysis and method. But to refute him factually… There are no such facts, only the passionate desire to disagree with his conclusions and predictions.
17

My friend from the front. An employee of the General Department of the CC CPSU.

May 21, 1972 Last night I returned from Sweden. Official delegation of the Central Committee ([Mikhail Vasilievich] Zimyanin, [Aleksandr Arvidovich] Drizulis from Latvia, and I). There hasn’t been anything like it since 1964. When [Carl-Hendrik] Hermansson became chairman of LPC (Left Party-Communists of Sweden), without a backward glance they harshly criticized us for “Stalinism;” went between us and the Chinese, with more sympathy toward the Chinese; and refused to have relations with other parties, first and foremost with us. Then there was Czechoslovakia and Hermansson’s public demand to break all ties with the USSR. This was followed by TV personality [Viktor Osipovich] Shragin “unmasking” Hermansson as the husband of a Jewish millionaire wife (by the way, I saw her there, a beautiful woman; and [Yevgeniy Aleksandrovich] Vorozheikin 18 says that if it wasn’t for her, Hermansson would have never become a communist. She always treated us with sincere affection). They say that when journalists asked Hermansson what he thought about this attack by Shragin, he said, “I knew that they will condemn me over there, but I never imagined that they would stoop so low.” So, now that there has been a mutual change in sentiments, they invited us. From May 14-20th. I would need a whole notebook to describe everything. Point by point. The Arlanda airport: the embassy staff, the last time we saw the handsome and all knowing M.N. Streltsov (embassy adviser, he is being transferred to Finland), Vice Chairman of the LPC [Lars] Werner, Urban Carlson (Secretary of the CC), Marklund with two young girls (possibly Werner’s daughters). Then the hosts left us to rest for that day – Sunday. A tour of the city with the ambassador: villas, park, riding, television tower. In the evening in “Lido” (Zimyanin, Vorozheikin, me, Yakhontov (Pravda correspondent)): porno films alternating with live performances. Monday the 15th. First meeting with leadership of the LPC: Hermansson, Werner, Forsberg, Carlson, Johansson. To Zimyanin’s surprise (he prepared “the history of the CPSU’s work after the XXIV Congress”), Hermansson simply started asking questions, the first one being: “Nixon is going to Moscow, and at the same time he lays minefields in Haiphong; the Vietnam War is growing… We are pressured from all sides for explanations.” (The Vietnam War movement in Sweden is one of the strongest in the world. This reflects both the level of real democracy and democratic awareness in the country, as well as the skillfulness of the politicians who managed to mobilize and use this factor.) Zimyanin started saying something incoherent, and he got louder and louder, too. Ironic smiles soon gave way to outright boredom. Since I had the opportunity to think a bit while Zimyanin was talking, I asked for a turn to speak. Zimyanin was completely confused and rushed after his speech, so he agreed, and in 5-7 minutes I tried to ease the situation a little. Breakfast. Vorozheikin-[Olof] Palme (Chairman of the Social Democratic Party of Sweden, Prime Minister). In the evening at the Carlton Hotel – a meeting with the Stockholm Party organization: Johansson with the face of a turtle, the “organized opposition” to smoking and wine, he refused to serve
18

Yevgeniy Aleksandrovich Vorozheikin – Assistant of the CC International Department, specialist on Sweden.

in the army 10 years ago and was sentenced to a month in jail. Now he is choosing which jail to serve his sentence in, and when to do it: during vacation or while working. All of this is allowed, together with two “holidays” per month for all prisoners. His deputy is a doctor with long hair and unkempt looks. They say he is a great orator, but his appearance is of a slobbering, mumbling amateur – it does not inspire confidence. Levan (member of the Secretariat). Both of them are “academics,” i.e. intellectuals. The other 10 are workers, including members of the Riksdag. One of them is a young man of about 27, an “ideologist” of proletarian beginnings, who hates the “academics.” He couldn’t care less about all of their ideas. He is a construction worker and earns on par with a doctor, that very one. He has a house, a car; he is “at home” in the trade union, which is a real force. He is a deputy and has a strong voice in the municipality. He believes that everyone should be like him. There was also a former member of the Spanish International Brigades (62, retired) in the group. For a while he was serving time supposedly for spying for us. In recent years he was the loudest antiSoviet. Now he warmed up. Zimyanin was more confident in this conversation than in the morning. However, another tendency of his came through: the patronizing tone, familiarity, authoritative (stupid) jokes. The topics: again Nixon and Vietnam, then – youth. Zimyanin and then Drizul went on at length about how tough it is for young people in the U.S., and how drugs are the bane of their existence. Tuesday the 16th. Prepared the communiqué with Carlson. A meeting with the Communist faction in the Riksdag. Zimyanin laid out the framework of the CPSU pretty coherently. His manner of speaking ruins his own speeches and statements: once he says something, often effectively and on-point, he gets carried away with his success and starts to comment on his own words. It turns ridiculous and boring, and then quite uncomfortable, especially when a didactic note seeps in (which happens almost without exception), and he starts explaining platitudes from the top down. In a word, he starts on a “campaign against illiteracy.” After breakfast – the Social Democrats: Secretary General Anderson, Secretaries Carlson and Tunnel. The atmosphere was completely different than with the Communists. With them, there was strained seriousness, which concealed a feeling of inferiority, differences among themselves that they wanted to hide, mistrust and wariness towards us. With the Social Democrats, there was confidence in their strength, and not the slightest fear that interacting with us would harm the “independence” of their party, which resulted in an open and friendly tone, jokes, irony, and plenty of “laughing at ourselves.” (After running three times in the course of our conversation to the hall where parliamentary voting was taking place, Stan Anderson said “severely” – he is sick of this button war, he is now against the parliamentary democracy, which prevents him from having a peaceful conversation with his friends). They willingly told us about their affairs and inter-party struggles, and gave characteristics of various figures and so on. I think Zimyanin was a little overwhelmed. It’s not the first time for Vorozheikin and me, we really are already “friends” and that’s why our hosts took that tone. But for Zimyanin, it seems, it was the first time seeing firsthand Social Democrats of that rank in such a good mood. Even in Moscow he

was anxiously asking me what we will tell them if they ask why we consider them “betrayers of the working class.” In the evening we flew to Gothenburg. It was cold, but I didn’t bring my raincoat. May 22, 1972 Nixon arrived today. But I’ll finish describing Sweden. At the hotel we had some beers and our first “discussion.” Hagel is the chairman of the district party organization. I discharged a long tirade about the Soviet people’s sacrifices at the altar of internationalism. Morning of May 17th – a drive through the city, blocks that are going to be demolished; view of the city from the hill with the stylized Viking church (built in 1912), which is beautiful. The flying bridge across the Göta Elve River; port, shipyards, new city blocks, a satellite town with a shopping center in the middle. Too bad there is no theater, cinema, etc. The communists criticized the municipality for this, though they noted that everybody has a car and it’s a 10-minute drive to the city center. The public library is a wonder of modern culture, and, as we would say, “cultural services.” It was created with electronic technology, the great imagination and ingenuity of the staff, and their sincere and, I would add, ideological commitment to public education. All of this was funded by the municipality. The state – not a single krona. Breakfast at a restaurant with Mayor Hansen (former sailor). A big and merry man from a large bourgeois party, friend of the USSR. He told a story of how some students, imitating the Parisians, seized a brewery in 1968 and demanded that “beer pipe” be extended into the workers’ quarters and student dormitories. The director of the brewery gave an interview during the period of “ferment.” The Volvo factory! Sixty percent of the workers are foreigners. Lunch at the “red restaurant” with Hagel and others. An interesting conversation – the beginning of a discussion. An official meeting with the board of the district communist organization. Zimyanin was very loud, impulsive, verbose. My interventions on Nixon and Vietnam, on Solzhenitsyn, Chile and “revolutionary expediency,” and on “freedom of expression.” It was already late when we met with the local dock workers’ organization. Proletarians, fighters for communism at a time when everyone has a decent living. Dedicated ordinary people. They are the descendants of “Party Cell No. 1,” the Communist Party of Sweden, which emerged in 1917 – the oldest one after Bolsheviks. Zimyanin’s speech was long and cocky. I made comments on the crisis of capitalism, economic relations between the USSR and capitalist countries, which supposedly hinders the revolutionary process in those countries; on Nixon and Vietnam. total. A tall and skinny girl looked at me with big, wondering eyes. There were around 150 people

In the morning of May 18th we flew to Stockholm. Work on a ciphered telegram to Moscow. Meeting with Palme at the Riskdag: we entered the building and nobody even asked who we were and where we were going. The embassy staff tells amazing (to us, not to Swedes) stories about Palme. About how he and his daughters were pushed into the crowd at a stadium; how he was dragged through the courts because he ran a red light, and was given a large fine at the commissariat; how he drives himself every week to meet the voters, etc. He is a smart, sharp, competent man of 42. Zimyanin handled all the conversations well. Only one time he could not resist and schooled Palme in internationalism. Then we had the final meeting with the party leadership. Though before that we sat at the hotel with Carlson (the Social-Democrat one, they have so many Carlsons!) working on the communiqué; he asked us to take out the part about the “joint struggle against anti-Sovietism.” We finished everything up quite amicably. Had breakfast together in the Riksdag’s self-serve cafeteria. Zimyanin went home. Evening reception at the embassy. A stupid event. At the Town Hall. Breakfast. Conversation with the head of the municipality – a communist (forgot his name). Sincerely and about everything. Then a sex shop, bought some dildos. Very expensive – half of my cash is gone. At [Krister] Wickman’s (Minister of Foreign Affairs). Mostly I spoke. Very interesting conversation: about ecology, the fate of Europe, social-democracy, uniting with Communists, Brandt, relations between the Swedish Social Democratic Party and the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, about the fact that Wickman and Palme are very pleased that we explained everything to “their communists.” About the danger of fascism and who was responsible for letting it happen. Wickman’s secretary took notes in a big notebook. Trip to a big shopping center outside the city with Yakhontov (Yuliy Alekseyevich) and his Irina. Very nice. Morning of the 20th – shopping. The plane was late (broke down in Oslo), so I had an extra three hours. A sincere conversation with U. Carlson, accompanied by some cognac and nuts. About the Centre Party and the danger of fascism, about the sharp disagreements in the Party, about the danger of a conspiracy by WernerFrosberg against Hermansson, etc. He turned out to be much smarter, better educated, and a deeper thinker than I initially thought. Departure. June 3, 1972

For two weeks I didn’t have time to even open this notebook. The Nixon visit. It is inconceivable to convey even in the most suppressed form the flow of ideas that emerged in the world press about this event. I will quote here the concluding paragraph from the speech Nixon’s gave before Congress an hour after he came back to the U.S. An unparalleled opportunity has been placed in America's hands. Never has there been a time when hope was more justified or when complacency was more dangerous. We have made a good beginning. And because we have begun, history now lays upon us a special obligation to see it through. We can seize this moment or we can lose it; we can make good this opportunity to build a new structure of peace in the world or we can let it slip away. Together, therefore, let us seize the moment so that our children and the world's children can live free of the fears and free of the hatreds that have been the lot of mankind through the centuries. Then the historians of some future age will write of the year 1972, not that this was the year America went up to the summit and then down to the depths of the valley again, but that this was the year when America helped to lead the world up out of the lowlands of constant war, and onto the high plateau of lasting peace. Needless to say, this was not published here. But I think the essence of our assessments of the events boil down to ultimately the same thing. Except we express ourselves in ideological language. However, this language is not accidental. Firstly, because our view of ourselves as an ideological power (=part of the International Communist Movement) still remains a part of our real force (after all, mythology was also a force in its time). Secondly, because a huge, multi-million army of people feeds off this ideology. These people comprise a very influential part of our social and Party mechanism and have to be taken into consideration. The same as the Church was back in the day. Thirdly, over the years and decades we learned to see and present political phenomena only through the familiar ideological terminology. In this regard – a characteristic episode. On May 28th [Felix Yurievich] Ziegel invited me and Gen’ka to his celebration (!) of the 300th anniversary of the birth of Peter I. The event itself was great; Felix thought up this whole creative and witty affair, he spoke only Old Slavonic for the entire evening, etc. But that is not the point. There were two couples among the guests: a geologist with his wife, and a fairly well known science fiction writer Kazantsev. Both of them are bearded men. Nixon’s speech came on the TV just as we were all having a great time at the party. Everybody listened to it, and… The reaction of these two beards: Nixon is a hypocrite, listen to him talk, he is talking about peace while killing Vietnamese children, a politician has a tongue just so he can conceal what he really thinks,” etc. These are typical conclusions of a regular guy on the street. And, I must say, this was the mass perception of Nixon. Be that as it may, still, we’ve crossed the Rubicon. The great Rubicon of world history. These weeks of May 1972 will go down in history as the beginning of an era of convergence – not in the trite sense of this word as it is presented by our ideologues like Fedoseyev, but in its revolutionary sense that will be the salvation of humanity.

Our press stopped making noise about the struggle against imperialism and such. Right now it is a diplomatic situation, but one day it will become reality. Yes! Thanks to our present strength. Here are some confidential illustrations for this conclusion. On May 29th I was summoned (together with [Nikolai Vladimirovich] Shishlin from our sister department) to the Secretariat (Ponomarev, Demichev, Kapitonov, Katushev) and received an assignment to prepare Brezhnev’s May 31st speech for the Politburo on the results of Soviet-American relations. In addition, I’d already read some Brezhnev-Nixon conversation transcripts. I will mention only the most important things I learned during these two days of working “at the top” and “for the top.” So, about Nixon, what I remember. One on one, Nixon told Brezhnev (in relation to the People’s Republic of China): “Believe me and remember that I will never do anything that would hurt the Soviet Union.” Already on the airplane (on the way to Kiev), Kissinger told [Anatoly Fyodorovich] Dobrynin (to be passed on, of course): “The President is disappointed by the outcome of the economic negotiations. As you understand, our options are limited if the companies are not interested, it is not profitable for them. But we will do everything to conclude a trade agreement this year. And it will be very favorable for you. I assure you.” Perhaps Kissinger and Nixon really adhere to the concept so widely promoted by the New York Times and the Washington Post, who believe that the best way to establish universal peace on earth, or at least prevent nuclear war, is to raise the Soviet people’s standard of living to American levels, with all the ensuing consequences. Kissinger also told Dobrynin that in the fall, the President will make an offer (in the sphere of disarmament) that “you will like very much.” In the meantime, in the CC letter to the Party members on the outcomes of the Nixon visit, alongside the relevant information and the “balanced,” perhaps objective assessments (taken from the CC letter to fraternal parties) there is an overview of “letters from the workers” about Nixon’s televised appearance. He’s a hypocrite, we can’t trust him, he talks about peace while at the same time killing women and children in Vietnam. Perhaps this is partially an element of our semiconscious desire to preserve the status of ideological superpower (our distinction and for now a real factor of our strength). However, it is being done “Demichev-style,” so to speak, i.e. stupidly and crudely, with no thought for the future, calculating not two, but barely half a step ahead. [Josip Broz] Tito. He was in Moscow with his Jovanka (who’s gotten somewhat heavy, but still quite appetizing at her 60-something, and dressed in diamonds and furs, to boot). The German ratification and Tito’s arrival took place in the Nixon context. Demonstrative geniality, friendship, respect, even some kind of reverence towards him – it is a notable event. Some newspaper, I think the Observer, wrote that the visit signifies that in the new context, when the “greats” agreed on a status quo, Tito will no longer be able to balance so cleverly between the “two,” as he did for 20-plus years. So he made a choice (taking into account his internal difficulties). Perhaps, perhaps…

However, I see another aspect of it. From now on, “Yugoslavian revisionism” ceases to be a factor in our internal ideological politics. If someone wants to threaten with it, it’ll have to be done quietly! And Tito did not go to Canossa. In his public speech at “Ballbearings,” which was published in Pravda, he mentioned self-governance three times and talked a great deal about noninterference and everyone’s sovereign rights. He mentioned only once, but authoritatively, the various forms of socialism, and said that socialism is a global phenomenon that transcends boundaries and not just a system of government. He did not say a word about the Soviet Union’s achievements in world affairs, or the shift in Soviet-American relations. June 11, 1972 It sounds like Bulat Okudzhava was expelled from the Party because the emigrant journal Grani published something by him, and he refused to condemn them for it in Literaturnaya Gazeta. Moreover, people say he sent a Thank You letter to Grani. It is strange. Hard to believe. June 19, 1972 On Monday I saw the play “Under the Skin of the Statue of Liberty,” based on [Yevgeny Aleksandrovich] Yevtushenko’s poems, at the Taganka Theater (the play isn’t permitted yet, this was a review performance). Lyubimov was dazzling in the full originality of his talent. After the play I kissed him in front of Yevtushenko, [Sergey Sergeyevich] Narovchatov and someone else. It was truly talented, unlike anything else. The whole play is permeated with a clever message to circumvent the censors: America is being exposed, but almost every line is full of “associativity,” sometimes almost to the point of hooliganism (Lyubimov-style). I said some things to him afterwards (about Kennedy, about “I ain’t no anti,” 19 about Christ, etc.). In the evening I portrayed for Ella a moron Doctor of Philosophy from the cultural administration – how he would report to his superiors about this thoroughly anti-Soviet piece. Even with my “gift” for mimicry, it was easy to depict. She couldn’t stop laughing. And there was nothing she could say to argue with me. I got more and more wound up. Finally I told her: I am very afraid for your show and for you all… I am afraid because this kind of moron, or not even necessarily a moron, but someone like Aleksandrov-Agentov, for example (with all his culture and intelligence) – a super principled supporter of “order” – could see the play and say, “It is astonishing that in 1972, in the center of Moscow, this anti-Soviet thing is being openly shown, and everyone acts as if nothing is happening.” And it would be game over for you! But nobody at the cultural administration or the Ministry of Culture is saying anything of the sort. The people who allowed this play to be shown to the public (but have not yet given an official permission for the première) are vacillating and hinting, but they do not dare to openly say what they think. So we are left with a vicious circle of self-deception: Lyubimov (together with Yevtushenko) portrays America, but consciously wants to tell the audience and the public what he thinks about our order, our moral system, and our authorities. When someone tries to delicately correct him, he goes on the attack: “How could you think this! We state very clearly exactly what we mean!” The authorities (“cultural representatives”) are deliberately pretending that they don’t notice the essence of Lyubimov’s plan. They do not dare to say it and sack the play, because it really
19

Quote from Yevtushenko’s poem “Under the Skin of the Statue of Liberty” – translator.

does sound wild to publicly announce that they saw themselves and their environment in a play that attacks America! But at the same time, they understand that someone like Aleksandrov could cynically expose it on his level. And they’re going to get hell for it. So they are afraid to fully allow the play. This hypocrisy is the sad result when society is not allowed to look at itself in the mirror, even though everyone knows what it really looks like. The Taganka Theater went to Leningrad (where the play was not allowed). July 15, 1972 Last Sunday, Anwar Sadat demanded immediate withdrawal of Soviet specialists and all Soviet military from Egypt—to protest the fact that he wasn’t given what was promised to him during his last meeting with Brezhnev in Moscow. Namely, offensive weapons, and Su-17 fighter-bombers. There was a commotion. We persuaded [Aziz] Sedki, the Prime Minister of Egypt, to come to Moscow. I think we settled it, in the sense that we gave them quite a bit of what they were asking. A week ago [Hafez] alAssad, the President of Syria, was here. This guy is moderate and still he was able to get our guys to practically approve a “military solution” and got a great deal. Sedki, 200 people from the regional committee to show enthusiasm during his departure. [Leonid Ivanovich] Grekov (Secretary of the Moscow City Committee), [Boris Leonidovich] Kolokolov (MFA Chief of Protocol). The negotiations ran behind schedule and the guest was delayed for his flight. I allowed the people to go, because it was hot, they were sitting for four hours without lunch, and it was Friday… As a result, “the people” were not there to see Sedqi off. There could be some “serious consequences” for me. July 22, 1972 It is hot all the time, near 30 degrees. The weather forecasters on TV are reporting that this is unprecedented in the whole history of the weather service in Russia. The crops perished in Astrakhan, Saratov, Volgograd, and Stavropol regions. The world press has been buzzing about this week’s two sensational events: 1) The Soviet Union purchased feed grain from the Union States for $750 million (“to fulfill its promise to feed the Soviet people meat”). Naturally, there is no mention of it in our press, even though this deal, which is comparable in scope to LendLease, is unprecedented in the history of the Soviet Union. 2) Sadat ordered our military personnel out of Egypt after all. It may be for the best – we will not be liable when he tries to wage war against Israel and gets smacked once again. As for our “superpower prestige”… in our time, it is not so precious in that sense. Quite the contrary. After all, the Swede Palme keeps saying, “If the U.S. wins the Vietnam War, it will be the greatest disgrace for America!” I am covering Latin America for Kuskov (he is on vacation). Arrival and departure of the Secretary of the Communist Party of Argentina [Alvarez Geronimo] Alvedo, as well as [Americo] Ghioldi, who was here to receive a decoration. The farewell reception was on Plotnikov Street. Speeches, toasts. They are both 74 years old. One has a wife named Carmen, the other – Lida.

Today I was at Ernst Neizvetsny’s studio on Gilyarovsky Street. Again I am stunned – he is amazingly talented. But also resourceful… otherwise he could not survive. We went to the “Electro-72” exhibition in Sokolniki, where his 13-meter sculpture stands in the main hall. He told me how [Vladimir Nikolaevich] Yagodkin threw a fit about it – why was it installed without his knowledge. They almost had to remove the sculpture on the eve of the exhibition’s opening. Luckily, the supervisor from the regional committee turned out to be an experienced and decent woman, she had all the paperwork prepared to prove that everything was done “by the books” – had gone through the right number of inspections and commissions, etc. But still… there are no signs anywhere about the sculpture, not in any of the brochures or the program, not by the entrance. Nowhere does it say that the central artistic symbol of the exhibition is a work by Neizvestny. But almost all of the mediocre stuff is presented as signature pieces. So this truly great sculptor and artist of our time has to find all kinds of “influential acquaintances” like me, has to run around, be clever, “get around” the people who cannot be overcome – all of this only so he can have an opportunity to show his art to the people. He asked me to get Zimyanin (Pravda) to print a photo of his sculpture in the paper on the occasion of the exhibition’s closing. Yesterday I read George Kennan’s essay on the 25th anniversary of his own “X Article” about the fate of the world after the war. A lot of important stuff about us. I should write out some excerpts… July 29, 1972 It’s hot. Something in me is starting to break. Sometimes you get home at night and don’t want to and can’t do anything, not even watch TV. You stretch out on your bed, and lie there thoughtlessly. I don’t even want to sleep. The soul is getting worn out and the body is giving out – it hasn’t been getting its normal exercise: I haven’t been swimming, running, or even playing tennis. And I haven’t been to the dacha. Tuesday (the 25th) – trip to the airborne division near Tula. Performances of “combat operations.” The commander – and Army General – is a beggar. The division commander is a young Ossetian type. The soldiers are wonderful material. They train them like “James Bonds” – unarmed combat, summersaults, centrifuges, swings… they are tried under fire, under tanks… When I got home in the evening and told Anya (daughter) where I was and what I saw, she innocently remarked, “Is that how well they train them to kill?!” Saw Ponomarev off to Paris. Met [Luigi] Longo and [Agostino] Novella (leaders of the Italian Communist Party) in Sheremetyevo airport. They came for vacation. Met [Jacques] Duclos. Bianca is in Moscow. We met Wednesday evening (she came with an Italian company to take the “Electro-72” exhibits back to Italy).

I am almost the only deputy left in the Department right now, so all work is on me – papers, meetings, talks. On Thursday I had an interesting 3-hour conversation with Germans from the FRG (mid-level party workers). Could I imagine 30 years ago at the Rede (North-Western Front) that I would be sitting at the CC like this, and talking with Germans about internationalism! It’s amazing. A different life. A different person. Conversation with the CC Secretary [Jakob] Lechleiter of the Communist Party of Switzerland. I first met him in 1964, when Shelepin and I were in Switzerland with a delegation. For my birthday I got the first 9 volumes of Lenin’s collected works. It is a new edition, and I didn’t have them before. I am going through the volumes, leafing through them again. I see things I remember and things I’ve forgotten, and I feel excited. Partially it is because almost all of my conscious existence is connected with reading Lenin, and partially because I never cease to be amazed at his genius and the power of expression of this genius (55 volumes with practically nothing that is hackneyed or routine, as almost any political writer has in abundance, even Marx and Engels!). There is also the fact that Lenin has that magical power of “the gospel” for our society. He brings together people who’ve never read him before; people who read something from him a long time ago and maybe even studied him, but forgot completely; people who don’t know Lenin but consider themselves his representatives and faithful disciples; people who know him dogmatically and every time pick passages that are advantageous to them or fit their intellectual or career schemes; and finally, people who truly know and understand Lenin deeply. However, here, as always, there is the problem of Dostoyevsky’s “Grand Inquisitor.” Perhaps it is necessary for the basic viability of society. Still, it’s too bad that only a few intellectuals (and some diligent students) study Lenin, while politicians haven’t read or studied him in a long time, and Demichev might even think it harmful to delve too deeply into Lenin: “all kinds” of thoughts might come to mind. August 8, 1972 Again we have 35-36 degree weather day after day. Plus, peat is burning somewhere near Shatura and all of Moscow (and Podmoskovye) is covered in a blue veil of smoke. The sun cannot get through the smoke… though this may be for the best. Yesterday Shishlin told Bovin and me about a letter from the Secretary of the Astrakhan regional committee to the CC CPSU: 100% of the winter crops in the area are burned out and reseeding cost this much; 100% of the spring crops are burned out; this much cattle died of starvation in the spring, and this much dies per day currently; meadows and pastures are all burned, there will be nothing to feed the cattle in the fall. There is practically no drinking water (that meets sanitary-hygenic standards) in Astrakhan. The sewage system is breaking down. Cholera is spreading. And so on. Shishlin was in the Crimea and attended Brezhnev’s meeting with leaders of socialist countries. He heard some things there, too: Brezhnev ordered 50,000 military vehicles to be sent to help with agricultural needs, as well as 25,000 vehicles to be taken from industries (no matter what) and also sent to help with the harvest, so in the areas where the harvest survived, every last bit would be collected. (By the way, the street cleaning machines vanished from Moscow – they were sent there as well).

At the same time, at Brezhnev’s dacha in the Crimea (Shishlin told us) there is a pool with sliding walls and a transparent dome that can protect from the wind or turn into a full ceiling. Other dachas were recently built in the vicinity of this “dacha No. 1,” for big-shot ministers and individual deputies and heads of the CC – four-storey mansions with Japanese wallpaper, bars, conditioners, special Hungarian furniture, and balconies overlooking the sea. Each one cost this much. Before that Shishlin was in Zvyozdnyi Gorodok [Star City] when Castro was there. Beregovoi, their senior general, told him privately, “You see that fresh asphalt? They put it down yesterday. I asked my soldiers to walk on it so it doesn’t seem to new. And still… We, astronauts, are costing the people so much…” Bovin came back from Baikal yesterday and gave me a dressing down for “trampling on him” by re-writing his article about the Socialist International Congress in Vienna. He was seriously upset. I had to get the page proofs and point to the complete bullshit (and dangerous for him, too) that he wrote there. I think he calmed down. In the evening we were drinking whiskey at his place (on B. Pirogovskaya) together with Shishlin. That’s when he described all those things about the Crimea. By the way, I read the transcript of the Crimean meeting almost in full. It is much duller than last year. The reasons? I think there are two: a) [Nicolae] Ceausescu’s presence, b) written texts instead of free conversations. August 11, 1972 I’m sick. Haven’t been to work in three days. I’m spending my time meaninglessly. The heat is not subsiding. It is over 30 degrees all the time. Moscow is covered in smoke. The forests are burning. Firefighters, the army, the locals and Muscovites are all there… but they say there are no results yet (and you can tell as much by how dense the smoke is). Potatoes are burning up. People are trying to rescue their fields by the “local watering” method. The newspapers are promoting this technique, but it’s akin to throwing a bottle with lighter fluid at a tank in 1941. Really, it is devastating. All of this contrasts greatly with the “step” of our Peace program. Complainers even contrast the two events; but then again, in such cases as these, the so-called “people” are always looking for a scapegoat. But be that as it may, the coming year will be a very difficult one in terms of supplies, which in turn means it will be politically difficult. (By the way, it’s a good thing that we freed ourselves politically from the Middle East, which was dangerous for us!) God forbid, though, that Demichev should use the drought to make conclusions in terms of further tightening the ideological grip! I’m in a strange state of meaninglessness, lack of specific desires, a general “inexpediency” of existence. That’s why I want to get back to work as soon as possible, where you get caught up in the rhythm of the bustle, in which the important things are intertwined with trifles and pointless stress, and you forget that the general meaning of life was lost long ago. In issue No. 7 of “Novyi Mir” [New World] – second article by Al. Yanov about the literary hero of the 1960s. First of all, he restores the “Novomirsky” method of sociological literary criticism,

strengthening the Belinsky - Dobrolyubov - Pisarev bridge built under Tvardovsky. Secondly, he solidly follows Tvardovsky’s line of looking at society realistically and writing about it without demagoguery. He talks about, as do all the serious articles in the journal, the rational development of society in accordance with its historical and “national” (in the broad sense) possibilities and conditions, not about building communism. The way he references Party document corresponds to this: he takes only the practical and realistic ideas and recommendations, even if they are critical. These documents are considered as a manifestation of our public life, not as decrees on how it should develop. October 17, 1972 Pushkin is like longing for your irretrievable youth. [Vasiliy Ivanovich] Belov’s novel Kanuny [Eves] in the journal Sever [North], about collectivization. Smacks of literature from the 20s-30s. Last night I was at the premier of “Under the Skin of the Statue of Liberty.” Beau Monde: Arbatovs, Samoteikins, Efremov with his wife – a famous actress of the Sovremennik Theater. Yevtushenko with a bandaged-up hand (he cut it while whittling a frame for a picture he got as a gift). He either honestly did not notice me, or he despises me as an official who did not help him go to America. (He succeeded without me, but God knows, I tried.) I wonder at what letter will he stand in Soviet literature according to Mayakovsky’s “Yubileinoe” [Jubilee] poem – at “Nadson” or at “Lermontov”? I was not impressed by the play. Of course, it is a slap in the face of authorities. It seems that associativity multiplied by Lyubimov’s signature style (technical and directorial inventiveness) is already nothing new. If the cultural authorities from the various ministries could think even a little beyond keeping their positions and gave some thought at least to “local politics,” the best thing they could have done was not to notice it, to adapt it and present the play’s hidden protest against the Soviet system as tangential antics. On Sunday – exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts, “Portraits from the XVI-XX centuries.” The faces looking back at you are the same as today. “Lady with an Ermine” by Leonardo, Van Dyke’s “SelfPortrait,” a young man in a colorful shirt by [Ilya] Mashkov, [Ivan] Kramskoy’s “Tolstoy” (at 45 years old), boy in the arms of Princess Muravyova, etc. The lines to the museum (same as to Manege for the “Faces of France – 100 years in photographs”) are miles-long every day – weekdays, Saturdays, Sundays, and under pouring rain. I wonder, does Demichev approve of this, or does he see some danger here? I remembered the Biennale retrospective at the Piazza San Marco in Venice. Empty rooms. On October 1st, an Il-18 airplane fell into the Black Sea a few minutes after taking off from Adler airport. One hundred and two people suffocated in the depressurized cabin. On the 13th, an Il-62 crashed while approaching Sheremetyevo airport (flying from Paris through Leningrad). One hundred seventy three people. The latter was reported in “Pravda,” there were 38 Chileans, 5 Algerians, 6 Peruvians, and Frenchman, a German, and an Englishman among the victims. Our ambassadors in Chile and Algeria were instructed to express their condolences (since these are friendly governments).

There was nothing about the Adler crash in the newspapers, only “Moskovskaya Pravda” and “Vechyorka” for a week printed little notices of mourning about the tragic death (where and how?) of this or that person, sometimes married couples. I am getting ready for a trip to Belgium. The PB released a new resolution on China. Again, we will have to write letters with explanations to our party and the fraternal parties. Again we have to unmask them. What, how? Until we renounce the self-imposed mindset that “we are a socialist country and they are a socialist country, so how is it possible that they criticize the CPSU-Lenin’s Party,” we will close the way to understanding what is happening and following a consistent policy that is realistic and clear to all. Nobody believes us anymore, no matter how we portray the Chinese and try to explain our MarxistLeninist purity. [Georges] Marchais is asking to talk to Brezhnev “as equals.” But Brezhnev prefers [Georges] Pompidou, to whom we’ve already given consent for his visit to Moscow in January. Even on his return from Paris, Brezhnev said in his circle, (about Marchais) “He talks about democracy, but I’d like to see what he will do if he comes to power;” (about Pompidou) “He thinks like a statesman, he is the boss and sees all the problems, he perceives the bigger picture.” Pompidou, in turn (like Nixon and Brandt) understood perfectly well that our ideology is for internal consumption only, i.e. where it can be practically applied by the government. And we are not such fools as to engage in ideological exercises in serious relations with people who can easily tell us to go to hell. December 7, 1972 All of Western thought goes back to Tocqueville. So do I. I remembered that in 1947-48 I wrote down excerpts of his most important ideas from The Old Regime and Revolution, the same ideas that are now popular with Raymond Aron and others. Also on Tocquville: “The revolution broke the historical reality for the sake of abstract theories, but the power of abstract theories (others?) formed long before the revolution, in an era when society for forgetting any participation in political activity.” December 9, 1972 Yesterday in Sovremennik Theater – Ins Raid in a production by the Pole [Andzej] Wajda of “Kak brat bratu” [Brother to Brother]. 20 The situation in American with regard to Vietnam. [The actors] Gaft, E. Vasilieva, Kvasha, Tabakov were spectacular. The essence: the meaninglessness of life has become its content, and because life is good – the attachment to its inanimate, non-human content is so strong, that even shock (a blind son returning from Vietnam and distressing everyone with stories of the horrors he experienced) stirs only the very depths of consciousness and longing for meaningful life. In the end, this shock only increases (to the point of a hysterical frenzy) the desire to keep things as they are (Gaft, lying on the floor and clutching his head, endlessly repeats “I want to watch TV!”). The family – father, mother, and brother – resolves the situation by suggesting that the blind brother slit his wrists. Blood pours into two buckets, forms

20

David Rabe’s play Sticks and Bones – translator.

puddles, which the mother immediately cleans up, while the brother asks the victim how he is feeling, etc. They say that Furtseva really did not like it (especially since she had attempted the same after the XXII Congress, when she was expelled from the Presidium of the CC). The public, which is always ready to approve and support Sovremennik Theater, was confused and applauded timidly. Galya Volchek after the show (as always wearing an extravagant outfit that accentuates her already enormous tits). [Yuri Fyodorovich] Karyakin and I said a bunch of unpleasant things to her about the play and Tabakov: “why waste your time and talent on something that has no social relevance for us?”… “Mediocre play… why did you pick it?” “It does not grab you, it does not leave you with anything, it is too rooted in American specifics to allow the viewer to see the universal human value of the play and the production.” Galya pretended to be grateful for our frankness, but in her heart she got very offended. Naturally. Then she portrayed a couple scenes from her work with [Chingiz] Aitmatov and another Kazakh (she did it in the “Russian” language that this Kazakh screenwriter speaks). We were laughing. This luxurious busty woman is damned smart and talented! From the events that were not mentioned because I’ve neglected my diary. Trip to Belgium (October 21-31) with a stopover Holland (Amsterdam, The Hague, Rotterdam) on the 29th, a Sunday. Someday I might describe this trip. 21 Elections to the Academy of Sciences: how with the help of Karyakin and [Boris Mikhailovich] Pyshkov we found the academicians [Georgy Nikolaevich] Flerov, [Pyotr Lenidovich] Kapitsa, and [Mikhail Aleksandrovich] Leontovich, and flunked [Mikhail Trifonovich] Yovchuk. B.N.’s report at the general meeting of the USSR Academy of Sciences – his fears of getting reprimanded for butting in with the “50th anniversary of the USSR” right before the General Secretary’s report on December 21st! “You keep trying to work for the cause…” he told me grievously and pathetically. Then he waved his hand hopelessly, though recalling that in Stalin’s days, Kalinin, Kuibyshev, Ordzhonikidze, and others “from the leadership” made speeches and were recognized by the people. December 16, 1972 Every day we make multiple trips to Sheremetyevo airport: guests are arriving for the 50th anniversary of the USSR. Then there are “conversations” at dinners or lunches, at Plotnikov Street or on “Sovetskaya.” The day before yesterday I had a good conversation with Kusselman (member of the Belgian Communist Party). He is intelligent and sincere. He told me how [Marc] Drumaux died. They were

21

On this trip I met Gorbachev, who headed the delegation. Now I am astonished that I did not record this in the diary at the time.

surprised at the funeral; they saw that in his four years as chairman of the CP, Drumaux had become a national figure. I knew him well. Yesterday Graham from Ireland. He is primitive and doltish, though maybe he does this on purpose. I asked him how his trade unionists (he is a union boss) will vote in the referendum to unite the two Irelands. He tells me that they want to unite the economic demands of the workers with the struggle for “socialism in the future.” Eddisford from Manchester was interesting. He is an intellectual, the head of a regional committee in Central England. Either people like him want to deceive us (so we don’t communicate with their government too much), or they are deceived themselves. He told me that British capitalism was completely gutted and had no potential left, and it is no longer a real power. But if that is the case, why are its partners in the Common Market so afraid of it, and why don’t the communists (or even the Labour Party) take it with their “bare hands”? [Yakov Semyonovich] Khavinson asked me to write an article on the 125th anniversary of the Communist Manifesto (in common parlance – the “ghost”). I almost agreed. But first of all, I have absolutely no free time. Secondly, and most importantly, I re-read the Manifesto. I got a strange feeling. Marx and Engels were claiming things about capitalism of their day that it hasn’t completely reached even now. As for the development of the forces opposing it, it seems the Western interpreters of Marxism are right when they say it is an outdated gospel. I need to do some brainstorming. After all, it was a brilliant insight and working hypothesis, which was correct even for the sole reason that its development (in theory and practice) had such a powerful impact on the course of history. But I could not write this publicly about the “Commmanifesto”… December 30, 1972 This day has been declared a holiday instead of December 5th, which was the day of the “Stalin Constitution.” This initiative had a curious origin. Ponomarev gave me the text of Brezhnev’s report that was sent around the Politburo a couple days before the USSR’s 50th anniversary celebrations. (By the way, I offered him a good number of comments, but he either did not accept them himself, or Aleksandrov-Agentov cut them, I’m not sure. But in the final text I did not see a lot of my revisions.) “Here,” B.N. said, giving me the text, “this is a proposal for a new holiday. And you know who wrote it? [Viktor Andreyevich] Golikov (Brezhnev’s adviser on ideology, [Sergey Pavlovich]Trapeznikov’s best friend, Black Hundredist and Stalinist). Amazing. So much for the Stalinist… And we had no clue.” These two weeks were busy with “parades” for the USSR’s 50th anniversary. In the International Department, we were busy meeting foreign guests and having discussions with them. The main work for my group of consultants was fixing up their speeches at the various workers’ meetings. At times this was something quite inconceivable that could not easily be transferred on paper. The authors themselves told our assistants, “Could you finish this up… I agree in advance to any changes you make”… And we did it, even managed to adapt the texts to the specific situation in the speaker’s country. In general, the squalor of “our” communist movement struck me particularly strongly this time. On the one hand there is O’Riordan, who was put in the Presidium here, and in Lithuania, where he spoke at the celebrations, they practically worshipped the ground he walked on. [Antanas] Sniečkus 22
22

First Secretary of the Communist Party of Lithuania.

quoted him extensively from the podium of the Kremlin Palace. But in Ireland, nobody knows him – not the left, nor the right, nor the people who are throwing bombs, nor the English. Nobody takes him seriously, if they know anything of his party that consists of several dozen people. And next to him is his friend Graham, a member of the party’s executive committee and a union boss in Belfast. I tried to have a political conversation with him and was shocked by his primeval, philistine “tradeunionism.” He couldn’t care less about the explosions and the fighting. All he cares about and is interested in is that the members of his union get a raise and don’t lose their jobs. Or – [John] Sendy, the chairman of the CP of Australia, which has been sticking its nose in the air at the CPSU for many years. They can’t adapt to what is going on in the world, where three cumbersome and powerful wheels (U.S., USSR, PRC) are turning, and which are so connected to each other in their momentum that no grains of sand like the Communist Party of Australia can stop them. One wouldn’t even hear a squeak if it carelessly got caught between these wheels. The best thing to do for such CPs as the Australian one is to quietly cling to the safe side of the Soviet (or the Chinese, if they like) wheel. On the other hand we have Georges Marchais, who is now the General Secretary of the French CP. He knows the rules of the game very well. But he still wants to become one of the gears in the system by taking Pompidou’s place. He is trying to use us to topple Pompidou in his favor. We are slapping him for it. But since he still represents a certain power (and you never know), we play his game too. Pompidou asked for an “informal” meeting with Brezhnev somewhere in the Soviet Union, and Marchais wants the same. As [Jean] Kanapa (his grey majesty) said to our guys: “Why can’t Marchais and Leonid (!) meet somewhere near Moscow in an informal setting, take a stroll in the park, and have a talk? Then we could publish a (‘casual’) photograph of them in the papers…” Everyone understands that we are engaging with Georges not because he is a communist, but because he can (?) become a national figure. In the meantime, the French CP is quickly “progressing,” and turning into what the big socialdemocratic parties in other countries have become a long time ago. Otherwise it would not have a chance to turn into a “state power.” So the historical communist movement as it was envisioned 30 years ago is being eliminated from both ends (not to mention the China phenomenon in all of this). Moreover, the communist parties themselves are disappearing as an independent ideological-political category. Although, there is still the Italian Communist Party. An original phenomenon. Perhaps it will be able to revive the communist movement on some new basis. December 31, 1972 There was a CC Plenum before the 50th anniversary. Baibakov (Gosplan [State Planning Committee]) reported that we are seriously behind the projected plan for 1972, the plan for 1973 will also not be met, and it is unclear how to get out of this situation at all. After this, Brezhnev made a big speech. Here is a short summary: “We are not meeting the Five Year Plan in almost every aspect, with some exceptions. “People refer to last year’s weather as the reason why this is so. But this is applicable only for agriculture. Even there, we mostly overcame the difficulties. And we shouldn’t have raised panic with buying grain abroad. We would have made it. For example, there was an article in Pravda where a

kolkhoz chairman in Kirovogradsk region was able to collect 2.5 tons even though his harvest burned out, while his neighbors ‘across the street’ collected only around 1 ton each. “As for excuses about the weather in the industries… Shame on you, Comrade [Ivan Pavlovich] Kazanets, for boasting that you smelt more metal than the U.S. What about the quality of the metal? Or the fact that only 40% of every ton goes to production, compared to the American standard, and the rest is slag and chips?! “Capital construction. Unfinished projects. An old problem. We calculated that for each one of the 270,000 projects there are about… 12 workers. So if there are 70,000 workers at the Kamaz project, it means that hundreds, if not thousands, of projects have no workers at all! I propose that we freeze all projects except for the ones that were supposed to be completed in 1972-73. But we finish those! “We still get about 90 kopeks per every ruble of investment, while the Americans get the reverse (90 dollars for every dollar of investment). “They blame the suppliers. But look at the facts. Comrade [Nikolai Nikiforovich] Tarasov (Light Industry), you have a million pairs of shoes in your warehouses. Nobody will ever buy them because they are styled like galoshes. But it took raw materials to make them, which you say are in short supply. This way you could buy all the raw materials abroad and put them under the knife! “Baibakov’s group decides the plan. Because people don’t need money, they need goods. Only if we have goods, saleable (!) goods, can we get the money from the people to build blast furnaces, etc. “How do we work? In August I was at a new tire factory in Barnaul. I asked the workers, ‘You have all the new equipment, both domestic and foreign, and you have the capacity to produce 9,000 tires per day, yet you produce 5,000. Why is that?’ They replied that Minister [Viktor Stepanovich] Fedorov gave them 30 months to reach full capacity. Alright. Recently I got a note that the Barnaul factory produced 9,000 tires per day already in November – the projected capacity. In other words, they took some measures after my talk. So: 30 months and 3 months! What is going on? Laziness, irresponsibility, stupidity, or a crime?! “We are not fulfilling the main resolution of the XXIV Congress – to raise productivity and efficiency. The entire Congress and the people present here today were applauding when we spoke about the new goal of simultaneous movement along the main directions of economic development (to raise the quality of life, productivity, and defense). What do we have instead? We have not made this shift and two years have passed since the Congress, that’s half the Five Year Plan! Now Comrade Baibakov reports to us that the plan for 1972 was not met, and we won’t meet the 1973 plan either, and after that who knows what will happen. “Gosplan is being liberal, while the organizations behind it are being irresponsible. We no longer have a Gosplan in the sense of an organization that would define our strategic perspective and tightly control the course of our economy!” The reaction to this speech was telling. Brutents told me about it, he heard it from Arbatov, one of the authors of the speech. “Our group was exiting the Sverdlovsk hall,” he said, “and we happened to be next to [Pavel Dmitrievich] Borodin (director of ZIL), one of the bosses of our industry. I ask him, ‘So, what did you think?’ ‘It was a beautiful speech. You were probably the ones who made it pretty and

convincing, you are good writers. Except we’ve heard it all before more than once. The speeches get nicer and nicer, while things get worse and worse.’” He said all of this out loud, in the crowd of CC members, but it didn’t turn a single head. The others must have been occupied with similar thoughts. Also, Arbatov said that they (i.e. Tsukanov, Aleksandrov-Agentov, Zagladin – all of them participated in the creation of the speech) did their best to soften the sharp tone that the speaker insisted on. Most of the sharpness was clearly directed at Kosygin. Why should did they need to soften it? Of course, Kosygin can’t really do anything anymore. But “we really don’t need confusion at the top right now,” especially since there is a whole company waiting in the wings: [Aleksandr Nikolaevich] Shura Shelepin, [Dmitriy Stepanovich] Polyansky, Demichev, [Gennadiy Ivanovich] Voronov, and now they are joined by disgruntled Shelest, who was removed from his post. Plus, removing Kosygin would mean getting rid of his entire team. What would be the point? Apparently Baibakov does not “provide” the proper role for Gosplan. But he is intelligent, brave, and knowledgeable. At least he is not afraid to speak the truth. You couldn’t find a better man right now. Especially considering that no matter whom you put in that seat right now, it won’t fix the problem, since the root of it is elsewhere. There are already legends about this: people say Kosygin stayed at the reception (USSR 50th anniversary) until the very end, always alone and he drank and drank. Shelepin left the half-empty hall in the company of his “clique.” The forces against Kosygin are focusing. Of course, he doesn’t know anymore what to do or how to do it. But he “himself” does not understand economics. He got skilled in international affairs and now that’s his favorite thing. In economics he “cannot imagine how to secure the shift that was announced at the Congress.” And one more “musical moment,” as Bovin likes to say. Arbatov said, “We keep advising Brezhnev to stop making all these TV appearances. And he’s not the only one who should restrain himself. His decrepitude is really becoming quite noticeable.”

*** Afterword to 1972 What is the outcome of 1972? What did we have thirteen years before perestroika? The absolute authority (and power) of the General Secretary of the CC CPSU was restored after being shaken under Khrushchev, although it was not formalized in the party until the next year. The first signs of the “cult” appeared, even if it was a secondary, farcical one. The same intellectual and cultural mediocrity remained in the highest echelons of power – the Politburo and the Secretariat: Podgorny, Polyansky, Kirilenko, Voronov, Shelest (then Shcherbitsky), Shelepin, Kunaev, Demichev, Kapitonov. Suslov, Ponomarev, and Kosygin were people of a somewhat different order. The latter was a professional, but precisely during this year he started to be pushed to the sidelines. The first two remained as carriers of the Bolshevik tradition, which was still characterized by a certain level of education. The economy, after an unexpected rise during the 8th Five Year Plan, again began to deteriorate. The smart and cynical executives like Baibakov already understood that no resolutions, appeals, or penalties for unfulfilled plans could change anything at the core. The “roots” where elsewhere, they were deeper. The standard of living for the majority of city dwellers was still acceptable, though people remembered that this was the year when Nikita [Khrushchev] promised we would complete the “first phase of communism.” Brezhnev slightly recovered after the intervention in Czechoslovakia, solidified his power, and found his common sense. On Andropov and Tsukanov’s advice, he surrounded himself with intellectuals of the “highest Soviet standard” – Inozemtsev, Bovin, Arbatov, Zagladin, Shishlin. These highly educated people gained access to the most sensitive information, and being realists and having mastery of the pen, they were able to use the “reasonable and good” in the General Secretary’s nature to correct our policies where it was possible within the system. Their regular informal communication with Brezhnev, their advice, personal opinions and objections (which they did not hesitate to share with him), and most importantly the “style” in which policies were presented (they had 90% control over this factor) had an impact first and foremost on international relations. Namely – the turn toward reduced tensions, the dialogue with America, with West Germany, the change of attitude towards the “third world” – a departure from the reckless support of the “national liberation movements,” a dangerous and in principle short-sighted and harmful policy for the interests of the USSR. The “form” of announcing policies, which became entrusted to Brezhnev’s close advisers, took the ideological edge off international relations, which inevitably reflected on the content of our foreign policy in the nuclear age. It became more “civilized.”

Ideology had long ago and irreversibly lost its revolutionary, inspirational, and mobilizing potential, and completely merged with the false “propaganda of success.” It was so removed from internal and external realities that it lost any effectives and had long ceased to be used in practical politics. But it was still necessary to maintain the image of an alternative to the “imperialist West.” And, of course, it served as a demagogic cover for the party-state control over the spiritual life of society. In this spiritual life there was a clear turn from the apologetics of the Soviet system – a prerequisite of “socialist realism” – to the original purpose of literature, theater, cinema, and art. The topics of man-woman, happiness-grief, human relations, the vicissitudes of everyday life, the meaning of life, etc. – these subjects now determined the interest of both the consumers and producers of spiritual products. At the same time, people began to break the restrictions on the Silver Age and the Avantgarde of the 1920s. Both of these actions were essentially acts of protest because people were sick of the “official” culture. There was also active protest in the form of juxtaposing the existing order to the idealized norms and principles of Lenin’s time though Aesopian satire. All of this testified to growing confusion in society, and people’s dissatisfaction with the familiar imposed way of life. In reaction to this, officials in the ideological and cultural spheres became harsher, including the conformists of official science. It was no longer a struggle for ideas, but for the preservation of social privileges and ideological power. The “quality” of the means used corresponded with this goal – blatant demagoguery, intimidation, chauvinism, Black Hundredism, anti-Semitism. This was not an official policy that was “approved by the rules.” But it reflected the mood and level of “culture” of many Politburo members, CC Secretaries, apparatus bosses, regional committee and ministerial heads. They supported it. The International Communist Movement was disappearing right before our eyes, until it finally lost its political and ideological potential. The Moscow celebrations of the 50th anniversary of the USSR, three years after the World Meeting of Communist Parties, showed the collapse of the ICM, the pettiness of its component parts that were dependent on the CPSU. The exceptions to this rule did not change the overall picture. Some communist parties tried to build political capital in their countries by criticizing the Soviet antidemocratic order, which completely undermined the very basis of the Communist Movement’s existence as a world-wide phenomenon. These are the “starting” positions of the period to which this project is dedicated.

Anatoly S. Chernyaev Diary 1985

January 4th, 1985. I am falling behind the events. And they are bustling. Before the New Year’s I was distressed for Ponomarev:1 Kosolapov asked for permission to print in Communist the conclusion we wrote for B.N.[Ponomarev] for the eight-volume International Labor Movement. In response, he received instructions from Zimyanin2 to remove the footnote that it was the conclusion—let it, he says, be just an article... This is how Zimyanin now gives orders to B.N., being lower in rank than him! But something else is the most important—he reflects the “opinion” that it is not necessary to establish the connection (for many decades into the future) between Ponomarev and this fundamental publication in an official Party organ... That is, they are preparing our B.N. for the hearse. I think he will not survive the XXYII Congress; in any case not as CC [Central Committee] Secretary. At work, almost every day brings evidence of his helplessness. His main concern right now is to vindicate at least something of his self-imagined “halo” of the creator of the third (1961) Party Program. In no way can he reconcile himself to the fact that life has torn “his creation” to pieces. He blames everything on the intrigues of either Gorbachev3 or Chernenko4; but mainly on “the curly one” (this is how he calls Chernenko’s assistant

Boris Nikolayevich Ponomarev—Head of the Central Committee International Department, Chernyaev’s direct boss. 2 Mikhail Vasilievich Zimyanin—member of the CPSU Central Committee in charge of ideological work 3 Mikhail Sergeevich Gorbachev—member of the Central Committee, future General Secretary. 4 Konstantin Ustinovich Chernenko—General Secretary of the Communist Party, 1984-1985.

1

1

Pechenev); and also in part on Aleksandrov5 and Zagladin.6 He complains to me, seeking in me somebody to talk to, a sympathizer. But I, naturally, keep quiet. Now Chernenko’s article is published in No. 18 of Communist, written mostly by the same Pechenev. But to B.N., it is like a sickle across the balls, to use the language of Academician Arbatov.7 We wrote (on Ponomarev’s instructions) proposals to the CC “on the consolidation of the ICM [International Communist Movement]”—about the new Conference. Now he is going to marinate it, afraid to cause any irritation: do not bother [me], so to say, with your ICM, when we all have the forthcoming Congress on our minds. ... Such attitude towards our work (the work of the International Department) can be attributed to the gerontology and incompetence, the absence of a culture of politics, to [the absence of] Lenin’s sweeping approach. However—this is only in form. In essence, indeed, “our little business” with “consolidating the unity of the ICM” has become an anachronism. And, naturally, it arouses a healthy annoyance against the background of [some] real and difficult problems. Zagladin got sick before the New Year’s. His articles show up every week (not a hyperbole) in one or another journal. He dresses commonplace banalities in decent, sometimes beautiful journalistic form and presents them as theoretical essays. Many people accept his compositions as such. But such pathological productivity triggers mockery among the majority of literary and politically competent people. In the department, people are beginning to understand that this [productivity], in particular, is

5 6

Andrei Alexandrov-Agentov—Chernenko’s Foreign Policy Assistant Vadim Valentinovich Zagladin—member of the Central Committee International Department 7 Georgy A. Arbatov—Head of the Institute of U.S. and Canada of the USSR Academy of Sciences

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also due to the fact that “work-wise” he does practically nothing, except for receiving delegations (which also became a distinctive sublimation of his graphomania). Recently an anonymous letter about him was received from the Lenin International School... and also about Pankov, the Rector, as well. They are friends since the time of MGIMO,8 for over thirty years. It is alleged that Zagladin receives honoraria, that he does not complete his part-time hours (this is nonsense), and provides a “coverup” for Pankov’s extortion. He and his deputies manage to earn 1200 rubles per month each. Gorbachev gave instructions: Ponomarev, Ligachev,9 and Zimyanin must investigate [the allegations] and report to the CC; thus the matter is set into action. B.N. himself “drafted” a letter to Shaposhnikov, Rykin, and Toporikov, i.e. already started a premeditated disclosure (and discrediting of Zagladin) in a fairly broad circle. I found out about the letter from Rykin. And today B.N. ordered me to read the actual text. I do not know whether this will harm Zagladin, but it will obviously harm Pankov on the eve of the Congress: now he will not be elected delegate. Ligachev, the keeper of party morals, will not allow it. On the first of January I celebrated the New Year’s with Plamis. [We] had a good discussion. He just returned from a tour of the Philippines, Thailand, Laos, and Singapore. And I, in turn, talked profusely about Rybakov’s novel The Children of Arbat, which had a heartfelt impact on me. This, indeed, is a novel of the century, a kind of an

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Moscow State Institute of International Relations Yegor Kuzmich Ligachev—member of the Politburo of the CC CPSU, promoted by Gorbachev.

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“artistic exploration” of an epoch, next to which the almost-genius Virgin Lands,10 devoted to the same years, turns into a provincial reference. And what a moral purification of society it would be if that book was allowed to be published!

January 7th, 1985. These are the kinds of passages that appear in Pravda (a certain Olga Kuchkina— an article about amateur theaters in Moscow)... And everybody pretends that such an interpretation of Hamlet can be associated with somebody else! Listen to this: “In Hamlet, there are two accomplishments: the image of Hamlet and the image of the play as a whole. There is a rhythm of a well-adjusted mechanism, in which “something is rotten” only from the perspective of Hamlet’s heightened selfconsciousness and world awareness—for the others, the habitual mechanism is still functioning normally. They weave intrigues and conspiracies; human dignity and life itself have no value. ‘He was a good man in the full sense of the word’—the father of prince Hamlet—and so he was removed; and now the love of power is triumphant, and personal and gain-seeking interests are skillfully presented as interests of the state.” Arbatov reported: the Plenum on the Scientific and Technological Revolution (STR) had been cancelled, i.e. the question about the STR had been dropped. This is either because they do not want Gorbachev in the role of the speaker, punishing him for England, or because there is nothing to say or impossible to implement that which is said.

January 9th, 1985.

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Leonid Brezhnev’s book, which was mandatory reading in all educational institutions in the USSR

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Today in “Pravda” about the results of the Gromyko-Schultz meeting in Geneva. Unexpectedly positive, especially for me, who knew what our man’s directives were, and what the Americans brought with them (according to their public statements and their press). [It would be great] if there was actually a shift! And so all this Ponomarev-Shaposhnikov commotion with energizing the anti-war movement is being erased just like an annoying audiotape. That is, if one looks at it from my corner. But on the whole, this is how it’s supposed to be, for it cannot be otherwise: there are no real contradictions, no deadly clashes of truly vital interests, as it was in 1914 or 1940-1. Evidently, they will not go to war solely for ideology at the end of the XX century, with the existence of nuclear weapons. Wars for ideology are fought in Vietnam, in Afghanistan, on distant peripheries of the “civilized world.” Ponomarev still torments me with the (CPSU) Program. This irritates me, because when it was time to write the text, he didn’t even try to put me into the “working group,” but when he wants to patch up work badly done, he slips it to me “outside of the context” (i.e. do not touch adjacent paragraphs and pages). Out of spite, I do not miss a chance to stick his nose into the banal places: verbosity, repetition, cheap propagandist language, superficiality... and this was written by intelligent, educated, competent people. This is all because twenty people were writing this at once, and were constantly glancing back at different superiors: does it please—or displease them. In a word, a text is born that will disappoint those, who are not indifferent, who still expect from the Party Program a fresh, new charge for thought and an object of pride for one’s Party. Most likely there will be nothing to be proud of.

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Yesterday the Secretariat of the CC [took place]. Three hours. The first issue under discussion was the work of the Embassy’s Party committee, in this case of the FRG. Then—the situation with shoe manufacturing. A splendid mess. But it was not this that “distressed” me—a usual thing! I sensed that Gorbachev is beginning to be sucked in by “the routine.” Yesterday’s discussion somehow reminded one of analogous ones under Kirilenko11 (by its chaos and helplessness). Each Minister demonstrates with numbers that it could not have been otherwise with such maintenance, supplies, equipment, financing, etc. And that he could not and will not be able to do or recommend anything. And the Secretaries of the CC talked some, remonstrated some, criticized some, recorded good appeals and instructions in the resolution, but did not raise the issue in earnest, and it will not be resolved.

January 12th, 1985. On Thursday, I was receiving the ex-captain of San Marino, who in September received me in her capacity as the head of the government at her medieval castle. Glaudia Raccini, about thirty-six years old. Now she is just a member of the Communist Party PB [Politburo]. Accompanying her was Umberto Barruli, the ex-General Secretary of the CP. They came to try to get special terms from our commercial departments, in order to lower unemployment and to keep the CP in power. I promised to encourage our traders’ internationalist communist spirit. [We] had dinner together. Chatted at ease. Barruli knows his away around in relations with us; but she [Raccini] was a little, it seems,

11

Andrei Pavlovich Kirilenko—Member of the Central Committee of the CPSU.

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discouraged by the “unconstrained attitude” of the Soviets (that is how Italians call citizens of the USSR too) in relations with foreigners. I had a two-hour-long talk with Chervonenko. In his capacity as head of the department he is going on an inspection tour to the USA and Canada. I told him what the embassy workers were supposed to be doing there, but even that they are doing poorly (except for the missile-strategic range of problems). Dobrynin12 (ambassador to the US) was at B.N.’s; he has no habit of visiting me, I am a small fish for him. And he only visits Ponomarev because the latter invites him, and not because he, Dobrynin, needs it for work. Bovin13 and Falin14 are not being re-elected as deputies to the Supreme Soviet of the RSFSR. Arbatov urged me to provide “moral support” to Sashka “in this difficult for him period.” I told him that I interceded for Bovin with Gorbachev, but the latter did not do anything. It could not have been otherwise. Bovin’s inclusion in the Party elite and as a member of the Revision Commission of the CC CPSU was one of the whims of Brezhnev’s favoritism. Under normal conditions, he is too extravagant for the nomenclature pack. As for Falin, he is a victim of some imprudence--in his words--which became known to Andropov15 “with consequences.” And for me, it is time to start thinking about my “future.” There is less than a year before the Congress. I will not be left in the CC. Ponomarev himself, God willing, will remain there. Retire now, when the pension will be significantly higher?.. Or wait for the Congress? To stay at work after you have been “let go” from the CC—[would be]

12 13

Anatoly Fedorovich Dobrynin—Soviet Ambassador to the United States, 1962-1985 Alexander Bovin—Central Committee Consultant 14 Valentin Mikhailovich Falin—Candidate Member of the Central Committee, USSR Ambassador to FRG 15 Yury Vladimirovich Andropov, Chairman of the KGB, 1967-1982, USSR General Secretary, 1982-1984

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unpleasant, awkward. And for what? For the salary? I will not be able to accomplish much, and not because I cannot anymore, but because the time for “others” has come. It is interesting, what impulse for life will remain [for me], especially if, finally, sex will disappear too?! Just curiosity? To read, go to exhibitions, watch movies and plays, write... But there will not be too much to write about!

January 13th, 1985. Insomnia. Started to read. Came upon Vinokurov’s verses... Well, I too grow older... Afraid, that in this race of days I, after all, am not becoming wiser, But only simply colder. Last night read the Captain’s Daughter again. What a delight! How compact and simple!

January 16th, 1985. For his 80th anniversary, Ponomarev was given the order of Lenin. But Dolgikh16 (CC Secretary) recently was given a second Star of the Hero for his 60th. Secretaries of obkoms [regional committees] as a group are given the second Star for 60 and 70 years. Against a background of such prolific kindness with honors B.N.’s case looks puzzling. He is upset. When I was with him today, he did not conceal his perturbation: “How will the Communist Movement take it? How will our fraternal states, which awarded me their

16

Vladimir Ivanovich Dolgikh—Candidate member of the Politburo, head of the General Department of the CC CPSU

8

highest orders, understand this? How will the peace-loving public react to this fact!?” He measures this distressing for him event on these scales. I asked: “Do you not know how it was done?” - No, I do not know anything. I was just at Gorbachev’s for work matters. [I] Asked him. He stood up. Appeared moved, embraced me, and said: do not worry about anything, everything will be all right; I will come tomorrow to congratulate you myself. And then [he] informed me that he will not go to the Congress of the French Communist Party, although—Ponomarev comments,— he was eagerly awaited there, Plissionie and Marchais told our ambassador frankly that they want only him, Gorbachev; they are literally fascinaint [sic] with his visit to England. His visit would really support the Party in its present difficult state, etc. Gorbachev suggested Solomentsev17 instead of himself. [He] added that the General [Secretary] (Chernenko) did not want the Politburo session to take place without Gorbachev (he himself is ill, in the hospital).

One should, obviously, understand all this information reassuring for B.N. in the following way: a) He, Gorbachev, is not to blame that Ponomarev did not get a second Star. b) He himself [Gorbachev] (especially after England) is in a somewhat risky position of diminished trust: “do not go too far, know your place.”

17

Mikhail Sergeevich Solomentsev—Member of the CC CPSU Politburo, Chairman of the Party Control Committee

9

I sympathized with Ponomarev, agreed that many people will not understand [this], and that in general—this is not being friendly. Really, even if he is being prepared for the “the hearse,” why not give him a second Star before he goes—has this not become a commonplace phenomenon? Certainly, the question is not about real merits; on these criteria no one should accept Stars or decorations in the highest echelon of our leadership. The question is about elementary norms of relations in the “upper levels [of the government],” and about the simple observance of the “decorations table”, which has long ago become the deciding criterion. For example, for her 50th birthday my secretary Tamara was given a certificate of honor from the Supreme Soviet of the RSFSR. But this is only because she is on the CC staff and works as the secretary of the deputy head [of the department]. There are millions of women like her in the Soviet Union, employed in similar and even more challenging positions, who receive flowers from their coworkers for their 50th birthday, and nothing more than that. In this context, Ponomarev, of course, deserved a second Star. Is it possible that even after this he will still make noise, fuss, poke his nose where it does not belong, and act in a way that tires everyone, as though nothing had happened, passing all this as the fulfillment of [his] party obligations?

January 17th, 1985. The department arranged a celebration for Ponomarev on the occasion of his 80th birthday. The hall was full. Rykin’s (secretary of Party Bureau Department) introduction

10

was somewhat vociferous and high-flown. Zagladin gave a wonderful speech, which touched everyone in earnest and Ponomarev as well. Then the head of the LatinAmerican sector, Hero of the Soviet Union Kudachkin, was given the platform. Then Svetlana Shadrina, who was considered the most charming of our ladies, presented flowers and read some poetry, stammering like a schoolgirl. The atmosphere was sincere. Some shed a few tears (I sat in the Presidium and saw it myself). Our people on the whole are good, besides, the authority complex has not completely disappeared from the Russian soul. I think that this virtuous celebration really lightened up B.N.’s bitterness over not receiving a second Star. Upon its conclusion, for the rest of the day, B.N. was visited and congratulated by universities, ministries, organizations, committees, individuals, etc. I had lunch with the people from Ireland on Dimitrov Street. I opened up and talked about “realism” as our party’s slogan of the day. And especially [talked] about the fact that we could have worked out some problems differently, for example the food problem. We talked about the position of the Communist Party in Great Britain. And once again, we started debating about the Labor Party, which recently sprung up in Ireland: here my friends have been betrayed by common sense, and even by simple logic...

January 22nd, 1985. Today I was at the Secretariat. Ligachev reported on the course of the election campaign. In terms of organization, he says, everything is in order; but we were not able

11

to get everything to be just practical, without showiness and formalities (and, indeed, what is shown on this subject on the television is repulsive to watch—just like the wellremembered Lyonya18 in his last days). There was also a report about the state of the meat-and-milk industry. Three Ministers spoke, and Solomentsev from the Gosplan.19 Gorbachev conducted [the session], and summed it up: he likened our lagging behind western companies to the “cave age”—that was his concluding estimate to the ministers. At the meat-processing plants, women chop meat with axes, in order to prepare it for a marketable-package form. Very bad... I cannot reconcile myself with people’s indifference (my colleagues’ at the CC) to work, for which they receive big money and other things. Admittedly, you may despise “this cause.” Perhaps it deserves to be despised because of its meaninglessness, unproductiveness, etc. But be honest. Leave, if you do not like it. But do not be a cynic, for that means that others must do your work for you—others, who get the same amount of money as you, that is, they do twice the work—for themselves and for you! Take Sharif, my head of the England sector. Already for the fourth year in a row, he is sick three-quarters of each year!

January 23rd, 1985. Did not see Ponomarev for two days after his birthday. Brutents,20 who received the Chileans together with him today, saw him very confused... But he maintained his ridiculous advice-giving manner. The people came to explain why Pinochet must be
18 19

Nickname for Leonid Brezhnev The State Planning Agency 20 Karen Nersesovich Brutents—member of the CC CPSU International Department

12

forcefully overthrown. And he tells them: Lenin taught that rebellion is an art, but it is necessary to study the NEP [New Economic Policy] as well. It is an illusion that he is not becoming old. He is becoming intellectually decrepit, and his innate traits are becoming more pronounced. I cannot cast off [the image of] his pathetic description of how Gorbachev, responding to Ponomarev’s question of why he was not given a second Star, stood up and embraced him. And our little B.N. almost cried, telling me about it. That is him, who started out despising Gorbachev, and considering himself better in all aspects. And now, with puppy-like gratitude, he mumbles how kind the latter was to him, asked him “not to worry about anything...” No, Ponomarev lacks that Bolshevist marrow, which is akin to the aristocratism of the Decembrists and the People’s Will.21 He is petty, even though a direct heir of the Bolshevist cohort! By the way, today he was slighted once again. It was unofficially communicated from the MFA [Ministry of Foreign Affairs] that Gromyko22 named Shcherbitsky23 as head of the USSR Supreme Soviet delegation to the USA. And Ponomarev had so counted on it, had hoped so much! Five years ago he went to the USA in the same capacity, and for how many years after that he told everyone—our people and foreigners—about the people with whom he, “just like with you,” talked, what he suggested, and how he influenced them. Even now he still remembers by name all the senators, congressmen, governors, and others, with whom he met there, who had received him, etc. What a disappointment it will be! And a hint! Could they be planning to send him into retirement at the next Plenum, in April?!

21 22

People’s Will—a populist anarchist movement in Russia in the XIX century Andrei Andreevich Gromyko—USSR Foreign Minister, 1957-1985 23 Vladimir Vasilievich Shcherbitsky—Member of the CC CPSU Politburo, First Secretary of the Ukrainian Communist Party

13

January 26th, 1985. One more colleague died of a heart attack—Nikolai Borisovich Slepov, who worked on Israel. But work was going on as if nothing had happened. I am composing the international [affairs] sections for the CC Secretaries’ election speeches, including the one for Gorbachev. B.N. drew me to the Program again, despite the [initial] selection in favor of Zagladin. They finished up “at the dacha;” now he has to report his opinion to Gorbachev; so last night I was composing “his” opinion for him. However, I added that the collectivization should not be called “The Great Revolution” in the Program for decades into the future. It claimed too many innocent victims; and brought such material, economic, social, and other losses, that the ramifications are felt to this day. I don’t know whether he will accept the addition. In his heart he agrees, but in his textbook, which has been published seven times, for the past twenty years he asserts that the collectivization was “the second great revolution!” And even if he “agrees,” will he dare to correct himself? Shalaev (VCSPS [All-Union Central Labor Union Council]) insists on the resumption of the million-ruble transfer to English miners, even though Gorbachev told Thatcher: we have not and will not transfer. I made him go to the CC. I am in doubt myself, and that is how I composed the memo. Because our million is a drop in the bucket (less than the miner’s week’s spending), and [is given] in secret at that (so it does nothing for the internationalism); and if it comes to the surface, Maggie will drag the person, with whom she talked and whom she liked so much, through the mud. It is not

14

worth it. We shall see how the CC Secretaries and M.S. [Gorbachev] himself will treat this. There are nine months left until the Congress. I must decide what to do with my life. The meaning in work is already lost; the ICM has no future: it is vanishing, the parties are falling apart one after another. Apparently is has exhausted itself historically; politically it is still holding on—supported by us. That means that the question of my work is now only the question of my private life.

January 30th, 1985. Chernenko has been in the hospital for almost a month. The PB is meeting irregularly: he does not trust anyone else to conduct the meetings. The PCC [Political Consultative Committee] (of the Warsaw Pact countries) is delayed for an indefinite time. And what will happen with the election speech? After all, the elections in the RSFSR are on the 24th. Today in the crowd by the elevator I asked Rakhmanin about the PCC. “What are you saying,” he replied, “it hasn’t got a chance. And the elections as well!” After some thought, he added: “What the devil—we have been knocking about for ten years now!” And that—almost out loud! And that—[from] Rakhmanin! It seems like B.N. has really lost it after his 80th anniversary. He started to give out even before, but now you can see it “with the naked eye.” He called me over the other day. Led me to the windowsills. They are heaping with addresses, telegrams, and letters on the account of his 80th anniversary. He tells me: “I am not their boss—that means that these are from the heart. They are sincerely

15

expressing... But what should be done with all of this? Of course, I understand that the more you emphasize your importance the less you are liked. But nevertheless... somehow the hundreds of congratulations and evaluations that are in there it should be brought to attention!” I offered only to “summarize and systemize.” Got three consultants working on it. They are mocking [him], but doing it. This might be all right, but some of his other actions are disgusting. The Bulgarian Ambassador wrote a letter requesting an interview for a movie about Dimitrov: “What do you remember as the strongest impression from meeting Dimitrov,” and such, in the personal sense. And so I am assigned to formulate “Comrade Ponomarev’s personal impressions from working with Dimitrov,” (and I, in turn, assigned this to Kozlov and Rybakov). At the same time, we are writing about the moral character of party members in the draft of the Program. And there is the formula [in it]: the higher the post, the stricter the requirements for the communist’s morals. Such an exploitation of the minds of other people, of subordinates who are on a party salary, is not considered immoral. In fact, it is the norm: the higher executives cannot say a word in public, or write a single line, on their own. The only exception right now is Gorbachev. By the way, before the 40th anniversary [of WWII] I suddenly decided to find out whether any of the current members of the Politburo, candidates for membership, and the CC Secretaries fought in the war. Checked in a reference book (biographies of CC members). Not one of them had been at the front! Of course, what Brezhnev made of his time in the second echelon is also not right. Still...

16

I am reading Yesin’s “The Imitator” in Novy Mir. Brilliantly executed, and excellent in the thoughts on contemporary bureaucratic intelligentsia, even though the piece is about artists = about the moral state of our present-day society. Today, the fellows from the Polish sector (in the CC Socialist Countries Department), who clearly sympathize with me (sometimes bring Poles for chats with me), told me “whispering in the ear” that Ambartsumov’s “revisionist” article was re-printed in Bulgaria and the GDR. I am reading yet another volume of L.N. Tolstoy. Letters. Turns out he wrote them every day, in addition to diaries and material for the complete works!

February 5th, 1985. I am again going meticulously through the Program’s draft, preparing myself for the verbal skirmishes with the people who regard themselves as its chief authors— Pechenev and others: the fellows whom we, the International Department, “nursed to life,” through the journal Problems of Peace and Socialism but did not manage to get them in time (i.e. to make them a part of the department). Once again, even after the draft has been revised in accordance with the secretaries’ suggestions and passed through the most thorough group editing, I [still] find absurdities, repetitions, and empty phrases and remove them from it. As I already mentioned, last Saturday the secretaries approved the text again; but the “proprietors” of the final council—Pechenev and Stukalin, proposed alterations once more. Will they take Pyshkov and me into account at all, considering the whole irritable, vain commotion around our little B.N.?

17

I will go there (i.e. to the Gorky dacha) Thursday morning. Will see what happens. Most importantly, I must keep calm and not show too much interest.

February 11th, 1985. For three days, from the 7th until the 9th, at Volynskoe -2. Stukalin, Pechenev, Pyshkov, Stepanov, Solodukhin, Pravotorov, and I were there. We were polishing up the CPSU Program after yet more suggestions from the CC Secretaries and before Gorbachev presents the text to Chernenko. The main issues are: 1) To “globalize,” i.e. to eliminate the ICM’s popular tendency to fixate on national problems and missions; but also to prevent a relapse to the meaningless and non-productive talk of Program-61. The task virtually came down to borrowing a definition of the epoch: to the paragraph stating that the perfection of Soviet society is an international mission of the CPSU, and that the CPSU should bring up its members in the spirit of communism not only in Russia, but for all of the humanity. 2) Corrections in three aspects, as follows: - the theory of Marxism-Leninism; - common sense; - Russian grammar. 3) A new conclusion (with the images of future communism), making sure that it is not too emotional.

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An important detail: the addition on Latin America, which in the previous stages was virtually inserted into the ideology [section] of the “liberated” countries of Africa and Asia, due to an oversight by Brutents and Zagladin. I succeeded in making this correction, even though the text of “my” revision was not accepted. I was the main source of observations, suggestions, and corrections... as an outsider. Pechenev, who was in charge, tried to be a good sport, but became irritated and sometimes started to object as soon as I opened my mouth. I resolved from the start not to get worked up about it. I “argued” calmly, sometimes as if joking, and often found support among others. Then Pechenev gave in. Actually he considered me to be Ponomarev’s agent, and only slowly understood that I represented myself. I truly consider it Pechenev’s merit that he was able to insist on the necessity of breaking Ponomarev’s vain conservatism, and making the text realistic and in general targeted domestically, rather than a precept to the IMC and a model for everyone... Coming back from Saratov, B.N. tried to infiltrate the process, but he was too late: we really worked to finish up and deny him the opportunity of showing up at Volynskoe and then presenting the text in his name. And this is in his best interests: he is annoying people with his pretensions. His vanity is making him look ridiculous and foolish. One would think it is high time to realize that he will not be able to connect his name with the new edition of the Program. That is how it works out: even a smart man, but lacking an inner culture, genuine intelligence, and aristocratism, seems like a petty fool.

19

Solomentsev told me (about the Congress of the PCF [French Communist Party]) how at a meeting Marchais took him by one hand, and the Chinese representative by the other, and raised them, drawing thunderous applause. Solomentsev indignantly pointed out that our television, for some reason, cut that scene out. But when I told the story to Ponomarev, he said: they did the right thing [to cut it out]! Here is the unanimity of our leaders on the Chinese question for you! Meanwhile, our delegation in Paris has “amicably” associated with the Chinese. And this virtually means the renewal of inter-party contacts.

February 15th, 1985. D’ula Khorn, the head of HSWP’s [Hungarian Socialist Workers’ Party] International Department, visited Zagladin and me. We talked for two hours. He really wants to be completely frank, and he really wants us to openly agree with him (because he believes that in our hearts we do agree). Maybe it is so, but he is thinking provincially, not politically, even though he is very intelligent. I hear that they want to transfer him to Hungary’s MFA. But not because he is a revisionist at heart, it is just that Sures and he feel cramped in one department (CC HSWP). In the evening I had to entertain him at the restaurant Smena. There were prostitutes everywhere: around the place and inside. A most vulgar “program” [was performed] with a Russian folktale theme—a la russe [sic], as Zhilin accurately expressed it. Embarrassing. Abominable. There was a meeting with B.N. about measures related to the Victory day. There are tons of measures, but what’s the use! We will not convince anybody of anything. The

20

West is attacking Yalta—yet another channel of anti-Sovietism. [There was] an astute article by Korotich on anti-Sovietism in England. [There was] a report by the Ambassador from London about a televised meeting between seven of our schoolchildren with their peers from England and America. On average, especially in the area of intelligence, our children are by far more advanced than even the most civilized of their children. We are without prejudices; we submit to the conventions and rituals of a hierarchical society, but that does not penetrate essence of our humanity...

I was at Arbatov’s. Downed half a liter. Discussed everyone. His [Arbatov’s] chats with Gorbachev. The latter supposedly dislikes Zagladin. Does not sound believable. Facts?—He denounced Zagladin’s new marriage and told Yakovlev about it. Arbatov proved to me that the initiator of Ponomarev’s not receiving a second Star is Gromyko! Yurka is certain that Gromyko is striving for the [position of] General [Secretary]. The General [Secretary] himself is quite in a poor shape. How will he speak before the electorate? The congress Plenum is in April! Almost every day something is published to hide the [General Secretary’s serious] condition: either “his” address to the people, or a foreword to “his” next publication, or greetings, or answers to correspondents’ questions. I think he does not read them even after publication. Arbatov showed me a memorandum he directed to Gorbachev. He contends that we must wreck the talks in Geneva (Gromyko-Schultz). I had not expected such naiveté from him. As if he knows what “State” considerations are guiding Gromyko’s actions,

21

who has once again demonstrated his range of power by decorating his first deputy Kornienko24 as a Hero of Socialist Labor!! And, in essence, it is absurd to leave the talks before they are started, when the whole world sees in them the only hope. The most important objective right now is to gain “victory” in the propaganda war; even though it does not alter anything in real politics = in the arms race, which is catastrophic for all, and for us before anybody else. I am reading the Public Reading about Peter the Great by S. Soloviev. He was a historical thinker on great scale. And the reading is instructive too!

February 19th, 1985. I went to the Gorky museum at the Shekhtel mansion on Kalachov Street. I had never been there, and imagined the interior from pictures. All together—Gorky plus Shekhtel plus the spirit of the epoch, and the fact that the museum was only opened in 1961 after the XX-XXII Congress of the CPSU—it is impressive. Having said that, how would Gorky’s library look, with shelves on all the walls, 10,000 books—a good third of which belong in the special department for storage of confidential materials [spetskhran]! I walked around the rooms: the hall with the staircase that has appeared in all the architecture textbooks of the world; the dining room with a grand piano and a fireplace; the library with a round table and leather arm chairs of the old days; the study with Chinese things; the bedroom with furniture that Gorky did not like, but said not to bother about (i.e. not to change it). It is rich, in Rococo style.

24

Georgy Markovich Kornienko—First Deputy Foreign Minister, head of the U.S. desk of the USSR Foreign Ministry

22

For all that, as I was walking around I could not get rid of the feeling that the first proletarian writer regarded himself quite highly; and, as in Sorrento, he was not ashamed to get from the poverty-ridden proletarian government a place fit for a billionaire! It is here that the articles were written: numerous, enough for five or six volumes, about proletarian art, the new culture, the decay of the West, etc. There is something ineradicably eternal in Mayakovsky’s reproaches, Mayakovsky, who was only recognized as proletarian after his death, and not at the first congress of the Writers’ Union. I am going through different books, “for want of anything better to do:” Fitzgerald’s Letters, Notes, Journals; Eidelmann—about Pushkin as a historian; Soloviev; Saltykov-Shchedrin Loyal Speeches (absolutely anti-Soviet stuff!); Marxism 1929-

1956—a collection of different Marxologists; Voznesensky. Prose. Vinokurov’s She
(powerful verses, far from orthodoxy); a collection of modern English writers (“everyday life” as we would say. But maybe this is the final fate of any literature once everyone is well fed, and when the “world problems”—love, hunger, poverty, oppression, etc.—will be solved on a world-scale through computers, the Scientific and Technological Revolution, and the sex revolution). Reading Fitzgerald, I once again catch myself thinking that I enjoy reading about writers, rather than their work, more and more: there are more ideas.

February 20th, 1985. Yesterday I listened to Gromyko’s speech before the electorate (RSFSR). Today I read his piece on Chernenko in Pravda. All the others seem to have guidelines on what to

23

say about him (the General Secretary); I even suspect that an appropriate paragraph about him was approved by the Politburo. This one [Gromyko] however, was original in his word about the “inner and outward greatness of our General Secretary.” What is this? Is Gromyko using Chernenko’s helplessness, narrow-mindedness, vanity, in order to secure a monopoly on foreign policy for himself? Perhaps this is even a test for the inheritance? Most likely that is the case. Arbatov, and others as well, are not ruling out that Gromyko is seriously coveting the first place. Can it really be that such a thing is possible here? And the others, the candidates who may possibly be true and earnest, will once again be waiting for their turn at advancement? Yesterday I was going through my wartime notebooks. Many pages have simply worn away, to such an extent that it is only possible to decipher a few disconnected words. Those that for some reason remain legible are disgusting to read: I was too given to soul-searching; instead I should have simply noted down facts, episodes, last names, names of villages, etc. The political views [I recorded] are relatively orthodox; was I afraid the notebooks might fall into strange hands? However, there are some comments that would have been a great risk in Stalinist times. After all, it was not without reason that I carried the notepads in my pockets, rather than the field bag. Someday all this should probably be sorted out. Most likely no memoirs will come from them; but a narrative about me may be possible. Many things change. However, the protective essence of politics is free only from the extreme, repressive forms. The essence remains.

24

I read The Second Meeting, Lakshin’s book. He writes about Tvardovsky, regards him as a great, a classic. And truly, even Shauro & Co. will not object against this, as well as against the fact that this idea has become firmly established in people’s consciousness. Yet, for his 60th anniversary Tvardovsky was decorated only with the Order of the Red Banner. And he was buried almost like Pushkin—just about secretly, so as not to stir too much emotion. But the mediocre writer and bootlicker Markov was given the [decoration of the] Hero twice, without much thought for the moral consequences, i.e. as to how the public will see it. And he is either keeping silent, or insolently laughing in his sleeve. Lakshin has an essay on Mark Sheglov, who appeared in our literary criticism arena at the time of Ehrenburg’s Thaw, before the XX Congress. This made me remember the following: there was some kind of a Party meeting, or maybe a conference on production in the Department of Science in the CC. It was then headed by Rumyantsev, the future chief of the journal Problems of Peace and Socialism. His deputy was Tarasov, a huge, obtuse kind of man, with a pretty, dumb face. He spoke with a gurgling noise, as if something liquid was splashing in his mouth. His report was about culture. All I remember is a feeling of aversion at being in the company of these stranglers of the thaw: how he was reviling Mark Sheglov, with the then fresh, cosmopolitan, Okhotnyi Ryad fury! I read the new chapters of Fazil Iskander’s Sandro of Chegem, published by

tamizdat.25 There is an unpleasant sensation, one I did not get from the earlier chapters of
Uncle Sandro: I think it comes from the apprehensive anti-Soviet sneer, published in a foreign country.
25

Term for Soviet writers’ publications in the West; literally means “published over there”

25

February 22nd, 1985. I just read Natta’s interview with La Stampa. He spoke openly and thoroughly— about the ICM, the “real socialism,” etc. In connection with this, I am thinking about the coming XXYII Congress’ Program. The section on the Communist Movement... It was written by Zagladin, twice approved by the [Central Committee] Secretaries, already much corrected at Volynskoe –2. But the essence remains. It is still as before, even the same as it was before the XX Congress. Only the wording changes, and even that not in everything: for example, we insist on the term “proletarian internationalism,” even though at the Berlin conference in 1976 we agreed to substitute it with “internationalist solidarity” (and for a while we used this term in print). The most important is in something else. Natta appeals to the reality, and in this sense rejects the interviewer’s “provocation:” who are you, the ICM, following nowadays—Lenin?—or are you returning to Kautsky? Since the times of Andropov and under Chernenko, we are also for realism. However, we do not want to recognize that the Communist Movement, in our textbook definition of it, does not and will not exist. And everything else stems from this, namely: the soft, restrained language when it comes to the Communist Movement and to the problems with collaboration and solidarity—hoping that it will be possible to cajole and avoid provoking any severances, to achieve some kind of silent modus vivendi [sic] with everyone: with the PCI, and the Chinese; a sort of “communist ecumenism,” as the interviewer from La Stampa said, using an expression familiar to a Catholic.

26

And for what? Obviously, it is to maintain the semblance of the myth’s (the ICM’s) existence—and we, the CPSU, are, so to say, leading it! It is necessary for the worldwide ideological power. But, preserving the myth, we are supporting the existence—pathetic, sickly, impotent existence—of the multimillion fraternal parties, who are behind our back and who will continue to vegetate under the cover of the ICM’s international authority (and intimidation). And had we “disbanded” the ICM, they would have to start acting. Of course, many would be finished. But others, the ones that still had some glimmer of energy, and where the conditions (of class struggle) were favorable, would be revived. Perhaps!.. And there would be a gain from the point of view of “world revolution.” However, we are thinking in terms of a worldwide ideological power, not in terms of a worldwide revolutionary movement. Who is “we,” though? Who am I sinning against? I am certain that the same Gorbachev, Solomentsev, Vorotnikov, and Chernenko himself would reject such an approach if we, the International Department of the CC, had proposed and substantiated it. Certain? No, I am not certain. It is the other way around. First Andropov, then Gorbachev had demanded a frank, unembellished analysis of the ICM: “without the halleluiah-ness,” as Gorbachev had said. Ponomarev botched this assignment before, and he did it again this time. Again he got a prettified note out of me, which barely shows a trace of reality. He would pigeonhole even such a note. But he could not, the General Department insisted on the note being there—the bureaucratic control demanded a “closing” of the question. However... Gorbachev did not want to bring such a note up for

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discussion. He understood that no sense is to be had out of Ponomarev, as he suspected when he shared his impressions with Chernenko’s assistant Vol’sky in the summer. And so we return to the familiar circle... Ponomarev regards the ICM as a secretary of an obkom regards his region. Comintern-ness is in his blood, as well as fear that he might be made to answer for his engagements in intentional deception, and upward distortions of results. A pretext for this might be the situation with Finland’s Communist Party, which was driven to total breakdown exactly by Ponomarev, with the help of Shaposhnikov and reviews by Smirnov and Fedorov (“brigand brothers” as they are called now even by the rather dull orthodox head of their sector Razdorozhny). Ponomarev embittered SKP’s leaders to such a degree, that they are indeed turning into an anti-Soviet crowd. But let us get off the circle. This is how the matters stand: with intermissions, but for several months altogether, Zagladin sat at the theoretical dachas and composed corresponding sections for the new CPSU Program. Yes, Ponomarev was always looming over him. But already at the first discussion of the Program’s draft at the PB Ponomarev was strongly rebuked, his place was made clear to him, his pretension to supervise the Program’s preparation was invalidated. Why not use this? Especially since precisely at that time Zagladin had a frank talk with Gorbachev. Here he could have enlisted his support, come to an agreement on a new, brave approach to the ICM, one for which Gorbachev was ready and open. But Zagladin did not want to take a risk. After all, Ponomarev is still a CC Secretary, and could appeal against such liberties to the “shortsighted orthodoxy” of the Politburo’s majority.

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As a result, we, the International Department, are not doing anything meaningful, idling, and it serves us right that we are disliked at the MFA more and more, and that we are ordered around with our Ponomarev. I read Tikhonov’s26 speech before the electorate in the newspaper. I noticed (this caught my attention at the USSR Supreme Soviet elections a year ago), that our leaders’ speeches have begun (after Brezhnev) to differ from each other increasingly. Not in essence of course, but just as it’s supposed to be in a normal, Leninist party: where everyone talks about one’s own [subjects] in his own way, but still in the frame of the common course. It goes without saying, that they do not write their speeches themselves; but among their assistants and other persons “involved,” there are, as a rule, sensible, and sometimes intelligent, people. And, ultimately, the product is accepted by the orator, who will not deliver the speech if he does not agree with the content.

Elections to the RSFSR [Supreme Soviet]. I looked through Akhromeev’s27 (the head of the Joint Staff) article in the

Communist, written on the occasion of the Soviet Army Day. He remarks on Stalin’s
personal contributions to the war and to the victory. He puts Zhukov on the same level with Timoshenko, as the representative of the Supreme Commander-in-Chief General Headquarters. Everything about the real cause of the 1941 defeats is muffled and obscure, as is the custom nowadays.

26

Nikolai Alexandrovich Tikhonov—Member of the CC CPSU Politburo, Chairman of the USSR Council of Ministers 27 Sergei Fedorovich Akhromeev—the Chief of the USSR General Staff, later Gorbachev’s personal adviser

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I remembered an episode that took place very recently. At the CC Secretariat, Ponomarev was charged with heading a committee on arranging public propaganda in relation to the 40th Victory-Day anniversary. He called together (about two weeks ago) some department heads, deputies, and others; Zagladin, Shaposhnikov, and I were there as well. Near the end of the meeting, Zamyatin again said out of place: “I saw... and some others present here did too, a documentary film Victory, about Potsdam, which was approved [for the anniversary]. Everything is accurate in the film, but in the end, the director’s text struck me as offensive: Stalin was, he says, capricious, intolerant, and something else. Unfitting. Why is it necessary? It spoils the impression.” Kiselev, deputy head of the Socialist Countries Department and a well-known mastodon of Stalinism, echoed the sentiments. Stukalin (in charge of propaganda), wanted to keep quiet, but Zagladin, who was sitting opposite him, appealed to him and Stukalin ended up halfheartedly agreeing as well. But Ponomarev reacted as follows: “I tell you! Capricious. You are jarred by it, offended. It does not jar you that before the war he ruined the bloom of the armed forces, and company commanders had to lead armies?! What did this cost the people? How many people perished because of this (only this one aspect!)?!” The discussion ended with that. ... However, the review of the movie was preliminary, at the department level. They, of course, gave notices to the right people. Zamyatin decided to appeal to a CC Secretary for support, in case the question would be decided “at the top.” He did not get any understanding from Ponomarev, how about others?..

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February 23rd, 1985. I read Chernenko’s speech in a newspaper. The speech is very good; it was not for nothing that the best specialists in the field worked on it for two months. And involuntarily you begin to feel defiant: why do we need our leaders at all? Perhaps it really would be better if they played the parts of representative puppets, and the work was handed over to professionals? But it would have to somehow be in the open, without the stupidity, hypocrisy, and Pharisaism that makes everyone sick. Yesterday, for example, there was a meeting of the electorate, but the Deputy candidate (i.e. General Secretary) was absent. Grishin28 conducted the meeting. His speech is unctuous, servile. Then we observe the audience, where every other face, if not more, is familiar: the staff, the ministers, etc. Grishin gives a testimonial to the candidate, concluding with words about “personal modesty...” etc. No, the “love of authorities” (from Saltykov-Shchedrin) is ineradicable in Russia. Not the German-style love of authorities, but Russian-style, when in reality no one loves it, except for the literal idiots. Instead, a barely concealed social and political hypocrisy is thriving; the evil of which is in that it creates a huge gap between social consciousness and power, stripping it of any moral authority. I re-watched (how many times already!) a documentary about the Leningrad blockade, from the 20-episode project The Unknown War. And once again (alongside with an emotional response) I had mixed feelings. After all, under Stalin, we ourselves had worked to forget and even trample the memory of the war. Stalin knew what he was doing, he played on the people’s natural impulse to turn away, “drift into forgetfulness,” to leave the wounds in peace. I remember how I myself rushed to take off the military
28

Victor Vasilievich Grishin—Member of the CC CPSU Politburo, head of the Moscow Party Committee

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uniform. I convinced my mother to make a silly jacket from a good soldier’s shirt. Of course, Stalin had another of his crafty plans in mind. But it was probably also a sign of the country’s healthy state of mind: it did not want to grieve over the fallen for too long, because one “must continue living.” But now, many times already—under Brezhnev and after, we are galvanizing the memory of war. And this is most likely evidence of the decrepit state of the government, which must (consciously or not) exploit the memories of “greatness” in order to maintain the nation’s ideological and moral potential.

February 26th, 1985. Schultz appeared in San Francisco, with another audaciously anti-Soviet speech. How B.N. panicked yesterday morning! “It is inconceivable, a new total crusade, a threat to all revolutions and all nations, we must do something immediately, they are completely impudent,” etc. in that vein. Lisovolik, my American sector deputy, reported that there is already an order to rebuke [the speech] in Literary Gazette and in Pravda. In Politburo today there was a distribution of the Pravda article: an abusive reprove with insulting epithets addressed at the US Secretary of State, with whom we are going to have to work at the talks regarding—no more, no less—whether humanity is to be or not to be (the talks are starting on March 12th). Menshikov, our chief consultant on the USA, has stated that we cannot act in this manner; it amounts to a declaration of war. Lisovolik, on the other hand, is calling Menshikov’s position capitulation; and suggested we remove only the most offensive,

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personal attacks, without changing the “conception” of the article = a rebuke. He maintains this is the only manner in which one can speak to them. I took the middle ground. I corrected the page-proofs and sent them to Ponomarev, who, by the way, on the one hand raised a panic in the morning, but on the other hand criticized me for leaving “rudely critical passages” in Shcherbitsky’s speech drafts (in a day or two, Shcherbitsky is going to the USA as the head of the parliamentary delegation). As soon as I sent off the text, Aleksandrov—“the Sparrow”—calls me. “Have you read it?”—Yes, I have. And off he went—along the same lines as Menshikov. Railed against Afanasiev (the chief editor of Pravda): who does not understand elementary things and composed a text as if we were on the verge of war and not talks with the USA, silly insults... What if something like this was written about Gromyko? I kept to myself, even though I should have answered him, that Time [sic] prints memoirs of the deserter Shevchenko, whose career had been nurtured by Gromyko and who was his protégé, and who now writes such things about our Minister that any of our insults of Schultz seem like light irony. He writes about Gromyko’s extortions and bribes during visits to America (actually Yakovlev, when he was Ambassador to Canada, also told me about this). [Shevchenko also writes] about Gromyko’s wife, who, when coming to the States, went to all the jewelry stores, markets, etc., buying up gold and jewelry at the expense of the government treasury, and gifts from the Embassy workers and trade representatives; about Gromyko’s ignorance and his other qualities... But this is a propos [sic]. In a word, Aleksandrov—former assistant to Brezhnev, former assistant to Andropov, current assistant to the already non-existent Chernenko—was horrified by such an article and sought my support.

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I replied that I tried to convince Ponomarev that Schultz’s speech is just another anti-Soviet trick, and not any kind of “philosophy;” that it had quite a pragmatic purpose: to intimidate Nicaragua and to justify before the “Western democratic” allies Grenada-like policy towards this country; that we should not raise such a clamor over every one of such tricks; that our overly sensitive reaction will only please Schultz and the Americans, convincing them that this is the way to deal with us, since we react so nervously. I said that the best course of action for now is to shrug it off through some topical satire, through a contemptuous, deprecating retort: i.e. to conduct ourselves respectably, and not show that they made us lose our temper. These arguments had no effect on B.N. He declared: “I do not agree with you.” Aleksandrov did not agree either, finally saying that he is counting on me to “make my contribution and make sure the article does not appear in such a form.” I asked for the text to be returned, went through it once again and eased up some offensive and panicky strains. I wonder, what will B.N. say tomorrow? And in what form will the article finally appear? Ponomarev’s pretensions regarding the “theoretical conference” on the Victory, with the participation of foreign guests and with his report. What an illusionist! And what a steadfast sense of self-importance! This Sunday, there is a worldwide sensation: Chernenko’s voting on TV. Turns out, his hospital ward was “transformed” into an election center. A man half-dead. A mummy. I know from experience what suffering asthma can bring, making a person totally unable to function. This was when I was thirty-forty years old! And he is seventy-

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five! Meanwhile, he “appears” every day with addresses, replies, forewords, and memoranda! The televised performance, of course, was staged with his consent. It had a reverse effect on people though. One thought was on everybody’s lips (or in their heads): what the thirst for power must be like, if people sacrifice their self-esteem (if anyone has any left), their formal authority, and even their last remnants of vitality for it.

March 2nd, 1985. I do not know how this happened, Ponomarev probably insisted on it, but I was included into the group preparing the CC summary report for the XXYII Congress. On Monday, Ligachev (he will head this group, and Zimyanin will head the group writing the political report, Zagladin is in that group) will assemble us and define how we are to live until August 15th—the deadline for the text. Continuation about Schultz. The Pravda article actually was “calmed down” significantly; all my propositions were taken into account. But B.N. did assemble the deputies, and proceeded to scare them. He did not like my doubts or my skepticism. He assigned [deputies] to prepare a letter to fraternal parties and social democrats with “arguments” and appeals. Yakovlev was present (the director of IMEMO [Institute of World Economy and International Relations], former Ambassador to Canada, and former deputy of the CC Propaganda Department). He was shown much consideration in the past year: [he was made] Deputy of the USSR Supreme Soviet, a corresponding member of USSR Academy of Sciences, member of the Program committee, etc. But, he is still maliciously-critically

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predisposed. He spoke briefly about the Program: we are not ready to compose a real Program. We will not act in accordance with it, and even if we include good propositions it will once again become a propagandist brochure for teaching to students. Again, no one will propose before each Plenum that we check the Program and ask ourselves: what about this line? Are we fulfilling its objectives? [He] criticized the story with the “anti-Soviet group” at the university, which was unmasked and put in jail under Inozemtsev, the preceding director of the Institute [IMEMO]. Besides the fact that Andropov amnestied them, all the people involved have been restored to the Party, all were given jobs. And, most importantly, according to his information, the whole affair was staged through a ploy with a stool pigeon, which was pointed at by some University employees—greenhorn intellectuals. Moscow is full of anecdotes and laughter, and the Western press of terrible caricatures and articles, about Chernenko’s illness... And, of course, they are “discussing” who will inherit, who has what chances: Gorbachev, Grishin, Gromyko, Romanov... Some are even discussing the possibility (as they are saying, you can expect anything from the Russians) that Chernenko is dead. And that is exactly why the Kasparov-Karpov [chess] match was stopped—to clear the Hall of Columns for the installation of the body. Gromyko is quoted a great deal, and Zamyatin as well—praising the merits, contributions, and outstanding qualities of the General Secretary, which, Expres [sic] adds, will be forgotten before the candles by the casket burn out. Obviously, it is because of these rumors that the decision to show Chernenko was made. He has been on television twice—while voting at the so-called election center, and when he was presented with a Deputy of the RSFSR certificate; on the latter occasion he even tried to

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speak. It was a terrible show: people in Moscow regard these actions as a premeditated ideological diversion. B.N. assembled all the deputies and staff of the Politburo on the occasion of another CC resolution on the campaign against alcoholism. He cited some numbers: four million are in compulsory treatment for alcoholism, hundreds of thousands of young people are in colonies and camps for crimes committed under the influence. Twenty-five percent of alcoholics are women. As to the situation in our department, he spoke mostly about time, even though one of the direct causes for the Party bureau’s assembly was the fact that the other day Zhilin stumbled into B.N.’s office completely drunk... Straight off, one could name ten to twelve people who habitually walk down the corridors drunk. And Shaposhnikov is among them; he, however, simply does not come to work after a drinking binge—a day, two, half a day, using his deputy standing... and the drinking binges take place no less frequently than two to three times a week.

March 8th, 1985. On Monday Ligachev called together the group preparing the CC summary report for the XXYII Congress. He divided it into four subgroups: Razumov—the Party, Medvedev—ideology, Vol’sky—economic and social politics, Sharapov—international questions. I dared to ask, who would instruct Gromyko to give us materials on foreign policy. Ligachev was irritated: at first he promised to call Gromyko about it, but then changed his mind: get it yourself. I again reminded them that unlike the other departments represented in the first three subgroups, we, international affairs specialists,

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have a relationship with the Ministries that is essentially different: the MFA is not subject to the authority of the CC International Department. This caused even greater irritation, though it also surprised those present: for many, such a situation was unexpected. Later I spoke to Ponomarev about the same issue: we can, of course, in our subgroup write a report on the CPSU foreign policy during the interval between the Congresses, but this would be material for the MFA’s mockery, and an excuse to discredit the International Department in the eyes of the same CC Secretaries even further: that our preparation of the materials is unqualified. B.N. replied by saying that he would call Ligachev. And so it still remains unclear, who will assign the MFA to write a piece about foreign policy between the XXYI and the XXYII Congresses. One involuntarily remembers Suslov: he used to pick up the phone and say: “Comrade Gromyko, prepare such-and-such a material by suchand-such a date,” and, without waiting for a reply, would replace the receiver! Today, no one at the CC can do anything of the sort: Chernenko gave complete control over foreign policy to Gromyko. And Gorbachev does not yet wield Suslov-like “power,” he cannot make up his mind to do it... Thus, on March 15th, we, the group preparing the report, as well as the group preparing the political report, will sit down at Volynskoe and begin... the deadline— August 15th. On Tuesday, I was at the Secretariat, [and] once again observed with what defiance people regard Ponomarev. Other [participants] argue among themselves, get excited, disagree, raise objections, defend their positions several times over—Zimyanin especially is loud and people often disagree with him. But they are all friendly among

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themselves, this is discussion and arguments among comrades, they can put you in your place, but no one is offended. But as soon as our B.N. opens his mouth, as if on cue, everyone is immediately on guard, with ironical smiles on their faces: what else will the old man utter?! And even when he talks sense, they reject his ideas lazily, without argument, and sometimes act as if he did not propose anything at all. He turns white, then red, in the face, stays silent, takes offense, but in a minute—it’s like water off a duck’s back: supreme training! And he tries again to get into the discussion and the same pattern repeats. There was discussion of the CPSU Charter corrections. In the paragraph discussing the duties of each communist, B.N. proposed to remove the note that each [communist] must struggle for “the consolidation of the international communist and labor movements’ unity.” Not the entire phrase, but only the “labor” part. “Communist” is all right, but labor? Firstly, there is no unity, there is nothing to consolidate. Secondly, consolidated with whom? With the Christian trade unions, with the ones who vote for conservatives, with the American AFL—the inveterate anti-Soviets?.. Gorbachev replies: “But until now this was in the Charter and did not raise any questions from anyone?..” And moved on! Incidentally, I am watching Gorbachev. At first I thought he was being careful, did not show himself too much, but was nevertheless working his “novelty,” under the cover of the old. Now it seems to me, that he has already become accustomed to the bureaucratic mechanism of leadership, and slips more and more often into the “automatism” that has been fine-tuned through the decades.

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And what about Ponomarev?.. Had the authors of journals like Problems of

Communism or other such articles, known about the CC International Department, and
about our leadership mechanism in general; had known that the one whom they portray as “the Gray Cardinal,” as an omnipotent hand, which determines the work of the KGB, of the MFA, and of all the rest of the CPSU foreign policy activities—was only a minor official, who stayed “near the top” only by chance, that up there he was an old man held in contempt by everyone, whose opinion no one took into consideration, who made a fuss before us at the department about the necessity for new initiatives, etc., but was afraid to show himself at the Secretariat, not to mention the Politburo—for he might be snubbed again! So we wrote the letter to the fraternal parties, to the Labor Movement and to the Social Democratic parties about Schultz’s speech in San Francisco. Turned out very expressive! Presented it to him. And he, who urged us on with this, placed it at the bottom of the pile of his numerous official papers! And certainly, as I said at the deputies’ meeting, everyone has long forgotten about this speech.

March 10th, 1985. I am still reading Loyal Speeches by Shchedrin. I choke with laugher, and cannot stop marveling at the lasting power of the word under the pen of a genius.

March 11th, 1985. Somber music at seven a.m. instead of the program Opyat’ Dvadtsat’ Pyat’ put me on guard... And indeed, Chopin, once again, as more than once before, was the first

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informant of the Soviet people and of foreign countries of the fact that the USSR is facing a “change of epoch.” Chernenko died last night. Everyone saw it coming, sneered and sniggered at it, told anecdotes about how our leadership and propaganda, by demonstrating the complete vitality of the General Secretary on the screen, at elections and numerous statements, talks and interviews, made us the “land of fools.” Zagladin, Aleksandrov, Lukyanov, and Medvedev were pulled out of their beds at night and summoned to the Kremlin, Gorbachev instructed them to prepare a draft of the speech for “the person, who will be elected General Secretary” by next morning. (I must say that the work they came up with was not quite outstanding. But that is beside the point.) Ponomarev assembled the deputies at 9:45 a.m. and was very surprised that everyone already knew. At 14:00 it was announced on the radio. The Plenum took place at five o’clock. Everyone stood up to honor [Chernenko]; Gorbachev said (without excess) the appropriate words. But there was not a drop of sadness or distress in the air, as if to say, you suffered, poor bloke, for accidentally landing in a position inappropriate for you... and made a pause in the acceleration that Andropov had almost given the country. A suppressed “satisfaction,” if not joy, then reigned in the atmosphere—as if to say, the uncertainty has come to an end, and the time has come for Russia to have a real leader. Gorbachev read the agenda: the election of General Secretary; and reported that the Politburo has entrusted comrade Gromyko with presenting the proposal regarding this question. Not Tikhonov, who shriveled and turned red in the face when this was

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announced, not Romanov, or Grishin, who, by the way, was assessed by the Western press as a candidate at the same level as Gorbachev and Gromyko. The latter came to the podium and started to speak without notes, freestyle. When he named Gorbachev the hall exploded in an ovation, comparable to the one at Andropov’s election (and nothing like the sour applause at Chernenko’s). The ovation went in waves and did not abate for a long time. Gromyko spoke in a way not customary at such occasions: he gave a testimonial (in a relaxed manner, not hackneyed) to the qualities of the “Politburo comrade” that were deemed necessary and sufficient to unanimously (“I emphasize this,” he repeated) elect him. I would like, he said, to convey to you, the Central Committee, the atmosphere in which we consider the candidacy of Mikhail Sergeevich. There were no doubts, complete unanimity. Why? [Because] he has a vast experience of party work, at the obkom level and here at the headquarters. He has really shown his worth. He has a profound and sharp mind, an ability to separate the essential from the minor. An analytical mind. He breaks down every question so as to see all its constituent parts. But he does not allow these parts to collect dust. He can generalize and draw conclusions. His adherence to principles makes him distinct. He is a man of principle and conviction. He can defend his point of view, even if somebody may not like it. And he states this point of view clearly, without beating about the bush. But [his views are] always in the name of the party policy, and for the realization of that policy. This is what is called the party approach—all evaluations made from the point of view of the party.

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He is straightforward with people, and, if you are a true communist, you come away from him satisfied, even though he might have said something that was not to your liking. He knows how to find a common language with different people—for the sake of the cause. I will tell you, Gromyko continued, about my own area. Mikhail Sergeevich, as soon as he entered the Politburo, immediately drew attention to himself through his ability to see to the heart of the matter in that, which, seemingly, was not his area of expertise at all, with which he was unfamiliar (i.e. international relations). His evaluations indicated that he was not one of those who see in only two dimensions: black and white. He has shown that he can find the intermediate colors in order to reach the goal. And one more thing. In the West, they are dreaming of finding cracks in our leadership, of setting members of our government at loggerheads... they are whispering, gossiping, slandering. But we will not give them the pleasure of seeing something like this. The election of Gorbachev is proof of the indestructible unanimity in our government. Defense and vigilance are very important objectives for him. In today’s state of affairs they are the holiest of the holy. And one more thing. His erudition, drawn from his education and experience, is also very important. It will be very useful to him as a General Secretary. In a word, we have before us a statesman worthy of taking this post at such a crucial moment for this country. Then there were more ovations.

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Then the presiding Romanov gave the floor to Gorbachev. (His speech will be in the papers tomorrow). Then Gorbachev closed the Plenum, and invited all the people present, including the first secretaries of obkoms, who were at the Plenum but who were not yet (!) part of the CC, to the Hall of Columns to pay the last respects to Chernenko. It remained mystery to me (and I think to many people)—why Gromyko? He seemed to have gradually laid down the program for the new General Secretary. But that is nothing. Most importantly, he was presented to the party as the initiator of Gorbachev’s advancement. What did they want to say by this? Or—what did Gromyko want to get out of it, by organizing it so that he, and not the Prime Minister, and not one of the “party” (as opposed to the State) members of the Politburo, took this part? To strengthen his standing? To keep the monopoly on foreign policy that he secured under Chernenko? To test the waters for an “advancement”—for the post of Prime Minister or Chairman of the Supreme Soviet Presidium? Or just to be an “elder colleague,” to patronize the young General Secretary... Maybe just for the sake of vanity? Probably it is a combination of these incentives. But something must be the main factor. However, I do not think that he will be able to live at Gorbachev’s expense. He got the wrong guy for that! According to much information, the people are happy that it was precisely Gorbachev. Even before Chernenko’s death, people on the metro, in trolleybuses, in cafeterias, were not shy about clearly expressing such a “wish.” People are tired of the social stagnation, of the demonstration of official stupidity, when a leader is turned into

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an honored puppet, through which, however, some people wield great influence on the course of events. But... much is expected of Gorbachev, just as was once expected of Andropov. Will he have the courage to justify the expectations? He has great resources. The new personnel of the party apparatus and the real intelligentsia will support him. The Congress is just around the corner, which he can make the turning point in the country’s history. In a word, again, as at the beginning of the Andropov era, which in a report at a party meeting I called “the November [era],” I am “full of hope and anticipation.” The first tests will be: 1) the reshuffling of immediate personnel—assistants, the thief Bogolyubov – deputy of the General Department, some other people; 2) whether he will allow praising of his person... Gromyko has already pronounced the sacramental “outstanding statesman of the party?” 3) will he delay (as it happened with Andropov) with the major, sociallyformative scale, reforms, or will he already at the April Plenum make himself known as a true innovator in the improvement of society?

March 13th, 1985. When I was going home for lunch, half an hour after the ceremony on the Red Square, the flags of mourning were already being taken off the buildings on Lubyanka, off the Hall of the Union, etc. In the crowd of the CC members on the Red Square (the coffin had just been carried by), Gostev, who was standing nearby, said to me loudly:

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“He was at this post by some accident. But, you see, it was necessary for someone like him to have the post for a while... he seemed to be neutral. [We needed it] in order to look around. Even though everyone understood that he would not last long.” Nobody turned around, even though many had clearly heard him. I assented. In the crowd of members and candidate members to the CC, as they were gathered by the exit from the Hall of Columns half an hour before the coffin was to be carried out, the atmosphere was like in a market place: people laughing loudly, discussing different issues, exchanging all kinds of “unrelated” remarks over each other’s heads, mockingly greeting each other, discussing whether it would be cold: since there is still an hour and a half to be spent outside. In a word, the “nationwide sorrow” has in no way touched the staff of the Central Committee. Only foreigners took off their hats during the “peak moments” of the ceremony. And on the background of the relatively reserved eulogies—the tone set by Gorbachev at the Plenum and again in his speech from the Mausoleum—Fedoseev’s speech sounded silly and out of place, as he contended that Marxism-Leninism had lost a prominent theoretician, whose merits in this area were recognized by the Academy of Sciences with the Karl Marx Order, etc. He was the only one from the people close to Chernenko who did not “get his bearings.” Meanwhile, for some reason, it was precisely him, who was moved to the funeral committee and given the podium at the Mausoleum. In a word, we have entered a new era. What will happen? And we need a “revolution from the top.” Nothing less. It will not work otherwise. Does Mikhail Sergeevich understand this?

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March 14th, 1985. Gorbachev had a marathon of meetings today—from Bush to Natta, there must be at least twenty, if not more. The Western press is brimming with praise and hopes: for the first time they will be working with a leader who has in no way been connected to either Stalinism or Brezhnevism! Sukhodrev (interpreter for the General Secretaries, starting with Nikita) told me about the meeting with Thatcher. She, being acquainted with Gorbachev from 1984 (London, Chequers), fawned, charmed, engaged [him], and he answered with the same. It seems that this is how she “does politics,” and with the help of M.S. she wants to surpass all kinds of Kohls and Mitterands in world affairs, and maybe even the Reagans. And she likes to play in the feminine way precisely with Gorbachev. Ponomarev was invited only to [the meeting with] Natta; the Arabs and other Africans (B.N.’s home turf) made do with Gromyko. I was at B.N.’s talks with McLennan (General Secretary of Great Britain’s CP). B.N. agreed to berate him for Johnston’s article in Marxism to day [sic]. As a result, Gordon wanted to continue the talk with me. I stopped by his hotel in the evening. Conducted an edifying conversation about this “anti-Soviet” article: said that, since we are fraternal parties, we must observe some code of propriety. We are not against criticism, but not one-sided: what if we had written in the Communist something similar about your party, what would you say?! There was nothing he could say to that. And in general, he is no expert at debate, plus he has not completely parted (like the Italians have done) with the “principles of the ICM” in the traditional interpretation.

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Out of all the communist parties, Gorbachev met only with the Italians. And even though B.N. did not object, he grumbled to us: saying, how is that—so many good (!) leaders have come, and we meet only with the Italians, the bad ones! When I was coming from McLennan, I was called over to meet Natta: my friend Ruby had noticed me. We sat together for around fifteen minutes, talked. I was not acquainted with Natta, but apparently Ruby had described me as one of the few at the CC who think of the PCI “with understanding.”

March 16th, 1985. From early in the morning yesterday I continued to “discipline” McLennan, trying to get a clear response from him, as to how he understands fraternal relations—does he recognize at all, unlike the PCI, the specific character of the relationship between parties? He got confused, said that he thought about that all the time himself, and that I had now arranged all these problems in a systematic way. But I continued to press on him: how can fraternal relations be combined with an ideological war, which you are virtually waging against us (the CPSU)? I am sure that this is all in vain: he is too weak a leader to make internationalist sentiments prevail at the CPGB; even though the basic sense of justice is on our side: the CPSU has, in fact, recognized most of its major flaws and omissions, and has undertaken their correction, begun work towards the “improvement of socialism’s image.” The new leader has clearly stated that he came from the Andropov camp and that he would continue the work with greater energy, and maybe even with the help of truly radical changes and reforms. And you, the Eurocommunists and others like them, continue to say

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that this is an impossible task unless we introduce a second party and altogether accept the British system of parliamentary democracy, i.e. you “criticize constructively” on the basis of dissidents’ gossip and the work of Sovietologists, without a real understanding of the reality. In this connection, I contrasted the Italian Giuseppe Boffa’s book on the history of the USSR to the writings in Marxizm to day [sic]. There are many points, on which we disagree with his evaluations and conceptions, with his explanation of our history, but nevertheless we have carefully studied the book. Not only because it was written from a favorable perspective (in the selection of words and formulations), but also because it was done in earnest: the man worked in Moscow for ten years, knows the Russian language, knows the Soviet people, studied our history from our sources, etc. That it why there is much of instructive and truly constructive material in it. With that I saw the General Secretary of Great Britain’s CP off; he has an extraordinary congress in mid May, where the minority of so-called “pro-Soviets” will be dealt the final blow. I met with the Irishman O’Riordan. Here everything is simpler. Even though I am tired of the sectarian caprices (in relation to the Labor Party). I am reading the renowned Mikhail Lifshits’ (now deceased) “The moral significance of the October Revolution” in the Communist. A brilliant essay. But only now there is the courage to publish it (from a personal archive). There is real “realism” there... and let us continue this way in everything. But, but, but... Are the “cadres” ready to perceive the Lenin-Shchedrin self-criticism as an instrument for a real renovation of our minds and public relations?

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March 17th, 1985. Everywhere people are happy and pleased that it is Gorbachev. The chauffeur, who drove me yesterday, told me with great enthusiasm how his fellows, the chauffeurs, are happy that we finally have a real leader. To lead our country, he tells me, one needs to be healthy as a horse, and that one (that is, Chernenko)—you could tell right away that he was a sickly one. In his place, I would have said: “Fellows! Spare me, I will not pull it through!” If only Gorbachev would not succumb to the trumpery of “foreign policy activity.” Nikita started the tradition, Brezhnev pushed it to the level of parody, and Chernenko surpassed even that. Especially since these daily statements, interviews, addresses and answers do not achieve any real purpose, and do not carry any weight in politics. Let someone like Gromyko, or maybe the Minister of Defense Sokolov, appear with such statements... There is a danger here... One seems to be in full view, it seems like it is for the sake of the most important, for the people. But the most important thing right now is to think—how to reform the country, and where to lead it. Whom will M.S. appoint to head the Secretariat as his replacement? Grishin, Romanov? Or will he lead it himself until the Plenum, and then make Dolgikh and Ligachev members of the Politburo? Much will depend on this. And not even on the action itself, but on the impression from that action—whether he will justify the universal happy expectations, or slip onto the beaten path and start spinning the well-adjusted bureaucratic machine. And the

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question of “comrades-in-arms,” of course: [if] Grishin and Romanov will be “representing” him, his image and the “capabilities” (the level) of the new leadership will be interpreted through them. It is evening. In a week, history has erased Chernenko from its pages. Last Sunday at this hour he was still alive.

March 18th, 1985. This is the first normal day of the “new era.” Nothing special at work. But there are good rumors: B.N. told me the following: the CC Secretaries got together on Friday— not a Secretariat, just to “exchange opinions.” Grishin and Zimyanin suggested holding obkom Plenums “about the March CC Plenum... to discuss the resolutions and the General Secretary’s directives.” Gorbachev responded derisively and definitively: “What Plenums? What for? We have too much to do to busy ourselves with meetings again. And what resolutions of the Plenum [do you propose to discuss]? That I was elected General Secretary? What’s to discuss there?” Ponomarev proudly told me, that as this point he loudly said: “That’s right!” thereby irritating Zimyanin. This is a good sign. B.N. added that a similar episode took place after Andropov was elected General Secretary, only the initiator at the time was Kapitonov and the reply was abrupt and harsh: “I am not Brezhnev. I do not need this. And you, Ivan Vasilyevich, have many important matters to attend to, as do we all!” It is curious that even before I was at Ponomarev’s I had heard a slightly different version of an episode from Zhilin: he was in some non-CC company on Sunday. Already legends are forming.

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Reports from ambassadors are full of enthusiasm about Gorbachev. Okketto, a member of the PCI leadership, told our Ambassador: “Since the war, there has not yet been a moment when the West felt such a complete wave of goodwill towards the Soviet leadership, and Soviet Union as well!” Besides all the favorable judgments of Gorbachev’s qualities and all kinds of high hopes, everybody—Kohl, Shultz, Mitterand, Thatcher, and people of this level, have noted that Gorbachev speaks “in a conversational style” (i.e. not reading from notes). For them (and for everybody!), this is a sign of intelligence, competency, of being well informed, knowing your subject, and of having ideas and convictions! These hopes and expectations are too enthusiastic! And the mountain that must be shifted is enormous; the temptations to go down the beaten path are plenty; the problems that must be solved, as well as the obstacles already objectively pointed out, are countless! I was at the Conservatory. Listened to the renowned Spivakov. Bach. It really does impress, only the faces in the choir are all—one sillier than the next, this hinders the listening. But the music made me tremble. I forgot that this was Spivakov and his renowned orchestra, and such. Probably this is the great level of the performance of the greats—when you forget who is playing. The oboe was magnificent, by the way, a very handsome young man...

March 21st, 1985. The following is rumored as the explanation for why Gromyko presented Gorbachev at the Plenum. When Andropov died and the PB convened to elect the

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successor, Ustinov29 was presiding. The story is that he and Gromyko had previously agreed to advance Gorbachev’s candidacy, but as soon as the meeting began, Tikhonov asked for the floor, “for an introduction,” and said: “I propose Konstantin Ustinovich Chernenko!” The others, so as not to appear divided, agreed... But this time they had tried to “circumvent” Tikhonov. It is said that Gorbachev prohibited putting up his portraits (in place of Chernenko’s). He declined to greet a convention of the Friendship Societies in Vienna, somebody from the Council of Ministers was sent. “The resolutions of the March Plenum” rather than “directives of the General Secretary” are discussed in the press and at the obkom Plenums. He conducted the first session of the Secretariat after the General Secretary election himself. Gave a speech—mainly against showiness, bureaucracy, and meetings: we have to do our work, especially since February had no rise in production and the yearly plan (of the five-year-plan) is stalled again. From Chernenko’s assistants, he kept Aleksandrov and Sharapov: the first because he is indispensable at his post, and the second most likely because he is part of the Andropov legacy, and M.S. is honoring that. Pechenev was dismissed “with a fuss:” he was given the position of deputy editor of the journal Political Self-Education. Obviously, not only because M.S. has no plans to pose as another Marx or Engels, and does not need theoreticians like “curly [Pechenev].” But probably also for other reasons, he [Pechenev] most likely overdid things, it seems that way—he made himself out to be “a little Napoleon.” First, assistant-coordinator Pribytkov was delegated as a deputy to the Glavlit. It is understandable: Gorbachev was not in any way indebted to Chernenko, and he has his own assistant-coordinator—Lushchikov. Vol’sky was returned to the
29

Dmitry Fedorovich Ustinov—Member of the CC CPSU Politburo, USSR Defense Minister, 1976-1984

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position of first deputy of the Heavy Industry Department, from where he had once been taken by Andropov. It was decided to return the date of the Congress to its regular date as indicated in the Charter—February 1986, in order to collect the harvest and finish up the plan rather than give speeches at conferences at the end of the current year. There are rumors that the domestic (economic) sections of the new Program draft have already been returned for alterations: “so that we do not have propaganda presentation of what has already been said by Brezhnev and Chernenko about improvements” of everything possible, but propose real sweeping reforms. Can it really be so?! It’s so good, that I find it hard to believe... even under Gorbachev! Ponomarev is in good spirits. It seems that Gorbachev was kind to him out of politeness. And his sacred wish—to become a Politburo member—has once again shown signs of life. He is really giving out (as they say—before your eyes), especially his memory, which has always been excellent. Now he confuses everything with everything. Yesterday he called me over pretty late. Asked me to “think” by morning, give him a speech for the PB, where the plan was to discuss the results of Gorbachev’s meetings with foreign leaders. I composed three pages, but, considering the Gorbachev atmosphere, without the sighs and the epithets. I do not know what he really said there today, but it is unlikely that he took my suggestions. I am very worried that the routine of international affairs will take hold of Gorbachev; and in the eyes of the people, who are tired of the window-dressing, and in the eyes of the world community, his image would begin to wear away, the hopes would tumble.

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And, remembering what happened in Andropov’s first months, it is especially important not to delay with the key changes of staff... and to definitively show that he is prepared to introduce proper order a la [sic] Andropov, whom the people remembered primarily in this quality.

March 23rd, 1985. All day long I have been editing the chapters about the ICM for the VIII volume. It’s going slowly. The “Western” sections are written by synthetic minds like Galkin, Diligensky, and some young ones. But the sections on socialism are turning out badly, since here every Ceausescu is high science, but specialists such as Ambartsumov are among the revisionists. Nevertheless, the twenty-ninth is the final deadline for submission to the printing-house. Ponomarev, the chief editor, of course will not read the volume either before or after it comes out. He will only read the paragraphs that the orthodox pensioners or fraternal parties will read and protest... What can one do? However, I think that the text we created is the maximum of what is not embarrassing to publish (for a thinking and informed person) in 1985. B.N. told me yesterday that on Thursday at the PB it was decided to conduct the Congress “according to the Charter.” Chernenko’s idea to create two documents—a written report about the CC and a political report for the Congress—has also been revoked. There was a preliminary notice that the draft of the Program will require substantial additional work. And the draft will not be “handed out” for a pre-Congress discussion at the April Plenum.

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Gorbachev called me yesterday morning and asked me for information about the Sorsa group (the committee of the Socialist International on disarmament), whom he was supposed to receive in an hour. Turned out I was in low water, because I had not been present at Ponomarev’s meeting with that group, and did not even know who else of our people had been there. He spoke with me without a trace of “friendliness” that distinguished our rare previous contacts. Maybe he did this on purpose, so I would not begin “to take liberties” on these grounds. He spoke coldly, overbearingly, condescendingly. I found Shaposhnikov, who was supposed to be well informed about this, asked him whether he had spoken with Gorbachev. From his first words I gathered that he was wasted, too drunk to make sense. He must have spent the night drinking with his Finnish “friend” Sorsa. I do not know whether Gorbachev noticed this... but it turned out that he gave detailed information to Aleksandrov, not Gorbachev. In the evening, Aleksandrov told me that at the reception Gorbachev “successfully improvised” and made a great impression on the Social Democrats.

March 30th, 1985. There are rumors going around Moscow that the General Secretary election at the PB was “not without a fight.” I heard about this from Gililov (he is at the Lenin School and has many acquaintances among the “formers” in the nomenclature and of the resentful). Brutents also told me about this—during the entire time he was at Barvikha and talked with different obkom workers, including first secretaries. There does not seem to be such talk in our department. So: it is said that there “was an opinion” that Tikhonov

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should be made General Secretary, and Shcherbitsky should take Tikhonov’s place. Grishin and Kunaev supported this idea. Thus, if Shcherbitsky (who, of course, wanted to be Prime Minister) had made it back from the USA in time for the deciding PB meeting, the scales would have been... etc. Nevertheless, every cloud has a silver lining. If all of this really took place in some form, then the position of the current General Secretary is much stronger than it was, for example, with Andropov. In that situation, there was a trio that held him under its thumb: Chernenko, Tikhonov, and Ustinov. Now there is none of that: Gromyko pronounced before the whole world at the Plenum, that he has no claims. Thus, Tikhonov is written off. Kunaev and Shcherbitsky are not even in Moscow. So Gorbachev can act much more (almost absolutely) confidently and decisively, which is exactly what he is doing. He has cleaned up his personal staff, by reducing it by a third. He eliminated two sections of the CC; liquidated the proliferated committees in the Politburo: on China, Afghanistan, the Near East, counterpropaganda, Poland, and others, I cannot even remember them all. He brought back the Andropov schedule for himself—works on Saturdays. He already gives assignments to Gromyko, and not simply a scrap of paper with his signature: he writes notes, explaining how he sees the question at hand. Time and again, when international policies are discussed, he includes Ponomarev along with Gromyko in his orders... I think it is not because he values Ponomarev so much, but so that they know at the MFA that there is the Central Committee and that it also deals with foreign affairs. Yesterday Ponomarev finally discussed “the situation in the Communist Party of Finland,” which he had been planning to do for a long time. Actually, I had reminded him

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by reading a telegram about the outcome of their extraordinary Congress. The following people were assembled: the deputies, plus Balmashnov, Kutsoban, Zhilin, and Fedorov, a reviewing consultant on Finland. Shaposhnikov made a report. It was some kind of pitiful medley, including some totally irrelevant information, for example: that we can get support from the business circles for the overthrow of Aalto (General Secretary of the SKP), and so on. His “intellectual poverty,” as well as the disintegration of his person owing to alcohol, was brilliantly demonstrated. I took the podium right after him and made a devastating speech, the essence of which was: if in the past fifteen years “the CPSU has been consistently and firmly following the line based on principle toward the SKP,” but the state of affairs has grown worse through the years and is now coming to a virtual schism, so it is time we look at this line—how sound it is, and to what extent it is based on principle. And why do we have such a double standard: with the “Eurocommunists” we’ve found a modus vivendi [sic] and overlook [their] outrageous behavior, including blatant anti-Sovietism, of which there is not even a trace in the Finnish CP; but for the SKP’s little sins, which indicate a deviation from Lenin’s orthodoxy, we are heading for an overthrow of the party’s official leader? We are stirring up Sinisalo against him, in essence encouraging factionalism. For years, we have been told that Aalto was anti-Soviet and almost a CIA agent; but [where are] facts, quotes— there is not one, not once. No one can present even one anti-soviet statement comparable to what has been said by our best friend Marchais, as well as Berlinguer, Carrilio, the Japanese, etc. And in general, what are we afraid of? There are plenty of all kinds of “historical compromises,” “third ways,” “self-governing socialisms,” and such, in other (and many other) Parties with whom we are friendly. They say: Aalto will lead the party

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away... Where? To anti-Soviet positions? What is he, an idiot, a madman? In Finland, with its Social Democratic government, president, bourgeois parties, who are in favor of friendship with the USSR; with the people who get a direct benefit from proximity to the Soviet Union, in such a country it is impossible to have an anti-Soviet Communist Party. And whatever Aalto has in his soul (and we have done everything to make him our enemy), he is no fool and knows that if he declares himself as anti-Soviet, he would sign his death warrant as the party leader. Yes, Saarinen could not withstand the test of our unmannerly interference; he betrayed the confidence of the CPSU-SKP relations. But there was an interference, and in what a rude, almost Gauleiter-like interference. And the whole world knows about it. Fraternal parties (including socialist countries) are looking sideways and chuckling, watching our “operations” toward an even more fraternal SKP. I reminded [the people at the meeting] of the delegation headed by Romanov, who went to Finland last spring. Read, I said, the memorandum you prepared for him, which he, judging by the consequences, delivered there. I was horrified. Not one, even the most insignificant, party, like “my” Maltese or Irish parties, would tolerate being addressed in such a tone. But the Finns grumble and sometimes snap at us, but tolerate it. If we had tried such a tone with the Italians, Japanese, or the French, they would have raised hell about it. I proposed the following conclusion: we must change our course of action, the bet on Sinisalo & Co. has exhausted itself, we should try to restore the trust of SKP leadership, to set up friendly, equal relations.

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Later in the evening, when I stopped by B.N., the discussion about the Finns was brought up and I got worked up again, saying: “Either we save the party and our prestige, or we save two friends—Fedorov and Smirnov (reviewing consultants on Finland). We must end the setup through which they have for fifteen years monopolized information about the SKP and the evaluation of its position, thereby virtually controlling our line of action. It has come to the point where Shaposhnikov was not uncomfortable about reading the Ambassador’s telegram on the outcomes of the SKP Congress to us, which was practically written by Fedorov before the Congress, even before he was sent to Finland. And this paper has been enciphered and went through the higher levels; it is now a political document. This is the kind of information we’ve been feeding to the PB for fifteen years, and we are ready to believe it ourselves!” B.N. shook his head. At the deputies meeting I was supported by Zagladin, but in a roundabout way, with curtseys to Vitaliy (Shaposhnikov). Brutents supported me, but also with equivoques and reservations. Then he came to my office and said: “Tolya, that was bravely done! I just exchanged thoughts with Vadim Zagladin. He says, Tolya spoke with fortitude, etc.” Kovalenko (one of the deputies) spoke against me, but displayed such ignorance in this subject that even Ponomarev laughed about it. Zhilin kept quiet. Kutsobin supported me indirectly, with one remark (later he called me and said that he agrees with me absolutely, but he felt uncomfortable saying anything because he is a specialist on India, like Kovalenko is on Japan). Shaposhnikov, of course, was infuriated, but he had nothing to say; and even if he does [have something to say], he really does not know how to. Concluding the meeting, B.N. did not rebuff me, but neither did he support me. On the other hand, he did not support Shaposhnikov either. [Ponomarev] assigned him to

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prepare “proposals for steps to be taken” for the PB. It seems that it will come down to what it had been. However, I suspect that under Gorbachev, if he gets around to it, it will not continue this way for long; especially since Solomentsev, who was at Finns’ Congress about a year and a half ago, expressed that he “could not understand and had doubts” about the way we are conducting our affairs there.

April 2nd, 1985. The Western press is brimming with reports on the resumption (after Andropov) of the purging of the state-party apparatus of corruption, bribery, favoritism, venality, etc. It is true that many people are being removed, judging by the records from the Secretariat and the PB CC. However, in the resolutions there is rarely a mention of the fact that it is for abuse of power and such sins. Mostly the [stated] reason is—retirement. There was another session of the CC Secretariat. Gorbachev was leading it again. He does not want to hand over this role to Romanov. And he is probably preparing Ligachev and Dolgikh for PB membership. You can judge by their boldness and activity that, together with the General Secretary, right now they comprise the core triangle in party leadership. Brutents told me about his conversation with B.N. Said that he advised him to go straight to the General Secretary with the issue of the style of our relations with developing countries and fraternal parties. We cannot, he says, keep holding them on pauper’s rations. Karen supposedly said that each step of Marshall Sokolov costs us hundreds of times more than all our aid to the ICM. And we should start seriously working on the Middle East before the Americans push us out of there.

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I don’t know whether he was as colorfully frank with B.N. as he told me...

April 3rd, 1985. I am busy with the delegation of American senators, headed by Cohen. Nobody wants to receive them. All these democratic games are not for us, and we do not have the people for it. Yesterday, the Congress passed a resolution to increase the exchange of delegations and parliamentarians. Their every congressman is good for the job, but out of our entire Supreme Soviet we have, God willing, a dozen. Not to mention that their senators and congressmen have real influence on politics, but the people here merely applaud, and only some are capable of “explaining” our politics and of upholding a position in a debate.

April 4th, 1985. I was told the following today: that the CC and Pravda receive literally a torrent of letters about Afghanistan, mostly from regions of Russia and from Siberia. Unlike before, there are very few anonymous anti-Soviet letters. Almost all of them are signed. The main message: why do we need this, and when will it end?! Women are writing, pitying the young men who are dying and suffering mentally there. They are writing that if “this is so necessary,” then send volunteers, at least the commissioned, but not the recruits; because being there and doing what they must do mutilates their souls. Soldiers are writing, sincerely and simply reporting that they do not understand “why we are here.” Officers, and even one General, who signed his name, are writing that they are unable to explain to their soldiers, subordinates, “why they are here;” and that

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only from the outside it can seem that they are “fulfilling the international duty,” but being there it is impossible to believe. There were two letters from the crews of a tank and a helicopter. These are reproaching Pravda for writing untrue accounts: you recently described a battle in which Afghan warriors supposedly fought heroically, they say, but in reality—“we were the ones fighting and everything was completely different [from your report].” Later we discussed this for a long time with Karen. He thinks that three people: Sokolov, Gromyko, and Chebrikov, must present the General Secretary with statistical calculations: what this war is costing us, and what the prospects are. It is obvious that there are no alternatives. We must pull out. I objected: no one from that group will come forward with this voluntarily. There must be a resolute decision. The General Secretary assigned them to produce considerations “about the consequences, pluses and minuses” of our retreat, and in any came to make the decision to—withdraw! Gorbachev should not delay this. I cannot imagine people in the USSR, who would be against it. Such an action would provide him with a moral and political platform, from which he could later move mountains. It would be equivalent to Khrushchev’s anti-Stalinist report at the XX Congress. Not to mention the benefits the withdrawal would give us in foreign policy. [There was] a wonderful conversation between Gorbachev and Raul Castro. I read the transcript. In all the important fields, “his” approach is one of freshness of understanding, broad and lively thought unrestrained by any cliché or dogma, real

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political realism... including in relation to Natta, the PCI, i.e. the ICM, and the Chinese. But alas! argued about Afghanistan—“we will not abandon our brothers in need” (??!)

April 6th, 1985. On Thursday the PB again discussed alcoholism. Solomentsev was reporting. Nine million [people incapacitated with alcohol] have been collected on the streets. A million and a half are in compulsory treatment. Women constitute over a third of drunkards and alcoholics. Youth [constitute]—a half [of alcoholics]. But in the tsarist Russia, there were practically no women alcoholics, and no youth alcoholism. By the amount of alcohol consumed per capita, we have surpassed the pre-revolutionary Russia by two-and-a-half times. The straight loss is thirty billion rubles per year, and if we count the indirect consequences, then it is all of eighty billion [For example, the personnel of the sobering-up stations alone numbers at 75,000 people. But nothing is achieved by their work]. Meanwhile, the profit from the sales of vodka is five billion [rubles]. Gorbachev said that we are not talking only about the major social problem of the present, but also about the biological state of our people, about the people’s genetic future. And if we do not solve this problem, communism will be out of the question. When Dementsov (deputy of the State Planning Committee) tried to “ask” for the vodka revenue clauses not to be repealed immediately, saying that it would be difficult to cover for it, Gorbachev derided him: you want to ride into communism on vodka! Measures have been planned out: the manufacture of “bormotukha cheap fruit liquor]” is to be completely abolished; the amount vodka produced is to be sharply reduced; the fines for home-distilled vodka will be not one or two hundred rubles, but one

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thousand rubles on first incident. All the subsidiary restaurants by the raikoms [regional committee] and obkoms are to be liquidated—for the leadership. Banquets are to be prohibited for many occasions. The punishment for coming to work inebriated for leaders at all levels should be an immediate and relentless dismissal, up to the expulsion from the Party. And all such cases are to be published in the press. However, many at the PB (the question was discussed for two hours) reminded each other, that in 1973 a no less stern resolution was passed. Something was done for a year or two, but then the situation became even worse: the consumption of alcohol has since doubled. By the way, something was said about the CC staff and about the international affairs specialists, who “in the performance of official duty” must engage in this activity. A warning has been made. But what are we to do, when deputy head Shaposhnikov—the Chancellor of the staff!—leads all the department’s drunkards and sets almost daily records, at work as well! In the evening I was unexpectedly summoned to work. Zimyanin did not like something in the document about the visit of the American Senators. I complied. He is a man with striking complexes, even with us, staff-members: all the time two principles are struggling within him—the desire to appear as a democrat (rather than a bureaucrat), and a suspicion whether his opinion is taken as something beyond any doubt. As a result, he always speaks with “a nervousness.” Kosolapov (chief editor of the journal Communist) asked me to read the lead article after the March Plenum and on the threshold of the Lenin days. He attacks

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commodity-money relations. I will object. This is all his orthodox-“creative” fantasies (he is, incidentally, also an adherent of the dictatorship of the proletariat). We shall see how he reacts. It is not the time to shun the New Economic Policy-Leninist approach, we do not have any other way to enter the world-standard level of labor productivity. And, appealing to realism, one must be a realist, [one must] not glance back at the theoreticians, who by their own ideological nature cannot stop being scholastic propagandists.

April 7th, 1985. For some reason, I remembered that B.N. referred to me [my report] at the deputies’ conference, when he was telling about the PB meeting, at which the outcomes of Gorbachev’s mid-March meetings with foreign leaders were discussed. But he mentioned only that I had given him a comment by Okketto (one of the leaders of the Italian Communist Party), saying that never since the war has the USSR been regarded so favorably as now, in connection with Gorbachev’s election. I am curious, what did in general B.N. used from my four-page draft for the talks with Okketto. For example, that the most important aspect in foreign relations for us right now is work in the West European direction. By the way, in his conversation with Raul Castro, Gorbachev strongly emphasized this thought. Understandably, this is not because B.N. “prompted” him; he adopted this thought as a result of his December visit to England. But... B.N. could have “hit the current.” However, he does not feel the realities of politics. Unlike M.S., he is too weighed down with the old clichés and dogmas, dating almost from the times of Stalin.

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April 11th, 1985. Makaluso’s address (through Kiesa) to Gorbachev: our (L’Unita) Beijing correspondent spoke about you with Xu Yaobin, we published this. Would you like to do the same? Gorbachev (through Aleksandrov) passed Makaluso’s answer to me: I wouldn’t like to, but what I said earlier about striving to improve Soviet-Chinese relations remains valid and we will undeviatingly continue [towards this goal]. My attempt to prevent the release of Rakhmanin’s publication of the “interkit”30 (conducted still under Chernenko) in the inner-party report was unsuccessful. Aleksandrov, saying “ask for something simpler,” suggested warning Rusakov (that in tendency and tone such a publication differs from what has been publicly announced by the new General Secretary). It turned out Rusakov was out sick. I called Rakhmanin. He objected, saying that he does not see the “difference” and is not inclined to withdraw the material. I replied: my duty is to warn; you are the one who will be responsible for it... I was at Arbatov’s. He said that he still associates with Gorbachev often: writes notes, sometimes calls. [He says that] in the past two weeks he has “given him forty-one pages...” Saying that we need to show Americans more often that we will manage without them, but with Western Europe. And saying that [Gorbachev] should not appear too frequently with public announcements and initiatives—not to fall into the tracks of Brezhnev-Chernenko. And saying that we need to make up with the Chinese more

30

Interkit [is a compilation of] yearly collected meetings of the Warsaw pact Communist Parties CC International Departments’ deputy heads (without the Romanians).

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energetically. And—that we should give two, if not all four, islands to the Japanese, because otherwise we will not get anywhere with them. And—that we must cease with Afghanistan (supposedly Gorbachev replied that he is “thinking it over.”) And—that we must, finally, stop treating socialist counties as satellites, and must set our relations on truly equal terms. And saying that we must give the collective farms open access to the market, and about much else. For some reason, Arbatov believes that Gromyko will soon become chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet; and that Katushev, for example, should be made Minister, and by no means Kornienko. [Arbatov claims that] supposedly he, Arbatov, prompted the idea of Gorbachev’s meeting with the “captains” of our industry and agriculture; not with five thousand of them at the Hall of Congresses, but with only about twenty of the most able and brave people, from whom one can obtain useful information. And that was how it was done. At today’s PB Gorbachev spoke very frankly about the sowing and storage of agricultural produce, as well as about order in the trading system. He concluded by promising the Ministers to take away their “feeding-place” (a special eatery on Granovskogo street), which hinders their witnessing (with the help of their wives) the real state of affairs in the supply and quality of produce. He took away his assistants’ “Chaikas,” and returned them to “Volgas.” And, people are saying, a similar fate will befall the first deputy heads of the CC departments.

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Ambartsumov came to visit me. We have not seen each other, I believe, since that “incident.”31 He brought a letter addressed to Gorbachev, in which he hints at Bugaev’s (deputy chief editor of the Communist) incompetence and not being up to date. But he also virtually complains about Zimyanin. It is brilliant and irrefutable. I advised him to change the addressee, since Gorbachev will not deal with this, but Zimyanin will be vengeful. [I advised him] to send the letter either to Zimyanin himself, or to Kosolapov, who will show it to Bugaev: let him be furious for a while. Ambartsumov is composed, says that he does not regret anything (neither do I); that Trukhanovsky lost courage, and if he had not “stripped” and repented, perhaps he would have been made an academician.32 Now it is too late for him; it is obvious (i.e. after Gorbachev’s election) that he did a foolish thing, but it is too late. Ponomarev called from the Crimea. Regrets that he is away: “such developments!” What are those?.. A joint Plenum of creative unions, to which everyone, led by Gorbachev, showed up, and he, Ponomarev, was not there! And that is the extent of his concern about the affair. Also... he is again raising the subject of a conference with Communist Parties invited for the 40th anniversary of Victory Day. He bade me to compose a telegram! It is ludicrous. On the other hand, it is somehow awkward to stick his nose into this vain folly—after all, he is going on eighty-one! Yesterday I sent him a memo regarding a document for the CC about the situation with the CP in Finland, and what we should do. The memo turned out even a bit rough: I
About three years ago in Italy he lost his passport for traveling abroad, I had to rescue him... and his Party membership card 32 we are discussing Ambartsumov’s article, where he proposed returning to the NEP [new economic policy]. He presented the article to the journal Questions of History, where I was a member of the editing staff and turned out to be the only one arguing for its publication.
31

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repeated everything that I said at the aforementioned deputies’ conference at Ponomarev’s. I concluded with the following words: we cannot allow the friendly attachments between Shaposhnikov, Fedorov, and Smirnov and their Finnish wards to be placed above the demands of real politics. And, finally, we should not be behaving in a way that will result in having us (the International Department) “set straight;” and under Gorbachev that will be inevitable, and soon. B.N. called today, but not a word about this memo. But, it is possible that he has not received it. Balmashnov could have opened my envelope and secreted the note “until Shaposhnikov’s return,” to whom he will show it. He is capable of it—this little Judas Golovlev at the post of assistant to the CC CPSU Secretary! At the PB meeting on April 11th Gorbachev announced the following statistics: In the processing of goods, 50-60% of the work is done by manual labor. The productivity of labor in the processing of agricultural produce is two and a half times lower than in the capitalist countries. 1300 milk, cheese-making, and butter production factories, 200 meat processing and packing plants, 103 canneries, 60 starch-treacle factories have been built without refuse clean-up cycle. As a result, there is enormous damage to the environment. The weakest part [of produce processing] is storage. The existing storehouses for fruit, vegetables, and potatoes provide for 26% of the needed volume; and even those do not meet today’s standards.

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Out of the 11.2 million storage tanks, only one third has cooling systems and only 19% have ventilation systems. In the sugar industry, only 20% of beets are kept in appropriate storehouses. Many regions do not have enough grain elevators. 140 meat processing and packaging plants do not have refrigerators, 42% are in pressing need of major repairs. The demand for up-to-date machinery in the processing of agricultural produce is met only at 55%. As a result of the abovementioned conditions, the losses of agricultural raw materials reach up to 25%. In trade alone, in storage and transport daily losses amount to: 1 million tons of potatoes, around 1,300,000 of tons vegetables, 3-4 million tons of sugar beets. 100,000 tons of meat is lost in the preparation and transport of cattle. 8,000,000 tons of milk is fed to calves; 18,000,000 tons of skimmed milk and 6,500,000 tons of whey are used as cattle feed. Up to 1,000,000 tons of fish spoils due to insufficient capacity in processing. The food industry’s demand for up-to-date packaging methods is covered at 50%. In industrial packaging it is 30%, and for fruit and vegetables only 10%. The lack of packaging leads to the spoiling of fruits and vegetables and to enormous losses.

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Gorbachev concluded by saying that if workers of the co-operatives had a sufficient number of high-grade transportation vehicles, they would increase the purchase of produce from the population by 15-20%, i.e. by 1.5 billion rubles. April 12th, 1985. I read the transcript of Gorbachev’s conversation with congressman O’Neal and his delegation. Brilliant. The conversation was vivid, potent, lively, and confident, with competency and conviction, and, as the Italians said in the old times and say still—a dialectical mind. And [Gorbachev has a] composed, cheerful (Nietzsche-style) ability to maintain the reputation of a great nation. He stupefied the Americans. Their replies to his arguments were childish prattle. Afterwards, in a talk with his journalists, O’Neal said that this is a man of talent and sincerity, a statesman on a world scale. There is an article by Z. Dumange, a French landowner, multimillionaire, communist, about “his friend Mikhail!” Zagladin translated it and, it seems, sent it to the “object” of the enthusiasm. Forty Jews from the USA and a New York rabbi, who was once saved by our forces from a Hitler concentration camp, would like to come to Moscow for the 40th Victory anniversary. It is interesting, what the USFS [union of soviet friendship societies with foreign countries] will think of it. Two Jews from emissary Bronfman (president of VEK, a billionaire) are coming to Moscow and will have talks with our different committees. I called Bobkov (deputy chairman of the KGB), he is fine about it; but Arbatov is demanding orders from the CC

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to have talks with them... he is worried about being sullied by giving the “Jewish” preference. Today I read a great deal on Gorbachev’s emergence in world politics, specifically, a transcript of a discussion between Sorsa committee (Social Democrats) and our delegation (Arbatov, Chervov, Primakov, and others). How much intellect and artfulness is put into this. But behind the scenes (and from the Social Democrats’ side even in the open) there is always a perplexed voice saying: what is going on is madness—the politicians of world powers and their allies are doing everything to ultimately, and in the near future, bring mankind to an end. Meanwhile, “you and I,” and the major politicians themselves, are all talking, talking, talking, convincing and believing each other (!) that we are for peace, for saving the world from nuclear war. April 16th, 1985. There is nothing interesting at work. Together with Zagladin we received two Dutch Social Democrats. Nice guys, tactful. But their main idea was: what would it be for you (the USSR) not to increase the number of SS-20 over 372? Then our government will not allow the Americans to install cruisers [cruise missiles]. In the military sense it is a trifle for you, but the political consequences for all of NATO are innumerable. Really, what would it be for us?! Why do we need these SS-20s, aimed at Western Europe?! Their installation was as foolish as Khrushchev’s missiles in Cuba in 1962.

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B.N. returned from his vacation, called together a deputies’ meeting. Told us about the Bulgarians’ resentful reaction to our announcement that we will no longer give them half a billion in “credit” for the development of vegetable-growing (in reality they used it inappropriately). Zhivkov is raging and has already nearly doubled the prices on exported fruits and vegetables. April 18th, 1985. Early in the morning, people from the MFA sent me a draft of Gorbachev’s message for the “meeting (of veterans) at Elba”—our and American veterans. He made a note: “No comment!” but asked Kovalev33 to nevertheless run it by me. As it turned out, if it had been sent as it was, there would have been protest from the Romanians, the Greeks, not to mention the communist parties—our friends who were not mentioned at all. Yesterday Mikhail Sergeevich was in a proletarian area, at the Likhachev factory, in a school, a hospital, a store, in the apartment of a young family—he interacted with the masses. But they say that “Potemkin villages” were already arranged (beforehand). There was a two-hour-long discussion at the PB today, as a result of Gorbachev’s meeting with industrial and agricultural specialists (there was a thorough account of the meeting in Pravda). Tikhonov showed some displeasure, saying that this impromptu disrupts everything that had been calculated for the plan of development up to the year 2000. However, Gorbachev politely deflected the reproach, and told the Ministers to “take into account” what had been said.
33

Anatoly Kovalev—First Deputy Foreign Minister of the USSR, Head of the First European Department

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April 21st, 1985. I read about August Stindberg [sic] [Strindberg] in Block. I became curious, took two of his plays from the CC library (“Field of Ashes” and “Miss Julie”—with his own extensive foreword on the essence of his contemporary theater). I read it. Excellent mastery of dramatic composition, it is effective despite the absolutely foreign and in general absurd for today’s reader material (the plot). It appears that all the VakhtangovMeyerkhold, the Tairov and such innovators of modern theater go back to his [Strindberg’s] “theory” and practice. However, all our Zakharovs, Lubimovs, possibly, don’t have a clue about this. Who knows about Stindberg [sic] nowadays? He was never even published in the Soviet times. For me, this reading was a flashback to one of the plaintively romantic moments of my youth, when I read Ibsen, Hamsun, Hauptmann, Kellermann. There was a strong air of them in Stindberg [sic]. April 23rd, 1985. There was a CC Plenum: preparation for the Congress. Gorbachev was relaxed, confident, reserved, and sometimes made remarks. He spoke to the Plenum without constant reliance on a piece of paper. The subject was organizational issues. This time no one had any idea what would happen. I met Arbatov and Bovin at the Savior Tower. Naturally, they asked me if I know anything. I did not, but speculated that Ligachev and Dolgikh would become PB

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members. Arbatov added Chebrikov, but rejected Dolgikh: saying that he is on very bad terms with Gorbachev, something came between them under Chernenko. At the session Gorbachev took a notepad out of his pocket and proposed all at once: [promote] to the PB—Ligachev, Ryzhkov (!), Chebrikov; to candidate members— Marshal Sokolov; and RSFSR Minister of Agriculture Nikonov--as the Agricultural [Department] Secretary! After the election, he asked the new PB members to come to the Presidium; he called up Ligachev and seated him close to himself, at the chairman’s place, and Ligachev conducted the entire Plenum. It is clear to everyone that he [Ligachev] will conduct the Secretariat as well. And this is a month and a half since Chernenko’s death— Gorbachev did not allow Romanov to conduct the Secretariat, but conducted it himself! (Why could Romanov have a claim at this post? Because he is the only one in the Secretariat, except for M.S., who is both in the PB and a CC Secretary) Now he [Gorbachev] has an absolute superiority in the PB, with three quite loyal friends “against” (if they have the courage to do it) possible opponents: Tikhonov, Kunaev, Shcherbitsky, Romanov, Grishin. Gorbachev’s report was energetic on domestic policy, though with the same main ideas as at the March Plenum. But on foreign policy it was flat, ordinary, a standard report. Either he does not want to divert his attention to this “material” right now, or, (which would be worse) he has given everything over to Gromyko again. Arbatov, who was sitting next to me, was grumbling, saying: he did not accept anything from what “I submitted to him (upon his request).” 76

His “train of thought” can be seen from the report and from his remarks during the discussion: order (in the factories, stores, on the street, in the administration—in the widest sense of the word) and independence. In this last aspect he greatly supported the Estonian Secretary Vaino and Shevardnadze. Independence, willingness to take risks, resolution of problems on the spot, a kind of “autonomy” in the realization of strategy, a deep adaptation of the strategy for (local) resources and conditions. In the address before the discussion, he said that the discussion should not be rushed through, that the potential (and experience) of “our body”—the Plenum—should unfold and exhibit the work and example of the highest party organ, etc. But alas! The discussion did not rise to his expectations, even though afterward, in the conclusion (not prepared by the staff, rather read from the notes in his notepad) he said in the beginning: “the discussion was heading in the right direction and we should develop this style, this nature of Plenum work.” The first speeches, by Shcherbitsky and especially Grishin, demonstrated utter inability to adjust to this new style. These were models of general phrases, empty words, which Grishin had himself condemned in vain. But, it seems, Gorbachev is inclined to tolerate this jerk, inveterate courtier and ass kisser, who is hated and despised by all of Moscow at the helm of Moscow. However, there was no glorification of the General Secretary, even though everybody still rose and applauded when the Politburo went up to the Presidium... Even after the intermission. However, Gorbachev quickly “intercepted” [the applause] by resolutely sitting down. 77

The clever, smart, and talented Shevarnadze managed it after all: he said that for a long time there has not been such a reaction in the world to the events in the USSR, as there was to the Gorbachev election. He quoted The Washington Post with praise addressed at the “new Soviet leader,” with an addition, saying: “for us, capitalists, this is only for the worse!” Shevarnadze added his own comment: they are afraid of “the joining of socialism and strong leadership.” And, apologizing, he specified: “I know that Mikhail Sergeevich does not like it when people say [praise] about him, but it is not me, the Americans are saying it!” Laughter in the hall. Out of ten speeches, only three or four were more or less in Gorbachev’s style. I do not think that a more or less clear conception has formed in Gorbachev’s mind of how he is going to bring the country to the level of world standards. Only fragments of a methodology can be felt, in particular: order, contractual discipline, fairly perceptible decentralization of administration and planning (which will be restricted only by strategy). Right now he is executing the replacement [of personnel], and he is inclined to do a real clean up of the party (which Shevarnadze openly called for). He is shattering the Brezhnev-era dogmas, conventions, the fetters of showiness, bureaucratic stagnancy, self-conceit, grabbing more than one deserves. In a word, he is breaking the norms of the monarchical restoration, which had so harmed the economy and morale under Brezhnev, and which had almost been revived under Chernenko. (By the way, during the five hours of the Plenum Chernenko’s name had not been uttered once, as if he never existed!) April 27th, 1985. 78

There was a party meeting yesterday, on the preparation for work with foreign delegations at the Victory Day celebrations. Up to ten delegations are coming. Shaposhnikov is reporting. He is quite pathetic after all. And he could not restrain himself from indirectly offending me, saying: in England (which I am supervising) the 40th anniversary is poorly celebrated. Everybody noticed this and he looked foolish. In front of the hall, where the meeting took place there is a stand of veterans’ photos on display, paired pictures—how one looked during the war, and how one looks now. People say that I’ve changed the least. By the way, from our thirty veterans I had the highest rank during the war—captain. In the morning I received a postcard from Felix (a school friend). [He] congratulates me with the Victory Day, reminisces on how we used to write to each other when I was on the North-West front and he was in Central Asia (he was deported from Moscow under suspicion that he is German, ([his last name is] Ziegel after all!). Yes, I remember that, as well as the fact that I never had a feeling of superiority, or scorn, or resentment (anger) towards my school friends because they were almost all on the home front, and I was in the war. On these “victorious” days I am going through my scant war photographs. They are stirring [my emotions]. I was quite handsome. [I was] an officer even before the Red Army commanders were called officers. And I was not even a full twenty-four by the end of the war. Comrades from the party bureau, who organized the aforementioned photo stand [sic] of the veterans, came by to ask what post I held at the end of the war. I said: 79

“Deputy chief of staff of an infantry regiment. Why do you ask?” “You see, Anatoly Sergeevich, we asked the same question of all the other veterans. We asked Kudachkin (he is a Hero of the Soviet Union) how old he was when, as senior lieutenant, he was in command of a battalion.—I was twenty-one,—he replies. We ask him: ‘Would you entrust a battalion to the command of a present-day twenty-one-year-old young man?’ And he replies: ‘Are you in your right mind?’” Indeed, a strange change in generations [happened] since that time. May 3rd, 1985. Whatever I am doing, whomever I interact with, and whatever I talk about, one thought is present all the time: what am I in the Gorbachev sense? What am I capable of? Would I be professionally useful (in a task), if I were entrusted to conduct it [the task] Gorbachev-style? I am not sure of that. But I want to try, especially as Ponomarev is absolutely not the man for the job; Zagladin would not have the party spirit (courage, honesty, and readiness to take risks); Brutents would have enough intelligence, but not character—the Russian character is needed here... Well, and so forth. It is interesting, what will become of our establishment (the Ponomarev establishment) at the Congress and afterwards? May 5th, 1985. Yesterday I read Reagan’s letter to Gorbachev (a reply to Gorbachev’s letter from March 24th). The text is cheekily and intelligently composed. His team is cynically championing their interests. But that is not the point; the point is that we look weak

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against the background of this letter, because Gorbachev is still going on the path beaten by Gromyko (and he is losing control of foreign policy). We conducted ourselves not in the best way possible with the matter of Nicholson’s murder, and Reagan pinned us down on it. Our involvement with [military] space exploration—the demands for the cessation of it as a condition for productivity in Geneva—was without foresight. And here as well they are nonplussing us. Gorbachev has now become engaged in this demand, and if he is to save Geneva he will have to go back on his (and not Gromyko’s) demand. Reagan also caught us on a ridiculous suggestion about the unacceptability of “two languages” in mutual relations: one for propaganda and another for internal use, for example, in correspondence between the President and the General Secretary. He parries: were you not always for an ideological fight? In a word, it is not coming out very strong... All because here [in foreign affairs] it is even farther from a revolutionary approach than in domestic affairs... from the renunciation of the propagandist approach to politics. Also, the uncertainty about our international capabilities remains. May 6th, 1985. I read the report that Gorbachev will present at the Congressional Hall on May 8th. A very strong text, simply stirring in places and very carefully adjusted from the standpoint of politics as well as the standpoint of taste and style.

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I wrote a memo to Ponomarev: “Very strong text.” He calls me. He, of course, did not like my evaluation, since only he can have “strong texts,” and if they are weaker than somebody’s then the following people are at fault: the consultants, myself, the executors who realized his ideas and observations poorly. I foresaw such a reaction and wrote this on purpose—“for a gloating delight.” Ponomarev was also interested in something else: how Gorbachev’s report will agree with his, B.N.’s, article in Problems of Peace and Socialism, which he pushed with such persistence and feeling self-importance. I reassured him, saying that they do not differ in ideas, but in the structure and the character of the text there are some substantial differences. I wanted to sting him here as well by saying that Gorbachev was more polite with Reagan and American imperialism, that he does not busy himself with predicting an inevitable victory of socialism in the entire world (I had suggested easing or even taking out all of this, but he ignored it). However, if I mentioned this he would have immediately made me “mark” the places that cause doubt. But I had to run to a date, so I kept quiet. May 11th, 1985. [About] meetings with international delegations: the English communists leave an oppressive impression. [They are] indifferent, occupied with their little affairs (to be sure, a truly “trade-union [sic]” mentality, strictly by Lenin). And no matter how I scoffed at Plotnikov all evening at the ceremonial dinner, trying to arouse in them some interest toward us, toward the newness of Gorbachev, even went into excessive self-criticism— their reaction was limp and shockingly primitive.

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On the other hand, the complete opposite was Dennis Healy, the shadow ministerLaborite [sic], an old acquaintance, a major national and international figure. He was looking for contact, conversations; he joked, was sarcastic, took pictures (his hobby) with me, and with Arbatov and Zagladin, and “prepped” us on how to conduct affairs with Reagan in order to achieve something. Towards the end [of the evening] he assured me that the celebration of the 40th [Victory] anniversary (in England, and Europe, and here) is proof of the fact that people can have an impact on their government. After the reception at the Kremlin he went to the Park of Culture, had a good look at our “public character,” was in rapture over his meetings with the most ordinary folk, who came up to him, touched the crosses on his chest (he served in the Navy), questioned him, told him about themselves (Viktor Kubekin was with him, the former advisor in London, from the KGB, a most intelligent fellow, and a handsome man). At the airport, where I came to see him and Priscott (from the leadership of the Great Britain Communist Party) off, I found him writing an article for The Observer about the 40th anniversary in Moscow. I had to say goodbye to both of them at the same time and we sat in the guestroom with some cognac. I delivered all kinds of speeches, tried to joke, to egg them on. Healy spoke in response and towards the end suddenly remembered and blurted out, addressing Priscott, something like this: “I think, that comrade Priscott will not bear me a grudge for speaking for both of us and taking up all the time before the flight (the other nodded his head, with a pitiful and servile smile). Though, I beg your pardon, after the events in your party, which will soon end with the extraordinary Congress, perhaps I will not be able to call you comrade any more, I will have to use “gospodin” (mister!) [sic]”

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Everybody laughed. But this was an excellent move against the CPGB’s descent into anti-sovietism. At the reception I made acquaintance with Sharipo, a laborist [sic] from New Zealand. [She is] a lovely, sweet woman, first time in the USSR. She looks at everything with “charmed” eyes, even though she came from almost the most anticommunist, respectable, bourgeois country. We spoke “protocol-style,” but very nicely. I also tried to “charm” her. At the end of her visit she declared that her most important impression is that the Soviets are just as ordinary and normal people as everyone else. She went to Leningrad, embraced Tereshkova, will pay her a visit, to our other committees. And by the way, she was described to us not only as close to Houk, but also as an ardent Zionist
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(even though she is Sharipo, she is not a Jewess but an Englishwoman). The reception at the Kremlin was chaotic, and for me also a fuss. There were only

two translators for my eleven delegations (and one of them was Kubekin, who was always with Healy). The majority of the accompanying delegations (members of our department) were not allowed to the reception. So, with a wineglass, I had to go from one to another, at intervals running across somebody who was not “my own” (people from Luxembourg, Germans, Filipinos, Italians, not to mention Moscow acquaintances)—and I had to say something “meaningful” to each. But, I think, I did not please everyone, including Winston—a blind African American—the chairman of the CPUSA. And, finally, I was able to celebrate Victory Day with Kol’ka Varlamov, my friend from the front. We talked about Ligachev. When the Academy of Social Sciences

34

Zionism and anti-sovietism were synonymous for me at the time

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offered him an honorarium for a lecture that he read (in the fall) before an audience, he became furious. And he did not leave it “like this”—he forbade giving honoraria to members of the staff, who come there every now and then to give speeches. And he sternly put his wife in her place when she tried to take advantage of his official status. We discussed Gorbachev—I am so enthusiastic about him that I am even willing to forgive him the mentioning of Stalin in the Victory Day speech. However, he should not have done it (I seemed to be the only one in the Kremlin Congressional Hall who was not clapping during the moment of the wildest applause at these words). Gorbachev (one can understand this) gave in to the momentum, to the common mood. He did not want to encourage the grumblers. But he should have defied [them]. [He should have] shown his character, let it be known that Stalin cannot be forgiven for that, which can have no forgiveness (for those twenty million people we lost in the war, especially in 1941). May 15th, 1985. I had a talk with Kashtan (General Secretary of Canada’s Communist Party) the other day; we had lunch at Oktyabr’skaya. The officially assigned P. Smol’sky, whom we recently sent to Canada as the head of a delegation, also tagged along. He is Ligachev’s arrogant deputy in the Party Organization Department and secretary of the party committee of the entire staff. I don’t know about what and how he talked with Kashtan and others in Canada and here in his capacity as assigned by the CC, but this time for the duration of two hours I had to talk alone. I do not mean this as a self-compliment, but, alas, only we, the international specialists, know how to speak with foreigners properly, i.e. how they need to be spoken to (!), even about our particularly internal affairs. But

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there are very few of us, and Ligachev and the Party Organization Department are imposing provincial obkom secretaries on us... it is lucky if it’s a smart one, otherwise... I have seen and endured a great deal from many [of those] in these past twenty years. The Victory Day celebrations went by very well. And overseas as well: Reagan helped that. But the main reason was that we forced the West to react to our conception of the Victory. Reagan went into a counter-attack, and anti-Sovietism led him to the remembrance of the SS. The Western press is beginning to think that Gromyko’s monopoly on foreign policy is continuing. Of course, we should let them feel the continuity, and we should work in Western Europe properly, before we start on Reagan. However, it is dangerous to drag out the Gromyko situation: people could become disillusioned in the capabilities (and intentions) of our new leader. Still, he continues to gain points (in the West as well) regarding the internal affairs. Arbatov informed me today, that “you can congratulate yourself and everyone around: Bogolubov got the boot. Yesterday at the PB Lukyanov was made chief of the General Department of the CC.” Indeed, one can congratulate everyone—the entire apparatus; after the thief, gentry, and swine Pavlov, this one [Bogolubov] was second in rank (and in some places even higher), Brezhnev-Chernenko’s minion and watchdog, a Scrooge... M.S. is doing everything persistently his own way. And he is not losing time, like Andropov did, even though he had much less of it.

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May 17th, 1985. Bogolubov really was dismissed at Wednesday’s PB. And—[he was dismissed] without the customary in such cases “gratitude from the CC” for many years of service (recently for his 75th anniversary he received the Hero), and without setting him with a merit pension. People say that even though his removal was decided a long time ago, i.e. with Gorbachev’s accession, the suddenness is explained by the fact that in connection with the 40th anniversary of Victory Day he obtained for himself an Order of the Patriotic War, in which he did not take part. [He did this] in the same way as a couple of years ago he forced the Academy of Social Sciences and VAK35 confer a doctorate upon him, and earlier—became a recipient of the Lenin and State Awards, the same way he had a car without a license plate, etc. In a word, a swine, who should have been removed a long time ago... So this is another sign of Gorbachev’s cleansing wave... After all, this is the “main” department of the CC. I am working on Latin America’s “debts” and the danger of a currency and financial disaster (Gorbachev’s assignment, which involves the following institutions: the Academy of Sciences, Gosplan, Minfin [the Ministry of Finances], Gosbank [the State Bank], Minvneshtorg [the Ministry of Foreign Trade], and others). May 18th, 1985.

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I forgot to note yesterday that Ligachev assembled all deputy chiefs of the staff. He gave us notice that the resolutions and decrees about alcoholism and hard drinking will be published tomorrow. (It seems we will soon be celebrating the 400th anniversary of the fight against drinking in Russia: begun by Boris Godunov.) He spoke very sternly, saying that twelve years ago we made an attempt, but at the same time we passed a resolution to increase vodka production and turned a blind eye to all kinds of scandalous behavior. “It will not be this way anymore! Will not be! The times have changed... (he paused)—as in all other respects...” We will fire people caught “in this” in twenty-four hours, regardless of either merits, or status (sitting next to me was Shaposhnikov, quite smashed, probably from yesterday’s or last night’s drinking bout). [Ligachev] cited some statistics: 107,000 communists per year end up in soberingup stations, and 370,000 members of the Young Communist League. Since 1950, the consumption of alcohol has quadrupled. Two-thirds of crimes are committed by intoxicated persons. The rise in crime is directly proportional to the rise in the consumption of alcohol. The life expectancy of men has gone down. Future generations are imperiled. The main cause for the rise in alcoholism is the rise in the production of alcoholic beverages (and not the “remnants” of capitalism). Yesterday the orders and resolutions were published. They strike one with their frankness (without fear for “the image of real socialism.”) However, the measures [taken] are not draconic: mostly fines. But what can one get from drinkers? May 20th, 1985.

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The CPGB Congress is over. The “Eurocommunists” won, “our guys” were driven out. Either they are fools, or the [intelligence] agents really made an impact, or they are such vehement anti-Soviets that they have lost common sense. Because under the English conditions there is no space for a social-democratic (anti-Soviet) Communist Party, and especially now, when we’ve begun embracing with Kinnoke and Healy. Their Congress virtually means a self-liquidation course. Formally, its substance is Eurocommunism, but the reality in their situation is something completely different... Particularly when Gorbachev is creating a different image of the Soviet Union as a world power and the fears of the Soviet threat are beginning to dissipate. May 22nd, 1985. I met Sures and his team, plus Nadya Barta, who retired from the post of Kadar’s assistant and interpreter. Right now Sures is Secretary of the CC HSWP (Hungarian Socialist Workers’ Party). We had dinner at the hotel on Dimitrov street, for the first time under the “prohibition.” The Hungarians chuckled about it, and we made excuses; of course there is no toasting, and the conversation drifted to irrelevant topics. It is lucky that they are [our] old friends and we can talk frankly on any subject. They tell us: we were bringing you presents, wine sets as usual, but we decided to drink them ourselves on the plane, “so as not to violate [the new laws]...” Lagutin has returned from the extraordinary Congress in Great Britain. The Eurocommunists have absolutely defeated the faithful, i.e. the people faithful to us. This is a demonstration of the fact that in countries like England there is no need for a 89

Communist Party; the Communist Movement has become obsolete. And the Communists want to modify themselves into something totally new, to cut the umbilical cord, and even if they become a club, at least it should be a club with original ideas; one that is listened to. They do not need us, the CPSU; do not need us at all. They see in us neither a model, nor an example, ideal, brother, trusted friend, not even someone who would save them from a nuclear catastrophe. Alas! Many Communist Parties are on this path. I read the record of B.N.’s conversation with Cervetti. Ponomarev is adjusting to Gorbachev’s approach to the ICM. He is even making excuses about the international Conference: why are you attacking us as if we were insisting on it, he says. Quite the opposite, others are reproaching us for resisting, sabotaging the idea [of the Conference]. And we really could not have insisted on it: look at our circumstances—we’ve lost three General Secretaries, we were preparing for the Victory anniversary, the Congress is just around the corner, do we have time for it?! Turns out that’s how the matters stand! Zagladin told me how B.N. reacted to my protest about the Finnish Communist Party: he told Shaposhnikov off in obscene language, saying that he does not understand anything and is ruining the whole matter. Lagutin told me about how Clark, Kinnock’s assistant, evaluates Maggie Thatcher: no one will bring her down and she is not inclined to turn the power over. Her only possible downfall is that she might not be able to endure it herself. Firstly, she has eye problems, but wants to read everything herself. Secondly, and most importantly, is the psychological stress: morning to night she plays the role of a great political figure with everyone—her friends, enemies, comrades-in-arms, ministers, foreigners, mass

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media [sic], and with herself. This is, of course, terribly difficult. She is devilishly smart, and in fact is a great actress, but she is not on stage, where regular actresses sometimes manage to live long. Clever! People are literally dumbfounded with yesterday’s television broadcast of Gorbachev’s speech in Leningrad. All one hears is: “Did you see it?!..” Finally, we have a leader who knows his subject, who is interested in his work, who through his language can express what he wants to convey to the people, who is not afraid to interact with them, who is truly not afraid to appear insufficiently grand; and he produces the impression of being a person who truly wants to move this load, which is stuck in the mud, to rouse people, to make them be themselves, to act with courage, to take risks, to rely on common sense, to think and to act. There is something of a Lenin-Kirov quality in him, bravery and competency, along with confidence in himself and in people, or, more precisely, in the fact that there are people, who can act the same way as he does. May 23rd, 1985. Yesterday, while I was working with Sures, there was a party meeting at the department. In the morning, with masochistic curiosity, I inquired about how it went. The red-tape artists all praised it (I am an authority figure for them after all). The department heads close to me appreciated some speeches, but were appalled by Ponomarev’s report; everyone else was too. The report was dedicated to results of the year’s work. Brutents described it in detail: it was cud that could have been presented under Brezhnev and Chernenko. There was nothing of the April Plenum, or of the Gorbachev style, or of the new atmosphere, or of the general expectations. It was an hour and a half of dispiriting

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nonsense. The old die-hard is not giving in. His position is: we shall see what comes from this new style. I think he cannot, is not able to, have a realistic look even at himself. And concerning this “time will tell” approach, I think he has too little time left for that. I found a draft report for a theoretical conference on the ICM, which I prepared still under Andropov. It is a very critical and furious text, and it would have caused a shock. I completely forgot about it. It’s too much like an article; it will not work for reading out loud. All of Moscow is cursing Lapin (chairman of the Radio and Television Committee) for not giving notice of Gorbachev’s Leningrad broadcast. This is all people are talking about: hope and cheerfulness have sprung up. May 28th, 1985. All day yesterday I was studying the transcript of the Gromyko-Shultz, Howe, and Genscher talks in Geneva. If one forgets about the initial treachery of the Americans, then the arguments used by Shultz are more convincing to a normal Western person than our persistent repetition of arguments that we do not want to either subjugate, or conquer anyone, and that we do not plan to attack anyone, etc. No one believes these declarations, and the root of the Geneva deadlock is in this. Revolutionary approaches to talks are needed, identical to the one Gorbachev demonstrated in Leningrad. I think since the times of Stalin there hasn’t been such an occurrence: people racing to obtain a copy of a pamphlet with his [Gorbachev’s] speech (one million copies printed). That’s not one of Brezhnev’s or Chernenko’s compositions for you, which lay

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about in all the news-stalls from the moment they were issued until the death of “their authors.” Yes, this is the opening of a truly different stage in Soviet history. Probably something big will come out of it. Gorbachev does not seem to be one of those who stop a quarter of the way through, as it happened with Khrushchev, who became frightened by his own daring. May 30th, 1985. Yesterday morning I had a disgusting conversation with Ponomarev. Either the age is showing, or the narrow-mindedness of a dogmatist it too great, but he does not get it anymore, does not get that he will have to adapt himself to the new style, and in a way like never before: because for the first time in his almost sixty-year-long career, the question is about elimination of Stalinism from everything, not only from work matters but also from views and behavior. I read a transcript of Gorbachev’s meeting with Brandt. Our man appears much stronger. In particular, in the fact that we do not have a problem of seeing the German people as [one] nation. Gorbachev’s handling of the material is strikingly skillful and crafty. Particularly [impressive was] the way he presented the issue of missile installations. I have become proud of the way our new leader represents our country and of the way he appears before such an inveterate world-class politician like Brandt. May 31st, 1985.

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Today Ponomarev was once again slighted, and once again it served him right. In the morning they brought a telegram from Dobrynin: eight hundred scientists, fifty-seven Nobel Prize winners among them, are addressing Gorbachev and Reagan with a petition to ban space weapons. B.N. assigns me to prepare a response draft to the letter. I go over to him and begin to explain that this is not a propaganda measure; that this should be dealt with by the Ministry of Defense and the MFA, because the scientists are proposing to shut down the Krasnoyarsk radar station [RLS]. When I began to insist, B.N. became angry, but I kept on: we cannot associate the lies about Krasnoyarsk (saying that this radar station has nothing to do with anti-missile defense) with the name of our new General Secretary. You, B.N. tells me, believe Arbatov, for whom everything that is here is bad, and everything that is in America is good. He’ll finish badly with that! And I reply to B.N.: then why did Gromyko in Vienna, when Shultz and Howe asked him a direct question about the Krasnoyarsk RLS, avoid this subject as if the words “Krasnoyarsk RSL” were never uttered, as if there was no question. Even Gromyko does not want to connect his name with these lies, which will not stand for long. But for our little B.N., all this is nonsense. The most important thing is to fire one more propaganda shot. I went to my office. And two hours later I was told that Gorbachev assigned Gromyko and Sokolov, not Ponomarev, to take care of this, about which I proceeded— not without an inner gloating—to report to him. Today I read some information about the massive anti-Soviet “displays” in Prague, in connection with a hockey championship and a bicycle race under the slogan “peace-friendship.” And this is against the background of Husak’s recent “friendly visit” to Moscow. One Czech told me about a discussion at the CC CPC [Communist Party of 94

Czechoslovakia] on whether the victorious Czech team should be awarded decorations. Opinions differed, and this is what took place at the stadium: Moscow favorites Bilyak and Lenart (members of the CC CPC Presidium) stood up and walked out when the antiSoviet rioting began, and Premier Strougal went to embrace the Czech players. At the CC Presidium, Husak resolved the question, saying that “in the present case” it was awkward to give awards in front of the Soviet comrades. This is 1968 for us! We will be paying for it for a long time yet!.. If it will ever be possible to revive the atmosphere of 1945, when we were liberators rather than interventionists. June 5th, 1985. Dobrynin is again insisting on Senator La Garza’s visit (he really took a liking to him). But the Supreme Soviet (Kuznetsov, Tolkunov, Vysotin) does not want anyone at all: “We do not need them (i.e. senators, congressmen). Moreover, they are violating reciprocity—they ask for invitations, but do not invite us.” And this is true, too: over there every congressman is at least some kind of politician, but here? Arbatov, Tolkunov, about five others and no more than that. All familiar faces that the Americans are growing tired of. Berkov secretly sent a letter from Ottawa, where he is at a conference for human rights. He is complaining: the MFA people are afraid of the concept itself, they demand to discuss it behind closed doors, and Americans are laughing about it. Zagladin took it

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upon himself to “advance” the complaint through Aleksandrov and Vorotnikov, who was just in Canada as a RSFSR representative. I will follow the developments. June 9th, 1985. After Vorotnikov’s PB report on his trip to Canada, Gorbachev gave orders to finally start working on this matter and raise “our own banner of human rights.” Berkov’s letter also figured in the decision, in the context that our representatives, by hiding from the people at the conference, gave the matter over to the hands of the Americans, who are eagerly proceeding to exploit the theme of human rights. Ponomarev got very angry that Zagladin and I got around him with this letter from Berkov, which went straight into the hands of the “Sparrow,” and from him to the General Secretary. But if we had gone to B.N. with this letter, he would not have dared to mention it, and would have forbidden us to do so. Now I am composing a “realization plan” for Gorbachev’s order. But it turns out that exactly a year ago, on the initiative of the now liquidated PB Committee on Counterpropaganda (Gromyko), there was a CC decision about strengthening our assertiveness in the struggle with the West over human rights. It is the typical empty word composition of: “strengthen,” “increase,” “achieve,” “improve,” “broaden...” Naturally, it was forgotten, but if one asks now, they will be able to report that yes, we’ve strengthened, increased, etc. A document came that was signed at the Gosplan, Minfin, Minvneshtorg, the GKES, etc., about the indebtedness of the third world to imperialism (a form of its

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pillage), Fidel Castro’s idée fixe, which has been taken up by Gorbachev. The matter turned out to be much more serious than material for propaganda and exposure of imperialistic pillage. The developing countries owe us twenty-six billion dollars. Also, the crisis, as everything under the present monopolistic State capitalism nowadays, is not catastrophic, and the West will work with the debtors to find a resolution. If we meddle in this fight we will receive the blows, as is always the case in such instances. I am reading a book about Carlyle. I’ve been interested in him for a long time and more than once; I’ve read some of his works. And now I feel like I am interacting with myself—with myself, as I was when I read him before. I have a similar relationship with Nietzsche. But I cannot do the same with Tolstoy: all the time he turns into something new, something not mastered, and maybe even unnoticed in the past and not understood in youth. It is interesting to now and then read and even look through books on the current social processes in the West, about the STR, unemployment, the changes in the social structure of society—there is very serious literature coming out. And reading these books, whose authors are, as a rule, employees of the IMEMO [World Economy and International Relations Institute], of the IMRD [Institute of the World Labor Movement], you become distressed by the shortcomings of everything here: after all, all this output absolutely does not reach the political tops, has no influence on the forming of politics. Even Ponomarev, whose position requires him to know what is written about the mentioned subjects, has no idea about these works.

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However, we shall see: at least about the matters regarding the STR—the day after tomorrow there will be a conference on this subject at the CC, with a report by Gorbachev. How will our lagging behind be accounted for, and what will be proposed in the case we catch up—how to avoid the consequences (the sharp increase in superfluous people)... Here our socialism will meet with Marx’ Hic rhodus, His salta! [sic] Yesterday I leafed through Byron’s journal again. There is a scale of his personality in every line, even when it’s about a trifle... but maybe it is magic and mythology that force us to perceive each word like that. Nevertheless, his prose, in clarity, precision, and brevity is on the level with Pushkin. I wonder, did Aleksandr Sergeevich read any of Byron’s prose? I took Dez’ka’s (David Samoilov) volumes from the shelf. There are oceans of all kinds of feelings, personal in the first place, but in general too: he is a major poet and could have said meaningful things about our times... if he could?? He is ruining himself by drinking. June 11th, 1985. I am taking much trouble with the project on human rights. Ponomarev did not like the proposition to create a Soviet committee on human rights: “How is that? A committee on rights in the USSR? What, do we infringe on human rights?! No, no, I am against it.”

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I argued with him rather rudely. He irritates [me] more and more with his senile whims and follies. I have not achieved anything, distressed him, upset myself by my tactlessness in relation to the old man. June 15th, 1985. Yesterday I was at the CC Secretariat. For the first time, I saw how Ligachev conducts it. In general, he does it in the Gorbachev style, sharply and sensibly. The questions discussed were as follows: - the laying-in of fodder. Looks like it’s a big mess: because of the terrible spring and once again the lack of skills, indifference, and unwillingness to work. For example, they cut down clover and alfalfa when they are already beginning to wither so the gross output would be higher, but the quality of the fodder decreases by 30%; - about trade. It’s a completely dismal picture. Stores are turning into warehouses and at the same time there are always shortages. It is an antediluvian system. The trouble is in the absence of computer science, computers, and most importantly in that the manufacturer, and not the consumer, prevails. All this was discussed very sharply and with facts by Ryzhkov, Vorotnikov, Dolgikh and Ligachev. We must make a turnaround in trade especially because vodka and wine are being taken off the shelves, and the financial plan is under the danger of not being met; - about the condition of housing and communal services in RSFSR. Very bad. The available housing is becoming obsolete; the poor quality of the new housing

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construction is now costing us billions in major repairs, in accidents in communications, in supplying networks. This has become a regular occurrence; - about the abuse of living space. There was a note from the people’s control committee. Ligachev was at a loss about how to react: for a year and a half we have been dealing severely with people, who were found to be abusing [living space policies], we expel them from the Party, dismiss them from work, but again and again, it’s the same saunas, dacha-palaces at the government’s expense, the same favoritism in apartment distribution, etc., etc. There was another unpleasant conversation with Ponomarev. Velikhov and Arbatov sent a record of a conversation with one well-wishing American from Geneva. He says: you, the USSR, have to put concrete proposals on the table at Geneva. Let them be formulated in terms of renunciation of space weapons, but let them be concrete: the number of such-and-such missiles will be reduced by so much, this kind by so much, this is to be done with submarines, this should be done with this kind of airplane, something else is to be done with other kinds of airplanes, etc. etc. And this, the academicians are writing, is sensible. Because in Geneva we are having “philosophical” discussions that space weapons are bad, and the Americans argue that they are good, we are chewing over ancient joint initiatives, which have already become a topic for propaganda, rather than having a practical discussion among of experts. I tried to join the Arbatov-Velikhov arguments, tried to explain them to Ponomarev. In response he said that I, obviously, do not follow our initiatives. My colleagues, he says, prepared a “summa summarum” (B.N.’s favorite word) of our

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initiatives for my trip to Spain. Have a look at it, he tells me. I told him that I read newspapers, and more than that, I read ciphered communications for the MFA, the GRU,36 and the KGB, I am also familiar with PB resolutions, I’ve read transcripts of the Geneva sessions, and I know by heart our initiatives under Andropov, Chernenko, and Gorbachev. But that is not what we are talking about right now. The question is about the fact that we must stop treading water, as the arms race is about to shoot out of control. My venomous explanations made no impression on him. The essence of the question is of no interest to him at all anymore. Physically, gerontologically [sic], he cannot see into the heart of the matter, he does not have time left for this as his whole nervous system is working towards mere self-preservation in his seat. It seems that the winds of change are quite painful for him. There are rumors about staff changes. It looks like Zamyatin is being sent to Vienna as Ambassador. His CC department (of International Information) is going to disappear altogether. Like a bolt from the blue—Stukalin is removed and will be sent to Budapest as Ambassador. These [people] are all Chernenko’s staff. Sashka Yakovlev— who was returned, not without my help, from Canada, and made director of IMEMO, replacing the deceased Inozemtsev—will take his [Stukalin’s] place in the CC Propaganda Department. In hallways there is talk of what will happen at the nearest Plenum and at the Supreme Soviet session: Gromyko will become Chairman of the Supreme Soviet; Kornienko [will become] Minister of International Affairs; Vasily Vasilievich Kuznetsov

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will retire, his place as first deputy under Gromyko will be taken by Zimyanin; the premier Tikhonov will retire. It is said that Gorbachev will take upon himself the position of representative of the Council of Ministers. It looks like Dobrynin will be returned to Moscow, his place will be taken by Vorontsov from Paris, where he is Ambassador right now; Troyanovsky is assigned to London, to replace Popov. There was a scene by the elevator: in the third entrance of our building there is a special elevator for CC Secretaries, it is next to the regular one. In the morning I was standing [there] waiting for the regular one. Rusakov (deputy of the Socialist Countries Department, a CC Secretary) comes to his elevator and calls me to come with him. We go. The elevator stops, we come out. Suddenly Rusakov puts his arm around my back and says: “Find me a good replacement!” Taken aback, I promise him. Who is in question? Rakhmanin? Shakhnazarov? The always-ill Kiselev? Smirnovsky, who is a nonentity from the start? Yes, I thought, the wind of change is blowing ever stronger around our International Department. On Wednesday I met with Ziegel (a school friend) and his Klava. He was loose, cynical, philosophized peevishly. We got into an argument about why one should believe in God. I tell him: “You are a believer, I am a nonbeliever. What’s the difference if we both seem to be honest men, and nine times out of ten (commandments) we both in general follow Christian morals? Even though I don’t care that it is Christian.” Either he was out of shape, even though we did not drink much, or he is putting on an act— messing around with this religiosity, but he did not give any worthwhile explanation. And it is impossible to convince a normal person about life after death anyway.

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June 16th, 1985. Felix (Ziegel) gave me a picture of our class (The first pilot Gorky school). I do not have this one, maybe it is mislaid somewhere, and maybe I never had one. The year is 1938. In the center [of the picture] is Petrakl (Petr Yakovlevich Dorf, our mathematics instructor, our favorite teacher, who was our friend and taught to just be citizens, without the demagogy and the Stalin cult). I am looking at the photograph and interesting “statistics” come to mind. We are twenty-six people, eight were added to [our class] already in tenth grade, i.e. in 1938, when we were moved to the new building, a standard one, in contrast to the former one, which was built by the renowned architect Zelenko in the Modern style in the beginning of the twentieth century. In her time, my mother went to school there [in that building]. So, until the tenth grade we were eighteen people (the norm in standard schools being thirty-forty). Among the twenty-six, there were thirteen Russians, including one girl with some Polish blood—Natasha Stankevich, the beauty and goddess of our class. The rest were Jewish, some half-Jewish. Such were the times. No one would have thought of making such calculations then. For me, and for everyone, there were no distinctions of who is of what nationality. From the twenty, I think, seven have died already. From the twelve boys no one was killed at the front. And only four of us were at the front: I, Dez’ka Kaufman (now the great poet David Samoilov), Levka Bezymensky, and Natasha Stankevich. There is an exhibition of amateur painters’ works dedicated to the 40th Victory anniversary on the Krymskaya embankment. This was a foolish venture: it ruins people’s 103

taste, lowers standards for professional art. Although some things can be touching... the badly written, but passionate squabbles on the pages of the visitors’ book. The GDR artist Haisan was also there... the continuation of German expressionism of the nineteen-twenties, surrealism. The drawings show a lot of talent and are impressive. In the paintings, there is an excess of one technique. If there were three or four paintings of the kind they would be memorable, but when there is almost a hundred, spare me the trouble: a production line is evident here, which means a trade. The themes: the war, fascism, consequences. June 20th, 1985. Brutents told me a most interesting thing. Yesterday, while waiting together with Kornienko for an hour and a half in the reception room on the occasion of Gorbachev’s meeting with Assad, Kornienko suddenly opened up and told him the following (in response to the question whether anything is going to be done about Afghanistan). The initiator of the intervention was... Gromyko, who was enthusiastically supported by Ustinov. Four people talked over the “project” of presenting Brezhnev with this, the people mentioned above plus Andropov and Ponomarev. Yu.V. [Andropov] was “evasive [sic],” he did not object, but talked about possible complications. Ponomarev also mentioned several doubts, but then adjusted quickly. A decisive objection came from the military people, who were assigned to prepare “their considerations [on the matter].” Ogarkov, Akhromeev, and Varennikov submitted a written report, in which they argued that it is impossible and inconceivable, first and foremost from the political standpoint. But Ustinov summoned them, made them stand at attention, and reprimanded them on the 104

subject: since when do military men undertake the job of deciding politics; ordered them “not to discuss [orders]” and to present a detailed plan of the operation. Now, Kornienko (who told Brutents that he himself was always against [involvement in Afghanistan]) concluded, we received an assignment from the General Secretary to prepare a proposal “on resolving the Afghan question.” This is confirmed from another source as well: I was at Arbatov’s on Tuesday, we talked about everything, and he told me again that almost every week he either meets with Gorbachev or speaks with him on the phone. Recently, he says, I (Arbatov) sent him another memo, in which I went over the major issues—from the meeting with Reagan (Yurka believes that we will not have anything to gain by it) to Afghanistan. When he received it, [Gorbachev] called and especially noted Afghanistan, and said that he “agrees.” What exactly Arbatov proposed is clear without explanation. Besides, the day before, the Pakistani Ambassador visited Arbatov and “begged” him to take some action. So, some progress will probably be made in this matter. This morning Yurka called and told me that on Wednesday at 8:30a.m. the phone rang: he was told to be at Gorbachev’s at 9:30a.m. He caught a taxi and appeared [on time before Gorbachev]. The talk was “good,” according to not only Arbatov, but also to Lukyanov... from Gorbachev’s words. Over the phone Yurka could only tell me that again the primary topic of the conversation was Afghanistan and that Gorbachev confirmed that this is a “paramount issue” for him.

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Today at the Politburo a memo about the STR (from the results of a CC meeting) was discussed for two hours. Everyone spoke. In conclusion, Gorbachev said that the most important is in the fact that the intention, the idea, the purpose [of the STR] is not understood even by many Ministers. Their suggestions are attempts to go down the beaten path, using new slogans as a cover without radically changing anything either in the form of government or in the manner of operation. But Zamyatin, who reported all this to me, supposedly felt a justificatory tone in the General Secretary [his speech], saying that: we must inform the people, that from our (i.e. his!) side this is not extremism, not leftism, not something artificial, not something subjectively imposed. The issue of a qualitative reformation on the basis of the STR arose a long time ago, it was raised already at the XXIV Congress (he even quoted Brezhnev), but for two entire five-year periods we’ve been treading water, despite the fact that life demanded decisive, revolutionary changes. One cannot show weakness, even if there is grumbling. The more so, as “the people” are enthusiastic: today I read a selection of letters to the CC from all the ends of the USSR, with evaluations and “advice” on the General Secretary’s first actions. [This selection] was sent around the PB. It moves one a great deal. Tongues have been loosened, people are writing frankly, strongly, without looking back, about the fact that only now can one speak of a real revival of the Lenin style in relations between the “leader and the people, the party.” And there is not a shadow of the affected cultist emotionality, nor groveling, nor glorification. People are unbosoming everything they stored up from the Brezhnev and Chernenko eras.

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This must inspire M.S. However, there is also a danger of finding oneself isolated, as Lenin was in his last years. That is why one must boldly, even more boldly than now, cleanse and replace the staff. The majority of the old personnel will resist [the new changes], even if not out of selfish reasons, but because they cannot work otherwise. Ponomarev is the most glaring example of that. I also found out from Kornienko that the MFA was assigned to prepare a note of agreement for the Gorbachev-Reagan meeting in Geneva. I am not sure that any strategic sense will come from it, but there will be the moral-political use: Gorbachev will “outdo,” and “intimidate” that cowboy-actor. And one way or the other it will become known to the whole world. June 22nd, 1985. By the way, among the letters to Gorbachev that I mentioned above, there are also some of this kind: as soon as you decorate yourself with an Order, they say, as soon as you make yourself laureate of some kind of award, your will in a moment lose all the authority, all the respect that the people feel for you right now! Gremetz (Secretary of the French CC) summoned the Paris-based Ambassadors of socialist countries and forbade them to have any kind of relations with the PCF! I had to cancel a long-planned colloquium with French socialists, “on disarmament” at the scholarly level, since our consent was considered at the PCF PB and on behalf of Marchais, Gremetz made a protest to our embassy, threatening that otherwise he will cancel the meeting with Gorbachev (which is planned for August). They’re crazy with impudence! Thorez is probably turning in his grave! 107

June 26th, 1985. Yesterday at the theoretical conference at the department I reported on the ICM in the zone of developed capitalism. I spoke for about an hour. I was frank and presented myself for what I am, although of course many questions (for which we do not have answers... real answers, I mean) were left untouched. To me it seemed that [the report] aroused interest and even moved people. Today came a shower of responses. Larisa announced: “Anatoly Sergeevich, all the colleagues were amazed by your report, they say that this moment marks the beginning of a new approach to the Communist Movement in the CPSU.” Lisovolik said that the truth, in the end, is triumphant. Rykin was reserved (he seems to be glancing back at the partkom [party committee] representative, who limited himself to saying that I made an unusual report), but, shaking my hand, said that the report was interesting. Brutents said that frankness and realism, which we have not heard from this tribune, won people over. There are many serious questions, he says, but we do not know what to do with them. Speaking at the discussions today, Ivanitsky announced that the conference “continued” yesterday in the hallways, and this morning at breakfast, and in the work rooms, and in the cafeteria at lunch. Some, he says, are saying that Chernyaev dramatized the situation, “exaggerated it.” I do not think so. In our close circle it makes sense to speak only like this. There were six speeches. All of them, excluding the presumptuous jerk Kudinov’s, were at a very high level, in my opinion sometimes surpassing the level of the 108

report. There was a hidden polemic as well: the person reporting was biased toward objective reasons. But the majority spoke in the spirit of my tone, agreed with my formulation of the main questions. Our people are quite competent and in the majority of cases they have long ago overcome the dogmatic orthodoxy. In a word, I am pleased at the way everything went. But the ripples will go through the partkom and through the other departments, and through Ponomarev, who, of course, would not have liked my report, especially since it appears to be in almost defiant contrast to his report on the outcomes of the April Plenum at the party session at the end of May. Aleksandrov taunted me a little (over the phone) for the material for Gorbachev’s talks with Trudeau (the former Prime Minister of Canada). Perhaps I deserved it, even though he obviously did it for personal enjoyment. Zagladin warned me that Gorbachev needs a collection of thoughts that he should say to the person, not written instructions to be read out [at the meeting]. I knew that the text, prepared in the American sector and finished up by me, was not the right thing. But what thoughts should we convey to Trudeau, who is God knows what nowadays—not the leader of a party, not the Prime Minister, just... a distinguished tourist, who had the good fortune of knowing Gorbachev in the old days. So we substituted thoughts with “pretty” phrases. It will be a lesson for the future! June 29th, 1985. I thought about all of last week: our theoretical conference took place, which excited everyone because we spoke frankly about that which is the main subject of our work, that for which we receive our salary at the CC, and that in which we are

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professionals. At work, however, we work with this main subject, i.e. the ICM, only about ten percent of the time, if not less. The rest is taken up with servicing Ponomarev’s pretensions at being “the theorist of our party.” There was an article by Glazunov37 (artist) in “Pravda.” He denounced the nineteen-twenties, including Pertrov-Vodkin, in almost the same way as it was done under Stalin. [This is] vulgar and foolish. In issue No.6 of Nash Sovremennik, there is an insolent article on the state of drama by the pochvennik Lubomudrov. It’s written in the 1949-52 framework: all Jewish authors are bad, all Russian ones are good. He mixed Meyerkhold with shit. He warned of the infringement on Russian classical literature by all kinds of stage interpreters of it ([interpreters] with Jewish last names, or “known to be Jewish”). So with all the almost uncontrollable “pluralism” in our newspapers, when such insolent things come up, everyone understands where it is coming from and who is encouraging it. Some people think that someone is interested in estranging Gorbachev from the intelligentsia, while he is busy with economics and such. It is possible! It’s interesting how Yakovlev will act in this situation, if he will really be made head of the Propaganda Department. Gorbachev makes appearances almost every day. It is true, they are his appearances, not ones written for him. But “the people” are beginning to grumble: they are too tired from the profuse speaking of the “preceding orators...” (that is how Bovin called the previous General Secretaries).
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Ilya Glazunov

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It is curious: I am “passionately” awaiting changes, in my heart I urge Gorbachev on—[do it] bolder, sooner. But for me personally the changes do not hold promise of anything good! The trampling and removal of Ponomarev will most likely mean my retirement. Nevertheless, I sincerely want these changes to take place, and I feel contempt for people who grumble about Gorbachev’s bravery, moreover when they do so in confidence and seek an ally in me. July 1st, 1985. I was at the Plenum, which lasted for half an hour. Gorbachev, without taking the podium, began to speak in a free manner, saying: tomorrow there will be a session of the Supreme Soviet, we will have to discuss questions about the session, including questions of organization. The first is about the head of the Supreme Soviet Presidium. You know that since 1977 this post was combined with the post of the CC General Secretary. Perhaps it was justified then. The times have changed now; separate organs have different tasks and responsibilities. The General Secretary must concentrate on the role and work of the party. And, without any kind of transition, he suggested Gromyko as candidate to the head of Supreme Soviet post. [Gorbachev] characterized him with much reserve, did not repay Gromyko’s March Plenum speech, showing once again that the “personal” aspect does not matter to him. He only said that Andrey Andreyevich has been in the party for a long time, has always consistently followed the party line, is devoted to the principle of collective leadership... And that was all! He spoke neither of his mind, nor his knowledge and abilities.

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He moved on to the Supreme Soviet tasks, and tasks of soviets in general; spoke about the need to raise the role of permanent Supreme Soviet committees, right there and then endowing them with the right to not only discuss the Ministries’ work, but also to evaluate the Ministers’ work, even to censure whether they are fit to occupy their posts. He spoke of the Public Prosecutor’s Office, whose “work leaves much to be desired;” [spoke] about the fact that the Public Prosecutor’s Office must keep the law for everybody, and must stop the Ministries’ and departments’ practice of not only interpreting the laws to comply with their needs, but even correcting [the laws to fit their needs]. He named the candidates to the posts of committee chairmen and the deputy chairman to the chairman himself, by the way—without saying a word about his (Gromyko’s) role in foreign policy. Everybody took notice of this. Then [he spoke] about the [post of] Minister of Foreign Affairs. We, Gorbachev says, discussed this question thoroughly at the PB and propose comrade Shevarnadze for this post. For us, the staff members, this was like a bolt from the blue. As Ponomarev told me in terrible secrecy, this is what happened at the PB. Unexpectedly for all, Gorbachev named Shevardnadze, making the following comments: we do have major diplomats, who are worthy of being ministers, for example, Kornienko, Chervonenko, Dobrynin. At this point Gromyko interrupted and named Vorontsov, but the General Secretary gave him a sidelong glance and did not respond. The allotted work,

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he went on, must be directly in the hands of the party and that is why we must nominate a comrade from the party’s leadership for this post. Ponomarev also added about Vorontsov: M.S., he says, “did not notice” this name because to give the MFA to Vorontsov, who is practically a relative of Gromyko’s, would be to let everything remain as it is. At the PB session [Gorbachev] gave a testimonial to Shevarnadze: he was able to manage a most difficult situation in Georgia, he is characterized by a sense of the new, by the courage and originality of his approaches. The Plenum, of course, promoted Shevardnadze from candidate member to full membership of the PB. I consider all this very indicative of the end of Gromyko’s monopoly and the power of the MFA’s staff over foreign policy. Furthermore, Romanov was removed from the PB and dismissed from his CC Secretary post “in accordance with his request, due to declining health.” Gorbachev did not give any explanations as to whether there was any reason [for his removal] or whether it was just decided to get rid of the good-for-nothing swine. Zaikov, the Leningrad obkom secretary, was elected CC Secretary. He will replace Romanov in dealing with the defense industry. Yeltsin, recently the secretary of the Sverdlosvk obkom, was appointed CC Secretary with a post in the CC apparatus—as deputy of the Construction and Capital Investment Department. July 2nd, 1985.

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It was nice to find out that my report at the theoretical conference was dubbed “the Leningrad speech” after Gorbachev’s speech on May 17th in the department. July 5th, 1985. I am exhausted with working on texts for Ponomarev and with the memo assigned by Gorbachev—“on human rights...” We have been composing and coordinating it with the departments for a month and a half. - [The texts include] letters to Communist Parties about the underdeveloped countries’ debts. Yesterday B.N. raised the draft at the deputies meeting. There is discordance stemming from a lack of understanding. Even Zagladin mechanically proposed to send them to revolutionary democrats. But Brutents and I said stop [sic]: that would be like firing at ourselves, they owe us twenty-six billion. We want to write off debts only in respect to America & Co. - [The texts include] instructions and other papers for a meeting with English parliamentarians (Kerkshaw). But this is all routine work. There was, however, a “musical moment” as well, about which Ponomarev told with must pleasure at the same deputies meeting. Firstly [he enjoyed telling about it] because he does not like Rakhmanin. Secondly, for Zagladin’s edification, who publishes articles without Ponomarev’s knowledge pretty often. And this is what happened: on July [sic] 21st Pravda published an article by “Vladimirov” on the socialist commonwealth; an edifying article and with obvious critical implications in relation to Hungary, GDR, not to mention Romania. It mentioned

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the “nationalistic movements,” and even “phobia of Russians,” and the “models” and “reforms,” and even “discipline,” not to mention the proletarian internationalism in its classic form! The article was immediately noticed by the American, English, FRG, French, and Italian press. What, they say, could this mean? Are these Gorbachev’s true thoughts, or opposition to Gorbachev? He allows himself reforms, but for his vassals—no way, [they must] toe the line. The feeling of bewilderment was felt also from Berlin and Budapest... And so on Saturday (July [sic] 29th) Gorbachev said at the PB: what is this turning out to be! We say that the consolidation of the socialist commonwealth is our first priority, we display maximum resourcefulness and tact in order to consolidate this orientation, to eliminate misunderstandings, to strengthen the trust, etc.; and all of a sudden all this goes to nothing. I already had to come up with excuses—made up a pretext to call Kadar and Honecker, and among other things let them know that “this article does not reflect the opinion of the leadership.” That is how I have to extricate myself. - Did you—M.S. asks Rusakov—know about this article, about the fact that it was being prepared in your department? Do you know that its author, “Vladimirov,” is your first deputy, CC member Rakhmanin?! - No, replies Rusakov. - And did you—M.S. addresses Zimyanin—know that the central CC organ—

Pravda—was given such an article?

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-No, replies another CC Secretary responsible for the press. - And you—he says to Afanasiev—did you not understand what you were doing? Why didn’t you send this article around the PB, or at least around the secretaries? The chief editor of Pravda mumbles something, referring to Rakhmanin’s goahead power and to the fact that he is first deputy of the Socialist Countries Department and that he should understand what he is doing. - So, Gorbachev counters... Firstly, it is an absolute disgrace that the department deputy (Rusakov) does not know what is going on in his department. Secondly, why do we need such workers in the CC apparatus, who act as they wish on the most important political questions, and we have to clean the mess for them afterwards. Such behavior deserves immediate dismissal from the CC... However, since this is the first time (here M.S. wasn’t telling the truth... he cannot not know that Rakhmanin leads “his own” policy in, for example, issues with China—countering the CC and harming the state interests!) ... we will limit the measures to a strict warning. I think if it was anyone else but Rakhmanin, he would have been dismissed immediately. Something, somebody is backing him... Still, one thing is clear: now there is no chance for Oleg Borisovich of becoming not only a CC Secretary, which, judging by his actions, he clearly aimed to do, but even a department deputy instead of his ailing chief Rusakov. Also the latter’s appeal to me is clear now, when in the elevator he so intimately asked me to “find him a good replacement.”

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There is justice after all—the presumptuous have gone too far. The ideology stemming from our Great revolution, from Lenin, is still alive, despite the fact that it has been persecuted in every possible way, it has been drowned, twisted, and turned into its very opposite... It is alive in the pores of the party, of society... And it is bursting through at the breaks in its [the society’s] development, the break we are living though right now. At today’s PB session Sashka Yakovlev was made deputy of the Propaganda Department. He revenged all his enemies... Demichev38 especially lost out in this. He [Yakovlev] called me. Spoke of “collaboration,” even asked for help during the first stages—he is being cunning, flattering, and generous because he is glad; however, I also did something to help justice triumph in his case. But the work he is going to have to face is—oh, so difficult. July 6th, 1985. I played tennis for two hours in the morning. On the way home I stopped by a grocery store to get some vegetables. Everyone there, from the manager to the saleswomen, is drunk. The anti-alcoholism law is nothing for them. Try to fire them. Who are you going to find to replace them? Another time I went to the grocery store on Gertzen Street. I stood in line for half an hour. The produce, even though locally grown, looks terrible. The women are having a row with the manager, but she is not to be trifled with, and besides, she is drunk. July 11th, 1985.
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Petr Demichev

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Almost every day brings an overabundance of information that is very interesting for a political journal. But a whole “all-nighter” would be necessary to write everything down. For example, today Rykin (head of the German sector) got back from West Berlin and the GDR. He tells: Herbert Miss definitively turned up his nose at Honecker, he shouts: “Am I a party or GDR’s puppet?” Marchais is coming. Gorbachev will have to receive him, even though he is a useless animal. By supporting him, we are harming the party—he became a symbol of its breakdown in the eyes of the left, the right, and everyone, in his own party as well as in the ICM in general. Moreover, he is going to demand that Gorbachev reject Mitterand’s invitation to visit. Gremetz is coming tomorrow, I will have to come to co-ordinate the communiqué with him. I can imagine it!.. There are new transcripts about the conclusion of the second round in Geneva. The Americans are easily duping the public. We, on the other hand, are repeating the same thing over and over again, which looks like a deadlock to everyone interested in the heart of the matter. I speak more and more irritably and fretfully with Ponomarev. He even said: “It is difficult with you...” He proposes foolishness, counts on making an impression on the English parliamentarians. But they don’t give a damn about him and his lectures; they now want Gorbachev and Shevardnadze. He makes me compose meaningless papers: memoranda for the English, concluding remarks for himself, etc. They will wipe themselves [with these papers], if they ever care to touch them. That’s why I’m rebelling. He wants to appoint a “political commissioner” to the delegation. To the English, who

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keep even their embassy workers at a distance! All this is imitation of participation in big politics. Peccioli (PCI Secretary) told Lun’kov (ambassador) a whole lot about raging antiSovietism in France and about the right’s plans of making million-strong protesting sessions for Gorbachev when he comes to Paris. I suspect blackmail. Did the Italians and Marchais & Co. make an agreement to thwart Gorbachev’s visit? The same Peccioli, who had expressed enthusiasm about Gorbachev’s work, now reproaches the International Department and its leadership for calling Italian Communists opportunists through Lun’kov’s mouth, even though they themselves “count it as their duty to make a point to their Soviet comrades about the lag, the retrogression, etc. of the Soviet society, and the negative consequences of this for the entire Communist Movement.” Lun’kov, of course, is putting pressure on the International Department; maybe he is even making it up. There is something in that. Ambassadors are already writing though “higher channels” about the washing-out of the working class under the STR. The Fedoseev-Trapeznikov campaign against me ten years ago comes to mind. June 13th, 1985. Gremetz has arrived. He met with Ponomarev. I showed him the draft of the communiqué (a review of the forthcoming Gorbachev-Marchais meeting). There is a list of questions on which the PCF disagrees with the CPSU. To my surprise B.N. did not object, and said: “Set it all down officially for us, we will think, and, maybe, will take it into account at the highest level.” 119

However, I then had to “concretely” go through the text with Maxime. It’s funny but annoying: instead of arguing for the major claims which he presented to Ponomarev and about which I, unlike him, did not keep quiet, he impudently stated the exact opposite of what he and Marchais had announced about a year or two ago when they warned us not to come into conflict with “revolutionary international solidarity” with our state interests. I mockingly presented all this to him, comparing what they said before with what they are saying now. We grappled over the Bonn meeting of “the Seven” in May 1985. He even said: either the CPSU will agree with their evaluation, or Marchais will not visit. We’re so scared! I say to him: Maxime, do you understand what you’re saying? We agreed to this meeting with your General Secretary before Gorbachev’s official visit to Paris solely for reasons of “international solidarity,” even though right now we do not really need this [meeting]. He changed his tune, and we sat until seven in the evening and in general were pleased with each other, perhaps because I never tired of praising him. There are writers’ testimonials for The Children of Arbat. I would have written one myself. We must, must press for the publication of this book “in the name of moral health.” I think I might slip the book to Yakovlev, in his new quality as deputy of the CC Propaganda Department. We will see what kind of an anti-Stalinist he will be, when he has to take the responsibility for it! I have a feeling that Gorbachev will allow the publication. It would be something like “the moral XX Congress”—to completely finish with Stalin. Adzhubei called my consultant Kovalsky (they were acquainted before). He said that he wrote a letter to Gorbachev, saying that he is not being published, he has been in a spiritual exile for the past twenty years, etc. Four days later he received an answer from 120

Gorbachev: it will not be like this anymore, write, get published, and work. Does this signify a new look at Khrushchev, a kind of rehabilitation of [Adzhubei]? I am reading some information on the RSFSR. 200,000,000 square meters of housing are in need of urgent repairs or must be torn down. Barracks have not been liquidated yet. The water supply and sewage systems are overloaded; over 300 cities do not have them at all. Almost half the streets and passageways in Russian cities have no hard road surfacing. July 15th, 1985.

The Communist commissioned an article from Gremetz, but when it was
discussed at the editorial board it was rejected. The fact is that Gorbachev’s visit to Paris is coming up, and Gremetz’s article calls president Mitterand “a reactionary.” The final meeting with the English parliamentarians is tomorrow. My God, how much trouble there is with them! For them, this is the usual political talk, but I have to prepare memos for B.N. considering all the possible versions of discussion. And each [of the memos] must have a quote from Gorbachev. For him [Ponomarev], the BrezhnevChernenko style is continuing strong. The play Tevye the Milkman by Sholom Aleichem is being shown on television. The fact that this is being shown worldwide, and the fact that Ulyanov is in the role of Tevye is a social event, progress; it is possible that we are really beginning to understand the Jewish problem. It is in the heart of Russia, you cannot put an end to it without

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breaking free of everything in the past. As a protagonist of one novel said about this: “We are not some kind of Germans!” July 17th, 1985. I read an astute article on the significance of history by Yuri Afanasiev (a historian, member of The Communist editorial board). A short time ago it would have been impossible to imagine such an intellectual discussion about history in a CC organ. I did not go to a lunch at the FRG embassy on the occasion of Horst Ehmke’s (deputy chairman of the Social Democrats faction in the Bundestag) arrival. I was promised a private conversation with him outdoors. I should have gone, since tomorrow I will have to talk with this Ehmke at an official meeting. So far I don’t know what I’ll talk about. There are hundreds of ciphered memos, including memos about the end of the second round in Geneva: the chitchat is continuing, the same thing for fifteen to eighteen pages. Reagan had a cancer removed from the rectum; the doctors announced that they weren’t sure that there wasn’t something left. Not only the Americans’, but even my interest for the highest level talks has weakened somehow. I gave Yakovlev The Children of Arbat. I wonder, what will it come to? A working group has concentrated on the Party Program at the dacha at Volynskoe. The preparation of a “picture of the world” (the introductory section) is

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assigned to Afanasiev (chief editor of Pravda), Kosolapov, and Fedoseev. It’s enough to make one’s sides split! It’s easy to guess what kind of picture they will present. It’s a pity and a bore, since “for Gorbachev” they could have depicted a truly serious picture... framed in the philosophy of the new domestic and foreign policy. August 9th, 1985. B.N. called me back from my vacation (I was at Yurmala) to finish the CC summary report material for the XXYII Congress. At the Gorky dacha, I found four of my consultants and four fellows from the MFA, headed by Kovalev. They were supposed to finish preparing the basis for the foreign policy section [summary]. What my boys did, and what the MFA guys did is primitive and traditional. It was easy to cover for my guys, but with Kovalev’s it is more difficult, especially since they were placed in an autonomous position in their section and formally I cannot impinge on their text. Unknown to Kovalev, I asked three of my consultants—Yermonsky, Sobakin, and Sokolov—to prepare our version. What the CC Socialist Countries Department prepared is something like that “Vladimirov” article that was subjected to annihilating criticism at the PB. [They presented] the socialist commonwealth as a besieged fortress, and the zeal of the section is to pipe all hands on deck before various imperialistic threats. There is emphasis on the consolidation and uniformity of thought and action. There is not a word on sovereignty and independence. There is equality only in the part on China, which is about five lines out of the fourteen pages. The whole text has a tone of lecturing and formulating tasks for the fraternal countries. Almost every phrase contains the words “must,” “necessary,” “ought to,” “should,” “requires,” etc. Rakhmanin even ordered the

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word “creative” (in the context of using Marxism-Leninism in the national conditions) to be thrown out. Zagladin and I do not have the authority to correct it, but we agreed to send Ponomarev a word of our bewilderment regarding this section. Together with Vadim, we also decided to set forth our complaints about Kovalev’s section: the absence of new material, timidity about boldly stating the issues with Afghanistan, with Japan, with Israel, and even concerning England, not to mention the missile arms control. And there is no West-European direction as such. In a word, the text is written Brezhnev-style, not Gorbachev-style. Zagladin told me about a hallway conversation at the CC apparatus: Rakhmanin is weaving intrigues against the International Department. He is saying that this is the nest of revisionism, [that] they are untying the hands of the social democrats, they have opened the doors to socialist countries for it [social democrats], they are undermining the Marxist-Leninist unity of the ICM, and they’ve created an ideological mess in their department. Etc. August 13th, 1985. B.N., who is on vacation in the Crimea, fell into panic upon receiving our texts. He addressed a polite memo to the three of us—Zagladin, me, and Kovalev, but over the phone he broke out cursing. I tried to interrupt him, in the sense that I said that it was his fault for thrusting the MFA people over us and for giving them the authority over the foreign policy section. Again, I said, you do not believe in your employees and expect genius from others. It could not have been otherwise. This is the result of MFA people’s 124

slow, tedious, bureaucratic work; with an enormous loss of time, because Kovalev, in his soft, shy manner, with breathless politeness holds on to every phrase. So we had to either be rude, or compromise. You—I said to B.N.—are aware of his devotion to lacy words, in which only a terribly experienced person can detect some newness. To make a long story short, I said, working with Kovalyev threatens failure to fulfill the assignment. I promised to prepare my own version in two days and to send it to Crimea for him. August 19th, 1985. It became known that B.N., using the fact that Gorbachev is also on a holiday in the Crimea, tried to slip him our text. But M.S. said: “Don’t do that, let’s do it in the general order” (i.e. through the General Department). All right... the deed is done. In our executor’s opinion—it’s not bad. The text will probably not come back to us, but will be given to a group that will be set up and most likely headed by Yakovlev. By the way, about Yakovlev: he is slowly rising above the others. Brutents was present at his first clash with Zimyanin. The latter started to tell him (something like a certain Lubomudrov’s article in Nash Sovremennik it seems) that the Jews (the critics) are attacking Russian literature and that this should be “fixed.” But Sashka objected: “Not only the Jews are attacking, and not the Russian authors, but the

pochvennik tendency, the modern reactionary Slavophilism.” The exchange of opinions
ended with that. And then Zimyanin began calling Yakovlev on other occasions, which Sashka described like this: he’s fawning! Brutents told another story as well, about what kinds of dachas some people have. His daughter and son in law met Primakov’s daughter and visited their dacha, in the 125

Barvikha area. They came back shocked, they could not have imagined anything like it, and would not have believed it if they hadn’t seen it with their own eyes. A bungalow, villa, manor... they could not find the right word for it. Twelve rooms, everything in imitation oak, imported home appliances, not to mention the furniture, a Peugeot in the garage, a Zhiguli for the children... No salary, not even an academician’s and an institute director’s, would be enough for these unheard of riches. Should a representative of the party control commission, or even a raikom representative show up there, our Academician—Brutents concluded gloatingly—would right away become a candidate for expulsion from the party. Meanwhile, he is a candidate for a transfer from the director of the Institute of Oriental Studies post to the post of Director of IMEMO—a position with much better prospects. August 27th, 1985. The results of the youth festival in Moscow were being discussed at the Politburo. Everyone spoke on the subject, including Chebrikov, who told that there had been a terrorist attempt: five Afghan nationals turned up among the delegates (from Paris). They wanted to arrange explosions in the metro and in the TSUM [central department store]. But, naturally, they were neutralized by “vigilant chekists [KGB officials].” Gorbachev, although somewhat surprised by the nature of the discussion, derived some lessons from it:

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- The importance of contacts between foreigners and the Soviet people for an accurate perception of us. We should not be afraid—let them come here as much as possible. Let them look, let them see what we are like in reality. We are not so bad. - The contacts between the Americans, who after the festival took a trip down the Volga, and regular Soviet people have produced a better repealing of “the Soviet threat” than all our foreign propaganda. Propaganda that for so many years cannot convince the West that there is no Soviet threat is worthless. - We have adopted a resolution on creating a satellite TV [sic] system “Moscow Global” for foreign countries. But what are we going to broadcast?? - We must learn to discuss, debate, to defend our ideas and convictions. We have forgotten how to do it. We must prepare specialists for it. MGIMO prepares a caste, not specialists: people are eager to get in there in order to buy themselves stuff abroad, not in order to fight for our ideas. - On making films about the festival: it is not enough to show the opening and closing [ceremonies]. This is nice, but it’s a show. We have to show the discussions, and we must not be afraid to show it like it was: the arguments about Afghanistan, about Jews, about everything. We must get the people used to debating. - Ideological work. It is a very difficult pursuit! This work should make people sweat, but our ideologists are in general idling. - About youth. We’ve developed a user’s attitude towards them: need someone to work in potato fields—send a youth group, need someone to sort vegetables at the

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warehouse—send another youth group, need someone to build a shed for free—again a group, etc. But we should entrust the youth with real participation in the political process. Then the infantilism will disappear, and culture will emerge—not bookish culture. A society that cannot prepare a replacement for itself is an immature society. - About the leisure time for young people. Lectures are good; however, the substantial ideological work with youth usually ends with lectures. And the lectures mostly consist of dressing-down and exhortations. We have to put our thinking caps on and come up with interesting activities and interesting pastimes, which our youth would agree to and which they would organize themselves, thus educating themselves. - The specialists will be the deciding factor. We must start to work seriously on preparing ideological specialists; and should place people who will be able to lead this most difficult work in appropriate positions. This was all implied criticism of Zamyatin and Zimyanin. But also of Grishin, who, it seems, doesn’t have much time left... Gorbachev raised the question of supplying Moscow with fruit and vegetables, although it was not on the agenda. He called up Kozlov—the fruit and vegetable Minister—from his seat. He, as usual, began to shower us with numbers. Gorbachev called up Dementieva (second secretary of the Moscow City Committee—Grishin is on vacation); she talked profusely, contending that they are doing enormous work, etc. Gorbachev let them take their seats. Then he put his hand on a pile of letters and said: everything that you’ve been saying is nonsense. Here, at the PB, you must say only

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the truth. And you, even if you are not consciously lying, simply do not know where the truth is, where to look for it. Here are letters from all ends of the capital. Even if this is about “isolated shortcomings in isolated places,” then you are still not doing your job well. We are discussing this question for the third time: once under Andropov, once under Chernenko, and now. So, let this be the third warning. If the situation does not improve, then other people will be dealing with this question. People say that the stores already have everything, right up to eggplants. I read in the Secretariat protocol about a “delay” of a military train going from Bataisk to Mari (Turkmenistan, on the border with Afghanistan). The men were drafted from the North Caucasus republics. [The conflict] began with arguments, then turned into the beating of Russian men while the officers, one and all, were habitually drunk (meanwhile, the train kept going and going for thousands of kilometers). It concluded with anti-Soviet screams and rows on religious grounds, among others. At Mari the train was surrounded by troops... with the appropriate consequences. What idiot came up with the idea of sending North Caucasus Muslims to the Afghani border! But not only this: in 1936-7 boys had to be taken off trains, they were bursting to fight in Spain. And now we virtually have a revolt by Soviet young men, who are being sent to carry out “international duty.” No, Mikhail Sergeevich! Something needs to be done with Afghanistan. This is a moral problem... Your explanations to Kunaev—I don’t know whether you told him everything or had something else on your mind—are not adequate to the seriousness of the situation.

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Arbatov told me that the KGB has taken up the question of The Children of Arbat. His friend V. A. Kryuchkov asked him: they say your signature is under the collective appeal in favor of printing the novel? Arbatov, confused, answered: no. At this moment, Kryuchkov gave “a sigh of relief,” saying: “Thank God!” So, it seems, this is how the whole affair will be presented to Gorbachev. Zimyanin, at least, will really try for it. What about Yakovlev, to whom I sent the manuscript a month ago??.. August 29th, 1985. Yesterday I finished and distributed to the deputies a thirty-nine page long memo on the Communist, Revolutionary-Democratic and Social-Democratic movements. This is the International Department’s report for the XXVII Congress. I finished a memo to the CC on the 100th anniversary of May 1st celebrations. [There is] information for Gorbachev about Rotschtein’s letter to him, about the situation in the Communist Party of Great Britain and about our line. [There are] remarks on the October anniversary editorial for The Communist. I argued about the scholasticism a la [sic] Trapeznikov in portraying the experience of the CPSU and of the principles to which it supposedly always adhered ideally, which means also under Stalin, and under Brezhnev... [There was] a talk with colleagues from The Communist about what should be done with the Gremetz article, which they commissioned but now do not want to keep some of its elements: the rejection of the dictatorship of the proletariat (which the chief

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editor Kosolapov is in love with), the mentioning of Stalin, and the criticism of Mitterand. Through reading different CC reports and telegrams I gathered a great deal of information, which must again and again be considered in what we are doing at the Gorky dacha. I spoke with Ponomarev over the hot line about the fact that we should emphasize, but in a smart way, the West-European direction of our policy. He agreed, but today sent me such nonsense! It’s about the revolutionary movement, and he wrote it himself. And this is for the social-democratic leaders, before whom he is going to speak in Vienna! He still wants to speak with them in the language of the “labor movement” to which we both belong; he’s railing against imperialism, etc. But they do not want to relate to us on the platform of the labor movement, they do not consider themselves representatives of it, and they definitely do not want the CPSU to qualify them as such. In essence, they are representatives of the “realistically minded circles,” and they speak with us as with a superpower, not as labor movement representatives. But all of this is above Ponomarev’s level of comprehension, he is up in Dimitrov-Comintern clouds. And he is confusing all our work. He should just be a talking machine from the CPSU leadership, and not have a claim to “his own,” which reeks with oppressive stagnancy and is only detrimental in the current situation. I insisted that Bronfman (leader of the World Jewish Congress) be allowed into the USSR. This multimillionaire seems to want to “shift” the situation of enmity between

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the Jews and us... and to start with, [he wants to] prevent the anti-Gorbachev demonstrations during his visit in Paris. I read PB materials, including [information] about civil aviation. It turns out we have over a hundred crashes per year, including very serious ones. This year already, accidents with just three planes have brought 459 deaths: [they were] due to technical problems, the backward work of the control tower; the [lack of] discipline, the drunkenness, the unqualified flight personnel. The interview with Gorbachev prepared for Time is very impressive. One can sense the touch of Yurka Arbatov (he hinted to me that he was working on “a special assignment”). Against the background of this text—done in the characteristically Gorbachev style—our vain attempts at chasing rainbows at Gorky look pitiful. I spoke with Yakovlev. He brought up The Children of Arbat himself. He said that he finished it, that he read it at night (he gave himself away)... and immediately began with distracting moves: said that there is a lot of sex, everyone is fucking all over the place, I don’t remember, he says, that it was like that in our time (the 30s). I reminded him of The Diary of Kostya Ryabtsev, by Panteleimon Romanov, and expressed my surprise: is this really the most striking element that caught your attention?! He gave himself away once again when he began telling that in 1937 his father went through something similar to what Rybakov describes: at the time of the plan “of liquidation” of people in such and such positions (for example, each region had an order to liquidate so many kolkhoz leaders, so many village soviet leaders, etc.).

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And, finally, the author presents the matter as if Stalin killed Kirov. But this question has not been cleared up! And then, isn’t it early for us to examine Stalin’s psychology (even in the form of artistic analysis?!) In response I reminded him that fifty years after the Patriotic War Lev Nikolaevich also “spoke” on behalf of Aleksandr I, Kutuzov, and Napoleon, delving deeply into their psychology and not restricting himself by the fact that neither he nor anyone else can support through documents what exactly they were thinking and how they were reasoning. That was our conversation. And I understood that Yakovlev will not be “for” the publication. September 1st, 1985. It was an interesting week at work. Firstly, there was the printed Time interview with Gorbachev, and, of about the same length, a conversation with three Americans. Once again the frankness and clarity of positions was striking: in foreign [policy] the position is—to live and let live (that is how we now understand peaceful coexistence), in domestic [policy] the position is—complete openness, the kind of “discussion” of our shortcomings, weaknesses, and lagging behind, which scares the West more than any boasting that we have been doing for so many decades. And all this is directly in the face of “the imperialistic den.” Last night Arbatov and I took a walk through the Arbat alleys. He told me [about the preparation of the interview]: at first the text of the responses was submitted for Shevardnadze’s signature (which Yura considers to be “justified”), and Zimyanin’s. He characterized this text with one word: “Crap!” Upon receiving the text, Gorbachev called 133

Arbatov and Yakovlev, seated them separately and told them to read it and comment. They read it, and said, as Arbatov told me, another word with one voice: “Garbage!” In four days Yurka wrote another text, Yakovlev studied it, nipped at it, Boldin edited the middle sections a little. PB members made comments upon distribution; that’s their method, as Arbatov, who is inclined to use barrack-style terminology, described it: “as soon as they see something they click with the scissors, and one testicle is gone!”... So each cuts off a testicle. But the essence, the spirit and the style, remain. And this, of course, is an event, at least in the ideological fight; if, of course, our ideologists will be able to not only understand it, but also to “reform.” Because right now the trouble is not only in the resistance from the staff, who were brought up on post-Stalinism, but also in the fact that they do know how, do not have the ability, to work in the Gorbachev style. On Friday Gorbachev called me, too. But it was for a less important reason: [he asked me] to think about the program for Raisa Maksimovna’s stay in Geneva during his meeting with Reagan there. I thought about it, sent my “suggestions.” And in general, he is taking the role of his wife seriously, besides the fact that he is by nature a family man and she suits him in every respect. And it is lucky for us that our leading man has an intelligent wife in an age when wives have begun to play a certain role in international life. We, poor sinners, must once again reconstruct the text at the Gorky dacha—in accordance with the spirit and content of Gorbachev’s interview. Our one difficulty is Ponomarev. He cannot accept the very spirit of Gorbachev’s self-critical optimism, which is right now really becoming a factor in our influence on the outside world.

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I am reading V. Rasputin’s The Fire. He is among those of our most notable writers continuing the traditions of the Great Russian literature, who, in depicting characters and events, can artistically take out of context not only the leading role of the party, but its very existence, even the presence of the Soviet rule in our society. September 7th, 1985. Zagladin, snatching a moment in Gorbachev’s talk with Marchais, asked M.S. whether he would mind if Ponomarev would lead the delegation to the Socialist International in Vienna. The other [Gorbachev] laughed and said: let him go, let’s not disappoint him, just do not let him lecture, moralize, and try to convince them where they’ve already been long convinced! So the General Secretary has a very precise idea of the “essence” of our chief. The Program draft was discussed (Ligachev led the discussion, CC Secretaries and the working group were present). There are curious divergences of opinion: for example, Dolgikh, following Afanasiev, is against writing about the lagging behind and the mistakes—in the 1930s, 1940s, under Nikita, and under Brezhnev. “It sounds like there was nothing but mistakes,” he says. Zimyanin, apparently better sensing the mood at the top, did not join them, but called for moderation. And Ligachev said in conclusion that we must note the mistakes; and concerning the end of the 1970s and 1980s we must also talk about the reasons: the personnel selection, the decline in discipline and responsibility, the discrepancy between word and deed.

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In general, the draft was complimented (except for Afanasiev, who said that the middle part is simply weak). It is bad that it was complimented. It does not live up to the expectations. Gorbachev departed for Siberia: Nizhnevartovsk, Surgut, Tumen, Tselinograd. Yesterday I watched his speech before the party activists in Tumen. He is doing a good job. His approach to the way a General Secretary should behave with people is different in essence. He participates in lively interaction, decides right away what may and should be said and how it should be said... His staff does not prepare it, the “orator” chooses what is more appropriate... He has taken on oil and Siberia! All the best to him! September 21st, 1985. Gorbachev-scale documents are prepared in three to four days. But we (Ponomarev’s people) are, under his leadership, fretting for months over some report that is not worth more than an ironic smile from a serious politician. We want to instill the spirit of the times and the political common sense into him (Ponomarev), but he keeps leaning towards cheap propaganda. The West is charmed and staggered by the emergence of such a leader here. They are enthusiastic, but also rather afraid. He is acting boldly. To the Americans he proposed (besides two moratoria) a considerable reduction in strategic and Euro missiles... instead of the Strategic Defense Initiative. They won’t go for it, but we will be in the win: the stereotype of “the Soviet threat” is being torn down.

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September 25th, 1985. Our new major disarmament initiatives will be given to the Americans only on October 2, and on the 4th they will be proposed in Gorbachev’s speech at the National Assembly in France. Well, as usual, Ponomarev turned out to be “right.” Shevardnadze’s speech at the UN was published today, and in structure and content it reminds one very much of what B.N. is imposing on us with his anti-imperialistic obsession. I signed a request (Drabkin’s, from the Institute of General History) for a book called Revolution in World History. It’s an original try. I am not sure that something will come of it. And I am sure that I cannot myself participate in this as much as I would want to: I want to, but can’t, and not only because of a lack of time and laziness. Talent is needed here, in order to realize this (properly speaking, my) original, unusual project. September 28th, 1985. There was a discussion of the Program at the Politburo. The major idea that Ponomarev derived from it is that Gorbachev does not want to trample down the 1961 Program (for reasons of international prestige, the Lenin tradition of handling party documents with care, and because, after all, much has been done since then). This is the last consolation for B.N. Among the interesting [events]—there was a reprimand for keeping information about nationalism and other inclinations in socialist countries in the Program. Gorbachev ordered to decidedly throw it out: this way we will fall out with all our friends. Of course,

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“they have something.” But, he says, he just spoke with Kadar: he assures that 97% of the economy is in the socialist sector, and that the CC has complete control of the situation, “the fears are groundless.” Why, he [Gorbachev] says, shouldn’t we believe that? He said that the Social Democrats are intercepting the initiative from the Communist Parties, and the latter are drifting toward social democracy. And [Gorbachev said] that the perspective of the Communists is not clear (in the draft). What did he mean to say by that? October 7th, 1985. Gorbachev’s week in Paris: yet another try in Russia’s centuries-long attempt to brotherly embrace Europe. And once again the response is irony, coldness, polite arrogance. This is again a Dostoevsky-Danilov-Blok type situation (Mitterand’s mean and haughty face during the entire time of a joint press-conference with Gorbachev was the face of Europe in response to our cordiality). And once again, we are on the eve of a historic bitterness (especially if nothing comes from the Gorbachev-Reagan meeting, and most likely nothing will come of it). However, something has been done to change people’s ideas about us. Most importantly, we tried to be appealing to Europe, or rather tried to openly show Europe our good intentions; we are changing. I don’t know whether Gorbachev is doing this consciously because he is a realist and wants to consider “the realities” in everything? Because if you read carefully everything he has said in the past six months, and especially in Paris, it is easy to discern a rejection of ideological intolerance. And this is a good start, if, of course, this is a start and not just diplomacy, "ideology for export,” as 138

my B.N. is convinced. Propaganda will not pick this up on its own: the ideas must be instilled into it. It is important that this “shift” be secured at the Congress. (I spoke with Arbatov on this subject; it’s his job to satiate foreign policy texts with philosophical content). But we must first resolve the “Jewish question” and the issue of relations between the new (Gorbachev’s) leadership and the intelligentsia, which he has not gotten around to yet. October 15th, 1985. There was a CC Plenum on the new wording of the Program, the Charter, the main directions through 2000. Gorbachev spoke about the unity and diversity of the world and about coexistence, which is a law (and not tactics) of development that we must submit to unconditionally. There was an interesting moment—Demidenko’s, the first secretary of Kazakhstan’s Kustanai obkom, speech. He, as some of the “previous speakers,” began to speak of the “Bolshevist style” of comrade Gorbachev, about the “Lenin approach,” and about how we are “fortunate, to have such dynamic leadership,” etc. Gorbachev was becoming annoyed when he was listening to the preceding speakers, and he was patient with it, but this time he could not stand it any longer: “Comrade Demidenko! We can understand why in the West there is talk about “the Gorbachev style,” “Gorbachev’s dynamism,” “the character of the new leader,” etc. It is accepted there and they need it. But why do we need this at the Plenum: Gorbachev, the style of Gorbachev? Why should we delve in this?”

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Demidenko mumbled the rest of his speech in confusion. People applauded when he said the compliments, and exploded in an ovation when Gorbachev checked him. That means that everyone understands, but the momentum of the cult and of subservience is inexorable! Well, bureaucracy and verbiage in solemn form is the image of today’s thought. Thought and political culture do not exist. No one, except for Afanasiev, could speak intelligently about the Program content. Again the usual self-reports are presented— about achievements in one’s republic, oblast, factory, etc. Just like under Brezhnev, Chernenko... From the 8th to the 14th of October I was in Toulouse, France, at the Congress of the French Communist Party. By the way, there was not a word about the nuclear threat and the arms race. Then we are winding ourselves up. And people in Europe aren’t thinking about it! And “our friends?” At their conference at Nanter (on the same days) there was not a word about Gorbachev’s visit to France. For the Communists to praise the visit is to praise Mitterand. Province! It is funny. Ridiculous. And we had thought, that from now on France would live only by this visit. October 16th, 1985. I read the transcript of Gorbachev’s talk with Karmal, who was secretly called to Moscow on October 10. [The situation] is critical indeed: ten of our boys die every day. The people are disappointed and ask how long our troops will remain there. And when

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will the Afghans learn to defend themselves? The most important [issue] is that there is no popular base. Without that any kind of revolution has no chances. It is recommended to make a sharp turn back—to free capitalism, to the Afghani and Islamic values, to sharing the power with oppositional and even the currently hostile forces. This is a sharp turn! It was recommended to seek compromises even with rebel leaders, and, of course, with the emigrants. Will Karmal agree to this, and most importantly—is he capable of this? Does he have sufficient control of the situation for the currently hostile forces to meet him halfway? I met with Kashtan (General Secretary of Canada’s CP). Walt and Bisel are with him. Returning from [a meeting with] Kim Il Song they made a special stop to meet with me. As usual, I enlightened them on all the issues: to be sure, their Congress is coming up early in November, they have to bring at least something home from Moscow. Kashtan acted like quite an important person, but he understands that he will not be allowed [to meet with anyone] above me. Like the other CPs (including the PCI) he complained that right now the CPSU is on better terms with the socialists and social democrats than it is with fraternal parties. It turns out that on Sunday, when I was still in Toulouse, people from Gorbachev called my house: he wanted to invite me to his dacha to watch films that Ermash and I selected for showing at Geneva. This is a lost opportunity to have a frank talk, among other things about what is to be done with the ICM.

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There are terribly many things to do. I am left to finish up the International section of yet another CC summary report for the XXVII Congress (the deadline is 11.25). But the entire day I could not even start on it because there is a heap of routine work, hundreds of ciphered memos and other documents that I have to know, and calls, arrangements, orders. By the way, today I saw the CC (PB) resolution on the results of the Paris visit—it is [done] almost entirely on the basis of my draft. October 17th, 1985. I was at the Politburo today. There was a historical statement about Afghanistan. Gorbachev has finally made up his mind to put an end to it. [Gorbachev] outlined his talk with Karmal. He, Gorbachev said, was dumbfounded, in no way expected such a turn, was sure that we need Afghanistan more that he does, and was clearly expecting that we will be there for a long time, if not forever. That is why I had to express myself with the utmost clarity: by the summer of 1986 you will have to learn how to defend your revolution yourselves. We will help you for the time being, though not with soldiers but with aviation, artillery, equipment. If you want to survive you have to broaden the regime’s social base, forget about socialism, share real power with the people who have real authority, including the leaders of bands and organizations that are now hostile towards you. Restore Islam to its rights, [restore] the people’s customs, lean on the traditional authorities, find a way to make the people see what they are getting from the revolution. And turn the army into an army, stop with the Parchamist and Khalqist scuffle, raise the salaries of officers, mullahs, etc. Take care of private trade, you will not be able to establish a different economy for a long time yet. And so on in this vein.

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He read several heart-rending letters, all of them not anonymous. There is a good deal of everything [in the letters]: international duty?! For what? Do the Afghans themselves want us to fulfill this duty? And is this duty worth the lives of our boys, who do not understand what they are fighting for?.. And why are you (the Soviet leadership) throwing recruits against professional killers and gangsters, who have been taught by the best foreign instructors and who are armed with the best weapons: ten of whom are capable of fighting against a whole brigade?! At least recruit volunteers or something... Besides the letters filled with tears, mothers’ grief over the dead and the crippled, heart-rending descriptions of funerals, there are letters of accusation: the Politburo made a mistake and it should be rectified, the sooner the better, because every day is taking lives. By giving an account of this, Gorbachev was obviously forcing emotions, but he did not qualify the letters’ evaluations, for example by saying whether it was a mistake or not. He concluded by saying: “With or without Karmal we will follow this line firmly, which must in a minimally short amount of time lead to our withdrawal from Afghanistan.” Marshal Sokolov took the floor twice, and it was obvious that he was ready to pull out of there and had no plans of giving Karmal any indulgences. Gromyko took the floor, pronounced some amendments to the recommendations that are supposed to be handed over to Karmal in a day or two. One just had to see his colleagues’, including Gorbachev’s, ironic faces, they seemed to say: and why are you, jerk, now reasoning about it... you drew the country into such an affair, and now you 143

would have us all responsible. I think Gorbachev will tell the people of this decision even before the Congress. He called me in the evening, asked about France, where I just was. Just, he says, tell it frankly, do not embellish the situation after my (Gorbachev’s) visit. He thoroughly “came down on” Zhora (Marchais) and Gremetz, and agreed with my evaluations. I received the Hungarian Ambassador, explained to him everything about England on the eve of Kadar’s visit there. October 19th, 1985. Yesterday I read materials prepared for Gorbachev for the Political Consultative Committee in Sofia, which is coming up on 11.22.85. There are new and brave approaches. It even seemed to me that the people who prepared this used our summary report draft for the CPSU Congress. Still, Gorbachev goes farther. For example, this is what is said about the ICM: 1) It [the ICM] is going through difficult times. Communist Parties will still have to interpret the process of the modern world and to work out a course that will respond to the present-day situation, and which will be capable to move the masses. 2) We should not dramatize the differences; we should not get offended when we are criticized. Often it turns out that we now have to admit to what we were criticized for, and to undertake the correction of what they pointed out to us. We should not expect to be only praised and people to have only enthusiasm for us.

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3) An international conference of Communist Parties is not of importance in the present day. We must look for different forms and especially we must help Communist Parties by setting an example in the exploration of modern processes, i.e. by our scientific potential. 4) We must meet the objective difficulties of Communist Parties with understanding, and there are very many of them, just as there are many absolutely new problems. We must respect their independence. In a word, this is the rejection of Ponomarevism and practically, although also indirectly, a censure of the practice for which many parties took a dislike to Ponomarev. It is the aversion to criteria in which Communist parties are judged on the basis of how readily and thoughtlessly they act as apologists for everything that happens in the USSR. This is a rejection of the instrumental-policing approach to the functions and fate of Communists. Gorbachev got to the bottom of Ponomarev a long time ago. It is not without reason that all the time he ironically reminds us that we should not teach other communists how to live. October 20th, 1985. I read Zoshchenko’s Before the Sunrise... In a manuscript, which Gulyga (a philosopher, author of books on Hegel, Kant, Herder, Schelling... husband of my old flame) gave me in the summer. But why is it a manuscript? This has been published, and

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it even says in the “Encyclopedic Dictionary” that Zoshchenko has such a work. And I remembered that I had read it sometime before. A deep work, extremely talented. At the same time, I am reading about Saint-Just. I came across this thousand-page book in a bookstore in Montparnasse. I also bought Roger Debrais’ Europe Between Two

Empires. It turned out to be boring.
The publishing house Progress translated a book about Margaret Thatcher, written by one of her associates. Also boring. This is not what one wants to read about her, although before a trip to England I should read the boring books as well. October 21st, 1985. I am troubled by the fact that in the materials for the Party Congress Gorbachev’s new thoughts are shrouded in such formulas that many people may not even notice the newness, this in particular concerns the propaganda. I checked these fears on my consultants—they should be quite the big intellectuals. It turned out that not many understand the new thoughts presented in old formulas. October 23rd, 1985. B.N. is correcting the draft of the CC summary report. Of course this is not the final correction, others will do it after him, people closer to Gorbachev. [Ponomarev has] an astonishing ability to debase phrases and to remove the appeal from the slightest thought. After all, only talented people can make up for the absence of culture from early childhood. But for the dull ones, no education later in life can make them intellectuals.

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Yesterday I was at the CC Secretariat. The question of industrial injuries was discussed. There were two million cases in five years, 120,000 people remained disabled, 63,000 died. At the meeting, Ponomarev reasoned about the absence of objective reasons for industrial injuries under socialism! There was irony on people’s faces. He is ridiculous, but will never be able to get it. Ligachev spoke of the ministers’ lacking simple humanity: people are losing their lives... for the sake of the plan. And not one thought to call together at least a board of ministers to look into, for example, one of the specific cases of emergencies resulting in a fatality. There are reports from Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Moldova about their plans for patching the hundred-million gaps in their budgets due to the reduction in wine manufacture. Ligachev told me of a conversation he had with “a good worker.” The latter told him (on the occasion of the kilometer-long lines for vodka): “They make people work—absolutely! But as far as giving a working man an opportunity to have a drink— here!” (he made a gesture to show that the people get nothing). It’s a problem!— concluded Egor Kuzmich. November 3rd, 1985. On October 27 “Pravda” wrote about the “Departure to London:” On the invitation of Great Britain’s Communist Party executive committee, the candidate to the CC CPSU and deputy head of the CC CPSU International Department A.S. Chernyaev and the CC CPSU International Department employee E.S. Lagutin departed from Moscow to London.

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We landed at Heathrow on October 26th. Driving past Hyde Park we saw an antimilitary demonstration, fairly large. One of the slogans was: “America, USSR, France, England—nuclear terrorists.” On the whole, judging by the posters, the demonstration was more anti-American than anti-Soviet. We spent the next day, Sunday, at Windsor. On October 28 we spent five hours at the Communist Party CC. Pravda correspondent Maslennikov was with us. The general conclusion from our discussions is the following: they understand everything, but are also absolutely incapable of acting; there is a complete absence of any kind of perspective of being a political power in the country. Their attitude toward me: trust, agitation, they perceive me almost like Gorbachev’s alter ego [sic]. We had lunch in a nearby tavern. Then [we went to] the National gallery, once again the stunning Sarah Siddon [sic], I stood before her beauty for almost half an hour. And in general, a hall of the English greats: Gainsborough, Lawrence, Turner, Reynolds. On October 29, Tuesday, again at the CC, but the talk was with the CPGB London organization. [We spoke] about the crisis in the party, about the minority opposition. In the evening, there was a meeting with functionaries from different London Party organizations. The main topic was racism (resulting from the influx of immigrants). On October 30, Wednesday, with Maslennikov behind the wheel we drove to Cardiff. We had a meeting in a cafe with secretary of the Party organization of Whales. It

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was surprising: the party boss of an ultra-proletarian region is an artist who didn’t finish his studies, yesterday’s student. In the management of the miners’ trade union is a trade union boss, quite drunk, who, looking directly at the party boss, met us with the words: “Who are you working for, McLennan (the General Secretary), or for the Morning Star (a party organ in opposition to the CPGB leadership)?” Awkwardness. I had to separate them and to set the conversation going. The miners’ dramatic problem right now is whether to recognize the defeat of the strike, the legal and moral aspect of the strike. We had lunch with the editor of Miner [sic], a smart guy and with broad views. Kinnock (leader of the Labor Party) promised to advance him to the Parliament. We went into the Rhondda valley. I remembered how in 1949-50 I wrote a dissertation on the topic of the miners’ struggle in the Rhondda valley. Could I have imagined then that I would find myself here! We visited the home of a municipal advisor, the former mayor of Rhondda. He is elderly, but energetic, smart, and busy. And there was another one, whom he invited to meet with us; by his looks he is quite feeble, and lame as well. But in conversation, he turned out to be one of those whom Lenin called intelligent workers. Towards evening we returned to Cardiff. There, a theoretical discussion at the home of a university professor was organized for us. The professor is a specialist on early French literature. We spoke about the fate of the working class under the STR, about the fall of the old coal industry, about the ICM crisis.

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Very close to midnight, at the other end of Cardiff we met with veterans of the anti-war movement. There were many women, young leaders. I spoke about Gorbachev’s philosophy of international politics—for the present and the future. One girl, very pretty, wore me out with questions. Everyone is very concerned. It seems to be hopeless, but they continue to work, by the principle of “little steps.” We drove back to London for two and a half hours at night. Maslennikov and I spoke about all kinds of things, he is real, smart, educated, sharp. October 31, Thursday, was spent at the Parliament. Klinnock received me there. He spoke with me as if I know no less than Shevardnadze. And in general—during the entire trip I felt like a “highly significant person.” They took me seriously, like a plenipotentiary, an all-knowing CC CPSU representative. With Klinnock we spoke about the forthcoming highest-level conference in Geneva, about Thatcher, whom he called “little fool,” about the Strategic Defense Initiative, about England’s attitude towards Gorbachev. He spoke without haughtiness, even though it would seem like who am I and who is he—“the leader of Her Highness’ opposition!” This is not the first time—when I am abroad—as a rule, but especially now under Gorbachev, I feel like an absolutely free person who can speak about anything without glancing back at any official directives. They recommended that I visit the London National Bank. Penzin is the Moscow representative director there. He showed me his facilities there, told me a great deal, introduced some of the personnel. They are all English, but he has some of his own people from Moscow with him as well. He spoke of the fact that he’s been on this post 150

for ten years now, and no one has run away or betrayed, even though there is temptation all around, big money everywhere, absolutely free connections. These people are making enormous millions of [hard] currency for the country. November 1—after lunch I went to visit Rotshtein (he is a veteran of veterans of the Communist Party, a “Bolshevik,” the son a Lenin’s friend, whom the latter sometimes rocked on his knee). This is living history, but history, another confirmation of the fact that there is, and cannot be, any place for the Communists in the political life of England. November 9th, 1985. I was at the Kremlin reception—the first one without alcohol. There was still white and red [wine]. But, the buzz was not the same. People discussed the dresses of Gundareva and of Ignatenko’s wife. Kovalenko’s wife, a very pretty and attractive halfJapanese [was also present]. She mostly mixed with Arbatov: he is just back from China, and is euphoric; [she also spent time with him] because for him “everything is going well with Gorbachev:” they meet often, he writes him a great deal, Gorbachev warmly wished him happy holidays over the phone, complimented him (in relation to China) as “a smart and astute [member], whose work is useful” at the Politburo. Arbatov was at Ponomarev’s. He says that the talk didn’t work out. “What do you need it for?” I ask him. “Oh, for no specific reason.” He says that Ponomarev asked him to put a word in for him with the General Secretary! He even felt sorry for him!!

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Zagladin had time to whisper that Chebrikov soon will be in Grishin’s place—at the Moscow pre-Congress conference. It’s high time to kick out this scoundrel and dullard. Ponomarev continues to act overly busy… Now his favorite topic is the meeting of socialist countries’ CC Secretaries (Bucharest, December). He called Zimyanin and Rusakov, plus me, Shakhnazarov, Yermonsky. Compared to Zimyanin and Rusakov, our B.N. seems quite a mental giant and a bright intellect. Rusakov is just senile; he cannot grasp the most basic things: we had to go through the day’s agenda three times. M.V. (Zimyanin, “Mikhvas” in general usage) is shaky, as if all the time he is sorting something with his hands, he interrupts everyone, might say one thing and then the complete opposite. Both Rusakov and Zimyanin are living out their last months at their posts, and, of course, they both are nervous. It is terrible that one of these characters is the chief ideologist, and the other is the chief coordinator of our relations with socialist countries. By the way, Arbatov is already counting his strategic conquests: he gave rise to the General Secretary’s doubts about the military people, dampened his trust of the MFA people—Gromyko has been completely moved aside, no one takes his opinion into consideration anymore, even though on the protocol, the three names that appear all the time are: Gorbachev, Gromyko, Ryzhkov… as it was at first after the October 1964 Plenum, after Khrushchev. Incidentally, little by little a “rehabilitation” of Khrushchev is beginning. Abroad (I saw it myself) every now and then there are articles about him. Two weeks ago in the

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International Panorama on TV [sic] Bovin reminded of Khrushchev’s visit to Hearst’s
farm in the USA, and showed his portrait, respectfully calling him Nikita Serveevich. And it seems Gorbachev is leaning toward restoring his [Khrushchev’s] good name. In the intelligentsia circles there is talk that all of Gorbachev’s ideas were already budding under Khrushchev, but due to his little education and the absurdity of his character, he was not able to carry them into action, and if he did then it was in some caricature form, and he rushed about, afraid of his own boldness. Yakovlev, when I reminded him about The Children of Arbat, said in an offhand manner that Gorbachev (to whom he is very close right now) is decidedly against “cultism,” cuts off all whisperings about “maintaining authority,” “popularization,” etc. with which Brezhnev “started” and with all the resulting… And concerning The Children

of Arbat, I only told him, he says, that there is such a novel, and under our ridiculous
censorship it might end up in tamizdat, and besides, such censorship encourages people to stow away their work in a drawer. I did not get the point of his referring to the General Secretary... he must be afraid to fall from this sharp ascending rise of his... until he is sure how the very “essence” related to Rybakov’s book will be taken. November 11th, 1985. I talk with Yakovlev on the phone. He is restraining himself from displaying before me that he is already [part of] big leadership, a special confidant. He is uncomfortable with me, after all those ultra democratic and “sincere” conversations in the evening streets of Montreal, and after I did some things to help get him out of the Canadian exile. Nevertheless, [there is] a metallic ring is in his voice.

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We were talking about giving him two consultants for the preparation of the foundation of Gorbachev’s TV interview when he returns from Geneva. I suggested Sobakin and Yermonsky. He rejected Menshikov... just like Arbatov, he does not like him, but—for a good reason. Several hours later I remembered about Bovin—a very fitting author for an address to the people on such an occasion. Yakovlev called me, said that he thought about it too. But, firstly, my immediate boss (Zimyanin) cannot stand him. He is a minor figure of course and could be ignored (!!), but I don’t want to argue with him over this either!! And the second reason is Sashka (Bovin) himself: as soon as he exits the CC [building] after receiving such an assignment, all of Moscow will know that he is once again assigned to write an interview for the General Secretary!.. I told him: that’s true, he has hurt himself and let down other people with this many times. We decided that Yakovlev will not include him in the team that will be sent to Volynskoe today; but later, when the guys prepare something, he will summon Bovin, and, having “talked with him,” will assign him to work on the text. There is a great deal of all kinds of work, including the primary work that the Department is supposed to be doing right now—preparing the ICM, Social Democracy, and Revolutionary Democracy reviews for the Congress. Ponomarev “is not interested” in this, because he is afraid of these reviews: Gorbachev will not accept the halleluiah-ing and glossing, but he [Ponomarev] does not want to report the truth to the CC, thinking that it will be perceived as the result his, Ponomarev’s, poor work “on his object.” However, this is partly really so: if for the past ten to fifteen years people in the ICM had

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worked Gorbachev style, and not Ponomarev-Brezhnev style, the situation probably would be not as sad as it is right now. November 12th, 1985. I saw Gorbachev’s memo on how he plans to conduct affairs with Reagan in Geneva. Politburo, naturally, approved of it. - Not to deviate from the positions advanced in Paris, plus the additions that were made for the third round in Geneva. - Not to get worked up about regional problems, but also not to waive our right to “be in solidarity” with the “fighters for independence,” not to recognize the USA’s “vital interests” wherever they wish. - To agree that this meeting is only the beginning of a greater and regular dialogue and in general “we need to know how to live together,” we are different, but we must learn to respect this difference. - In a word, not to provoke Reagan in order not to intensify the threat, not to play up to the hawks. I was at the Secretariat. The state of the engineering industry was discussed. It is rotten. Only twenty one percent of the machines are at the world standard, and that is “at a stretch.” Another question is even more serious: the state of material resources for culture. The situation is thoroughly bad, even in Moscow. For example, there is the same number

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of theaters in the capital as there were in 1940, while the population has doubled. If every person in the Soviet Union would want to go to the theater, he will only be able to do it once every six years. The number of theaters around the Soviet Union has decreased by half since 1950: right now there are about six hundred. The expenditure on education and science has been decreasing in relative numbers since 1960, even though it is growing a little in absolute numbers. And in comparison with the USA’s and England’s expenditure on this, we are appallingly behind. It was striking that first Zimyanin, and then Ligachev himself, attacked the “thesis,” which for a long time was used to cover the cutting of resources for socialcultural needs, namely: defense! “We need it, of course! But we also need to put an end to this excuse, due to which we have brought matters to such a state.” November 16th, 1985. At work there is the routine stuff and a flow of information, mainly about the meeting in Geneva. It seems like a joint communiqué is in the offing, a pretty amicable one. Most likely a “spirit of Geneva” will arise, which, of course, will not remove the material preparation for war, but it will relax the confrontation, i.e. will strengthen the will to reject war as political means. Peaceful coexistence Gorbachev style is, in contrast to what we had before (regardless of whatever we said and wrote, and however we swore that we are against war and strong-arm tactics)—is “to live and let live:” seriously, properly, no kidding, without attempts to cheat, without attempts to get around and be superior after all. 156

B.N. was telling me about the last PB and “complained” that there were too many questions about staff: and everyone was “retired,” “retired...” In particular, five agricultural ministries were liquidated. In a word, every week there are more and more “formers”, and there are only a few people of Ponomarev’s age left. He makes the following declaration about the thirty-page report I did on the ICM’s work in the period between Congresses--“I have a seditious thought... Maybe we should not present this at all? Why should we attract attention? They will again say that the situation is “bad,” and all of that will be implied criticism of us...” I fervently objected: “It is precisely the argument that the situation is bad, which speaks in favor of presenting it. In their majority, your colleagues (because they do not have time to carefully consider the essence [of the matter]) think about the ICM in categories they were once taught in the Higher Party School (HPS), and think that we can give orders there, and thus the situation depends only on whether we, i.e. Ponomarev and the department, work well or not. We need to, finally, explain that the ICM about which they learned at the HPS has not existed for a long time now, and that nothing depends on our work (except, of course, self-isolation, if we decide to openly call everyone revisionists). Your colleagues must, finally, see the reality and evaluate our work from that position.” November 17th, 1985. Mit’ka and I walked in the frosty cold in the alleys behind B. Pigorovka. When I returned, I occupied myself with Marx’ favorite pastime—going through books. I leafed through a good deal of Tolstoy. “Following his suggestion” I jumped over to Pascal and Kant. In the multitude of themes that are natural during such a pastime, one 157

arose by chance—about fame, through which many, especially people who had recognized abilities (talent) in themselves, sought meaning in life. Pascal, Tolstoy, and Gogol are the extreme examples of the denial of “this concept.” However, they all found an alternative in faith. That is—they found no alternative to “spiritual lust” (as opposed to “bodily lust,” from the words of Tolstoy himself). Nevertheless, Lev Nikolaevich, in a foreword to Maupassant, whom he at first condemned (almost from the position of “social realism”), and twenty years later approved of, enthusiastically wrote: “Only the love of a woman is worth living for...” Fame, wealth—what is this for when you cannot buy a woman’s love with them. This is the only alternative... even, it turns out, at 65. November 20th, 1985. The consultants and I are composing speeches “for the worker, male collective farm worker and female collective farm worker,” which they will present at the USSR Supreme Soviet session on the results of Geneva... We are composing it, without knowing the results... But, not only for the worker and farmer, but also for the first secretary of the Leningrad obkom Soloviev! We’ve splendidly prepared the staff of the top echelon, which cannot speak about the foreign policy of its party without the “learned Jews...” Even though Soloviev is taking the place of Kirov... even Zhdanov... Ponomarev is as banal as usual. He tells me to prepare a report on the CPSU Program at the party meeting of the department. I reply: there is a limit to human strength. For the second week I am [working] alone, the other deputies are all in different places. There is a load of assignments, including from you, and routine work. 158

He says: This is necessary, Anatoly Sergeevich, necessary; take my report from the Academy of Sciences. Have you read it? (That is what the consultants and I wrote for him during the entire holiday season). Read it, read it, there is a great deal of important material there (either this is senility, or impudence, or naive shamelessness!). I say: I cannot do it that way. You know that I do not like to speak in public, but if I have to, I speak in my own way. And I never use other people’s (!) texts. He says: But of course... I myself never use other people’s texts (My God!), but sometimes it so happens that you have to, when there is no time. I advise you to take my text, Balmashnov has a copy. I can imagine what I would look like if I read that text, or any one of his texts, even if I personally wrote it. Aganbegyan spoke at our “Tuesday” (which is a regular reading, to which scholars and other well known people are invited by the Department). He described the economic situation, which is bad judging by all parameters. At the CC Secretariat, the issues of material resources for culture were discussed for the second time in a row. It is just a woeful picture. Alas! The platform from which Gorbachev started his movements is completely weak. God give him strength. The talks in Geneva (Gorbachev-Reagan) are in progress. I wonder whether the consultants and I guessed right when we wrote (on Ligachev’s and Ponomarev’s

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assignment) the drafts for PB resolutions for Geneva outcomes (without knowing the outcomes)—one closed and one to be published? We shall see. November 24th, 1985. The spirit of Geneva, the symbol of Geneva. Gorbachev’s interview is the source of a new understanding of the political world and of ourselves. Will we be able to take advantage of it? A cardinal thing happened: the arms race is continuing, nothing has changed in military confrontation, but a turning point in international relations is taking shape. We are coming closer to acknowledging that no one will start a war; to understanding that we cannot keep provoking it either in the name of communism, or in the name of capitalism. Gorbachev has revived the hopes that have appeared after the XX Congress. At the deputies conference B.N. told me about meeting Gorbachev in the airport. The latter told him in detail about what took place in Geneva. At first he saw the empty, lacking understanding, eyes of the president, who mumbled commonplace things from a piece of paper. Only towards the end of the second meeting was he able to establish a normal conversation. And in the end, Reagan finally opened up and even agreed to sign a joint declaration. Gorbachev also told him how Regan (the president’s assistant) visited our guys and told of the enthusiasm about Gorbachev’s actions, asked them to “keep on like this, pressure the president, persuade him, warm him up... for his own good.” November 30th, 1985.

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B.N., as I’ve already written, is fussing terribly, in every possible way inserting himself in the big (Geneva) affair. It is true that he was right about the outcomes of Geneva: both our drafts went through almost without changes, withstanding the competition with the Geneva experts and with the MFA versions. Yakovlev has been assigned to lead a work group under Gorbachev on the preparation of a draft report for the XXVII CPSU Congress. He has our October version handy, and asked the Department to give one consultant for the group. But no... B.N. is fussing about it too. He called me up and said that he spoke with Yakovlev, that he is prepared to give him Yermonsky, that goes without saying, he says, but he also promised to make another, updated, version. And right away he assigned me to prepare it in three days. Arbatov came by. He was in Geneva as an expert. Gave thirty-seven interviews there, says that two teams came together there—wall to wall: the “doves” (Arbatov, Velikhov, Sagdeev) and the “hawks” (Zamyatin, Kornienko, General Chervov39). Yakovlev was in the role of a balancer. It became known from General Kobysh, who was also there, that Gorbachev reprimanded Kornienko and Chervov for picking at the text of the joint declaration, for arguing with the Americans on every point, for imposing all kinds of our wordings and almost frustrating the whole affair—which was the acceptance of the declaration (our initiative, by the way). This is supported by Yakovlev’s remarks, he told me over the phone: “What a jerk this Kornienko is, what a blockhead! I did not know him like this, I

39

General Nikolai Chervov—Head of the Treaty and Legal Department of the Defense Ministry

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thought differently of him. But now I am afraid that the MFA might ruin the whole positive effect of Geneva for us.” I assured Yakovlev that Kornienko is like this, and has always been like this, and that more than once I clashed with him on these grounds at the “theoretical” dachas. But he always had the upper hand, since he was under Gromyko’s patronage, under the MFA’s total monopoly over all our foreign policy. In Prague, Gorbachev informed the Warsaw Pact leaders on the outcomes of Geneva. He, as well as Husak and Jaruzelsky, spoke in favor of changing the style of these kinds of meetings, believing that we must put an end to the situation in which an exchange of monologues takes place and in which everyone keeps on convincing each other of what we all are already long convinced. Yesterday with B.N. and Rykin (deputy of the German sector) we went to Moscow’s sculptor studios. We were looking at the possible versions of Thälmann memorial statue. One is by the brothers Artamonov (that is the Moldavian mafia, headed by Luchinsky); the other by Krymov. Rykin and Herbert Miss are speaking in favor of the latter. I also pressured B.N. carefully in favor of Krymov. His Thälmann is in a sea cadet’s uniform. I think he’s good, but designed for an intellectual perception and a rather good knowledge of Thälmann’s biography. The passerby of the masses does not have to know it, the “image of the leader” is clearer to him. That’s what Ponomarev understood. But Krymov will have to work some more: his Thälmann is a young man, while he became “Führer” when he was already forty, and was imprisoned at forty-eight. December 8th, 1985. 162

B.N. called us together before sending us to the Gorky dacha, where we are to produce a new version for the XXVII Congress. The boys were saying some smart things. Ponomarev [was saying] his usual banalities, very far from the “Gorbachev spirit.” I did not get wound up. I thought it was useless: we will do what we can to make it maximally in the Gorbachev style, and then let him change it as he wants. And that’s what we did. We worked with enthusiasm. I presented the text to him on Wednesday evening, and on Thursday he summoned me to Moscow and showed how he corrected [the draft]. I carefully looked through his alterations, came over to him and said impudently: “Boris Nikolaevich, it is striking that you have knocked out with about ninety-five percent precision all the places that were directly taken from Gorbachev, and not only ideas, but unquoted phrases, terms, concepts, even specific words that he likes to use... - But I didn’t do it on purpose! - Of course, - I reassured him. I went to my office and was thinking to myself: that’s the thing, that you did not do it on purpose. You, to be sure, did not read Gorbachev carefully, and so you remember neither his words, nor phrases; you do not accept his innovation, his really principally new politics, which is the only thing that can save us from war. You do not believe that he will be able to achieve anything in either the foreign arena or domestically. That is why you can so unerringly knock out everything Gorbachev-like from our text. All your life you kept adjusting to circumstances, that is why you survived under all the regimes. But this time you do not have enough gray matter to understand what’s going on, to 163

realistically evaluate how your colleagues, and Gorbachev, perceive you, the people who decide whether you will be in this place in the future. You have not learned even from Gromyko’s experience, who was politely and honorably pushed out of real politics not only because he is old, but because his policies, which he almost completely lorded over for ten years, have collapsed. Instead of finally taking up your work—the ICM—before the Congress, you poke your nose in other people’s work and only cause irritation, which becomes contempt. You were not even ashamed to impose yourself on Yakovlev for the work group at Volynskoe. Returning to Gorbachev, I tried to pretty blatantly restore a maximum of Gorbachev’s style in the text. I did not achieve much. ... One episode from the argument about the “new thinking.” - What thinking,—B.N. exclaimed—We have the right thinking. Let the Americans change their thinking. I show him Gorbachev’s text, where in black and white it says what he means when he speaks of our new thinking. - I don’t know, I don’t know. He said that in Paris, in Geneva—for them, for the West! - Does that mean that you think this is just demagogy? - One needs to know how to conduct the fight... (??)

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Or about the idea that only through the improvement and changing of our own society can we win the competition with imperialism. B.N.: “Are you talking about peaceful coexistence? I wrote about that in the materials for the XIX Party Congress. What’s new in that?” I: “What is new is that the idea now sounds quite differently. Stalin also said that he is for a world without war. Nobody believed him, but people were ready to believe Khrushchev. For almost twenty years, Brezhnev talked profusely about peaceful coexistence. He spoke at the Peace Congress, responded to the calls of different peaceloving powers, received numerous peace-loving delegations and swore to his peaceable intentions. But nobody believed him. But everyone believed Gorbachev right away, because he brought together the word and the deed.” B.N.: “What do you find to be wrong about our policies? That we explored outer space? That we created intercontinental missiles? Are you against power, which is the only thing imperialism takes into consideration?” In the end, the text was sent in Ponomarev’s interpretation. I called Yermonsky at Volynskoe and told him about these discussions. This is what I am worried about in this affair: the point is not in the text, which will be written without us, and not any worse. The point is that it is shameful and disappointing to appear an idiot just when something real is taking place. For how many years under Brezhnev we, the international specialists, were the liberals, even revisionists. We insisted on the freedom and originality of thought, and sometimes even

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of action (in relation to fraternal parties, the Social Democratic and other movements, and the West in general). That is—we wanted, waited, and strove to bring closer that, which began under Gorbachev. And now we turn into conservatives and blockheads... thanks to Ponomarev. December 14th, 1985. There is a freedom in the press that was inconceivable a year, or even six months ago—in the newspapers, magazines, and already on television (by the way, today it was announced that Lapin was dismissed). For over a month a discussion around an article called “Truth and Half-truth” by a certain Karpova is printed in the Literary Gazette. Two years ago, the minimal consequences for this would be dismissal from the Party and the Writer’s Union. And what reserves open up: of intelligence, culture, professional writing, and the Russian language itself! Take for example the leading article in Soviet Russia from December 10, which gives instructions to Russian writers before their Congress... That means an explosion of courage [to search] for truth has taken place, and can now be stopped only by imprisoning people... There was a call from one of the Party Organization Department sector deputies. - Anatoly Sergeevich, there is a decision for the all deputies of the CC apparatus to participate in oblast and major city pre-Congress conferences. I: You probably have some kind of assignment—who, where, when?

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He: Yes, I will send it to you. I: Are all the deputies of our department considered, or only specific people? He: Everyone except Zagladin. He is going by a different assignment, since he is going to be elected delegate to the Congress and to the CC body. I: Thank you! Thus, I, candidate to the CC, will not be promoted to full membership, and that means the time has come to decide—to leave before the Congress with a three hundred ruble pension, or to wait, and, in a year, having been in the position of one pushed back, to be “let go” with two hundred rubles. December 23rd, 1985. I just got back from Malta, where I headed the CPSU delegation to meet with the Communists and Laborites, who are in power there right now. On the way back I visited Rome. Today is a day of rejoicing for all of Moscow: Grishin has finally been dismissed. He is replaced by Yeltsin. Yesterday B.N. moved me as far away as possible from the telephones and told me in a half-whisper: “the first” (he showed his on his fingers, did not pronounce the name) demanded that Menshikov never set foot in the CC apparatus again. His conversation with Americans in a restaurant was recorded. He said that he, Menshikov, is the core of the brain trust that supplies Gorbachev with all the major ideas. B.N. charged

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me with job placement for Menshikov (who, incidentally, is his own protégé, his pet). But, when I find a job for him, I cannot explain the reasons [why he is changing jobs]. He suggested, maybe Arbatov’s institute? But how would that be,—I objected—when Arbatov considers him to be the scum of scum. December 28th, 1985. Razumov, first deputy of the Party Organization Department called and said that “I [Chernayev] was being sent” to Tambov to a regional party conference. That is where the elections to the Congress will take place. And yesterday the first secretary of the Tambov obkom called. He said that I would be the “chief party worker from Moscow” there, and will have to speak. What might that mean? At any rate, it is a “different matter” than what was mentioned above on this topic. I visited Arbatov at Barvikha. He is there on prophylactic treatment after a micro heart attack. We walked around the paths, talked. Gorbachev sent him a draft of the New Year’s address to the Americans. I saw your corrections in the text, he says, the ones you told me about. The text is fairly dry; it was prepared at Shevardnadze’s. I told Arbatov that the day before, an article was circulated around the PB with a rebuttal to the Americans on regional problems. I had to alter it drastically: it was written loudly, even shrilly, as if there was no Geneva. It seems the minister is still under the charm of cheap journalism. Yurka [Arbatov] boasted that he incited doctor Laun (“The Doctors for Peace Movement”) to press on Gorbachev during the meeting for the latter not to revoke the January 1st moratorium on nuclear explosions. I read a transcript of this meeting. Laun 168

was, really, persistently and even blatantly persuading Gorbachev not to do it: all the energy of your new policies of the past six months will be smeared, people will again stop believing you. It seemed to me that Gorbachev began to hesitate. In addition, Dobrynin also grew bolder: yesterday he sent a telegram from Washington with the same idea. I think the moratorium will be extended after all, even though just a month ago there was a PB resolution (a confirmed letter to Reagan) about the resumption of explosions and about the propaganda “to justify it.” Belyaev (Shauro’s deputy, deputy of the CC Culture Department), the one who was explaining to Rybakov what his The Children of Arbat meant, was moved to the post of the editor of the Soviet Culture three days after Grishin’s dismissal. In that way, he was taken out of the “literary process.” Shauro himself is in the hospital, and people are saying that he will not come back to work from there. His first deputy Tumanova is on the verge of retirement. In a word, a complete dispersal of this ideological sub-center, which, incidentally, was one of the persecutors of Lyubimov’s theater on Taganka. By the way, there I met Vasiliy Romanovich Sitnikov (a person of high rank in the KGB; who was Andropov’s advisor; criticized the Taganka, and at the same time shielded it from Grishin, Shauro & Co.). He is a handsome, jovial, educated man. Recently he told me the following: Gromyko is a world-scale thief. He and his wife collected tributes from all the embassies and trade representatives for position appointments. Gromyko knew that Andropov knew everything about him, and when the latter became General Secretary, he really toned down. But Chebrikov, who replaced Andropov, also knows everything. Gromyko provided himself with an honorary burial

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(when the time comes) by getting his bearings on Gorbachev in time, and appeared as his “godfather.” But he knows that Gorbachev also knows everything now. *** Thus, the year 1985—looking back 17 years later. Now it is recognized by almost everyone as a threshold in the history of the country and the world. All major dates are relative; they appear that way especially when later people find out the details of the events related to them. For example, that’s how October 25th (November 7th) 1917 in Petrograd appears. Many will agree that in the XX century the years 1985 and 1917 are comparable in the scale (not in the character) of their consequences. The author of the journal entries presented in this volume, as others like him, who were close to the highest leadership, wanted and was waiting for greater changes; he understood their necessity and already had grounds for connecting them with Gorbachev. Nevertheless, not one of these people could even remotely imagine that his election as CC CPSU General Secretary on March 11, 1985 (true events of Gorbachev’s election are carefully reproduced in the journal, disproving the conjectures about other versions and opponents), and, a month later, his speech at the April CC Plenum would be the beginning of such immense and tragic changes in the fate of the country and the world. Gorbachev himself, as he later admitted more than once, had not imagined that having

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opened just a little door, he would provoke such a torrent that would break down the entire, seemingly everlasting and indestructible, Soviet dam. The magic words “perestroika” and “glasnost” had not yet been uttered in 1985. At least, they had not yet become the symbols of the initiated reforms. And, no cardinal reforms that would strongly affect society had been undertaken, if one doesn’t consider the start on the campaign against alcoholism, which once again (in history) demonstrated that good intentions, once they become government policy, often bring more evil than some criminal plan. A justified and even necessary measure, once included in the context of big politics, turned out to be a fatal mistake. But something extremely important was accomplished this year—the style of politics was changed. When the CC members, colleagues, the press, and people abroad took notice of his new style, Gorbachev became angry: he thought that “style” is something superficial, unworthy of his intentions; he was afraid that with such evaluations he would appear ambitious, someone who tried to be original in order to look different from the people he replaced. And he was mistaken. In a rigidly bureaucratic society, which had become stiff in rules and dogmas, where people grew accustomed to servility and hierarchical laws as behavioral norms, where the fear for saying a word too many was mixed with one’s blood, where the saying “I am the boss—you an idiot, you’re the boss—I’m an idiot” virtually defined people’s relations at work and in life... and other such things that demeaned a person’s dignity and

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offended his common sense—in such a society people were stunned by a demonstrative rejection of all of this coming from the very top. Gorbachev would go into the street and begin a discussion (!) with the first group he came across... this had not happened since the 1920s. He spoke in his own words, did not read from a piece of paper, did not use formal language worked out in nomenclature apparatuses. He prohibited hanging his portraits and carrying them at demonstrations. Sharply and with scorn, he stopped the familiar glorification. The new General Secretary threw aside the “grand” manners of “the leader,” the unapproachable divinity; he completely liquidated this pernicious legacy of a tsarist instinct, rooted in centuries. He appeared before the people as a person who seemed to be “like everyone else,” but... a real leader, whom the people wanted, whom they had missed for a long time. Gorbachev put an end to political repressions (even though he did not right away finish off with the consequences of past repressions). He removed fear from the social and political atmosphere. He made it so that at the Politburo, at the CC, at the Plenums, at meetings— problems were really discussed, rather than being obediently “approved” regardless whether you agree or not...

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He encouraged and required each person to say what he thought, “to tell it like it is.” And he checked the people who by habit or out of subservience checked those who dared to speak their mind. He allowed criticizing leadership publicly... and of increasingly higher and higher rank. Gorbachev presented his wife to the world as his life companion (in clear defiance of the shameful status of leader’s wives as household accessories, impermissible for presenting to the public). All this was style, even though it was done unintentionally, not for the sake of style, but by the inner motives of his nature, and “for the sake of the liberation of the minds,” as he said. And all this is the year 1985. In the strictly political sense, the year is marked by, obviously, staff changes, mainly in the highest echelon. Gorbachev disposed of some figures (alas! Not right away and not of all of those, who should have been disposed of!). But he did this not because they were not ready to serve the new “first,” the more so not because of some ideological reasons; but by reason of their worthlessness, incompetence, ignorance, their “accidental” assignment to high posts (the products of Brezhnev’s, Chernenko’s favoritism); or because they discredited themselves glaringly at their posts, giving rise to well deserved contempt in their circles and in society. From the start, Gorbachev conceived the idea to include “the human factor” into the reform process: to arouse energy, initiative, and enthusiasm in people. From the point of view of political science, which emerged later, that meant giving society a natural flow, to inspire it to “self-propel.” But society had been long unaccustomed to living 173

without orders and without the petrified forms of its organization. Gorbachev’s error is understandable—it came from an innately democratic nature. The times were hard for all of us, and it was hardly possible to understand (all the more, to agree!) that a “natural” progress of society cannot serve to “perfect” and “improve” the system (of “advanced socialism”), of which everyone was so tired, and under which life was so bad. Also obvious was the new General Secretary’s stress on raising (and renovating) the role of the party. By the momentum of the very essence of the Soviet regime, he expected to make the CPSU a vanguard and a motor for reforms... As Khrushchev in his time, but with different motives, opposed the party to the “statesman” Malenkov, the party that under Stalin had been in disregard and was monitored by the NKVD-KGB. Insight came to Gorbachev with a big (and fatal!) delay. 1985 was a year of the exposure (and comprehension) of the real situation in the country and the world. Data came into the country’s government’s command (and people were less and less ashamed to talk about it), which in essence gave evidence of a real crisis in all aspects of life. The launching platform for deep reforms appeared quite unsteady, and in some places dilapidated. The Politburo and the CC Secretariat took, as they say, measures, but for a while they still came down to the traditional “increase,” “demand,” “order,” “elevate the discipline,” “set an example;” they appealed to conscience and conscientiousness, to the Communist duty, etc. The intensive emergence into the international arena with the new foreign policy was dictated first of all by the grave state of the country’s economy. We had to urgently 174

change the West’s attitude toward the Soviet Union, had to put an end to the confrontation, the arms race, shake off the unbearable burden of the STR (the reader may notice in the journal materials that already in this first year of the perestroika, discontent with the pressure and voracity of the STR is beginning to show through in the speeches of some Politburo members and CC Secretaries, which would have been blasphemous and punishable a short while before), and, possibly, to establish more effective external economic links. It is also the result (and, probably, chiefly) of a personal factor— Gorbachev’s moral aversion to a nuclear threat to all humanity. The changes are emphasized here. But precisely as a result of the “style,” and by no means because of more and already troubling disarmament and declarative Moscow initiatives, which were also present. Gorbachev’s appearance, behavior, ability to conduct a dialogue, to convince, to reason to the point instead of getting off with banalities that set one’s teeth on edge, gave the public and Western leaders hope for finally ending the cold war. I suppose the reader noticed the prominent part that the International Communist Movement occupies in this year’s materials. That is explained, of course, by the author’s place of work. But the subjects that he touches upon also are significant for that period’s political process. Firstly, the most important character of these episodes is B.N. Ponomarev. He was, by his character and intellectual baggage, by far not the worst in the top echelon of the Soviet ruling stratum, in the so-called elite. But he is a typical figure among the statesmen with whom Gorbachev had to begin perestroika, not only in Moscow but on 175

the level of the entire party and State. And not all of them had such advisors, which due to specific circumstances were with Ponomarev and tried to somehow correct his behavior and to act in the Gorbachev style. Secondly, the journal’s international Communist themes show a very important aspect, a matter of principle in the position of the Soviet Union. Objectively, and rapidly so, it was ceasing to be an ideological stronghold. ... It lost all historical perspectives, because for a long time already the ICM had not been a real factor in world development. Only the momentum kept it moving, and that was disappearing before our eyes. By the same momentum, the CPSU continued to pose as the ICM’s leading power. But the real leadership, embodied by Gorbachev and his then closest colleagues, did this more and more reluctantly, as if paying tribute to the “international duty” inherited from Lenin and the October. At the same time (despite the endeavors of Ponomarev and others like him), they tried to do away with the Comintern methods of relating to the “fraternal parties.” One could more and more distinctly sense the lack of information on the Communist Movement in the leadership and the CPSU ranks. And it was more and more frankly said that it is time to get rid of the burden (including the financial burden) of being the “older brother.” For practical [purposes], especially for the new foreign policy, it had become unnecessary and even harmful. Communist Parties could no longer be an instrument of not only USSR’s foreign policy, but even of propaganda in its defense. By this time, they were disappointed in the Soviet Union as the “leading light of the future.” Nevertheless, Gorbachev tried to make them “simply disinterested friends.”

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On some level the same was true for the “national liberation movement,” this is especially strikingly evident in the Afghan problem. Thirdly, the episodes related to the CC International Department’s work debunk the West’s deep and inveterate delusion (one partly cultivated by the CIA and such organizations for Cold War purposes), that precisely here was the center of Moscow’s subversive activities, that Ponomarev was the “Gray Cardinal,” who commanded the secret service (the KGB), and the MFA, and other foreign policy organs, and in general determined all of the USSR’s foreign policy. Fourthly, the role and position of “speechwriters” [sic] in the CPSU system of leading the country shows quite clearly: when policies were worked out and presented mostly through the preparation of speeches for the major heads, who were capable of neither thinking, nor (as a rule) writing competently. These “staffers,” together with some intellectuals “from the side,” while composing speeches for other people, tried to infuse elements of common sense into policies. Incidentally, since on the inside and the outside they were perceived to be CC representatives (!), by their behavior, erudition, and thought that was not always orthodox, they made it seem urbu et orbi [sic]--since such people exist close to the very “top,” then everything is not hopeless in this country, and there is some human resource for Gorbachev’s innovation. Such was this year 1985, mainly “a year of style” that changed the atmosphere in the country and partially outside. Now it is remembered, at least by those who back them enthusiastically rushed into Gorbachev’s politics, in a kind of romantic halo.

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Anatoly S. Chernyaev Diary

1986

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January 1st, 1986. At the department1 everyone wished each other to celebrate the New Year 1987 “in the same positions.” And it is true, at the last session of the CC (Central Committee) Secretariat on December 30th, five people were replaced: heads of CC departments, obkom [Oblast Committee] secretaries, heads of executive committees. The Politizdat2 director Belyaev was confirmed as editor of Soviet Culture. [Yegor] Ligachev3 addressed him as one would address a person, who is getting promoted and entrusted with a very crucial position. He said something like this: we hope that you will make the newspaper truly an organ of the Central Committee, that you won’t squander your time on petty matters, but will carry out state and party policies... In other words, culture and its most important control lever were entrusted to a Stalinist pain-in-the neck dullard. What is that supposed to mean? Menshikov’s case is also shocking to me. It is clear that he is a bastard in general. I was never favorably disposed to him; he was tacked on [to our team] without my approval. I had to treat him roughly to make sure no extraterritoriality and privileges were allowed in relation to other consultants, and even in relation to me (which could have been done through [Vadim] Zagladin,4 with whom they are dear friends). I resisted the proposition of him becoming head of the sector after Mostovets: [Boris] Ponomarev5 tried to persuade me and to pressure me, and only some unfavorable rumor about Menshikov that reached B.N. [Ponomarev] at that moment helped me to prevent him from getting that post. And more in that vein. But that’s not what I wanted to mention. I wanted to mention the indifference with which everyone met his banishment: as if it is just routine, as if everything that he has done over these 2-3 years—and he knew how to do his work—should be crossed out and forgotten. That’s the value of our work. Renewal of the staff continues and speeds up before the Congress.6 Zagladin told me that [Andrei] Aleksandrov7 is planning to leave. He already spoke about it with

International Department of the Central Committee of the CPSU Political publishing agency 3 Yegor Ligachev, Politburo member, and number two person in the party hierarchy in the early period of perestroika. Was brought by Andropv from Siberia as one of promising politicians. 4 Vadim Zagladin—Deputy Head of the International Department of the CC CPSU 5 Boris Ponomarev—Head of the International Department of the CC CPSU 6 XXVII Congress of the CPSU
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Gorbachev. He did not try to persuade him to stay. Aleksandrov explained to Vadim [Zagladin] that “since he will not make the team” (i.e. he will not be elected to the CC), he does not feel comfortable staying...” and all of a sudden B.N. spoke about this with me. “Did you hear?” he says. – I heard! – I was surprised by his reaction. He was all confused and tense, stepped away from the telephones again and started saying: How could that be! He (i.e. Aleksandrov) has such experience, such knowledge, he is so intelligent and educated, how could it be that all these qualities are not needed? You know, —B.N. went on—I was told that it is because he wants to get benefits and a large pension, which he would not have if he retired from a position other than that of the General Secretary’s adviser. What, is he so poor? Or so materialistic? – You know, B.N. – I said – it is indeed difficult to make it on the 200 rubles of the regular pension. – Really?! – Yes, – I said. This entire conversation was on Ponomarev’s side a conversation about himself. It is not without reason that he also asked how old Aleksandrov was (68). He was very worried about the consequences of the Congress for “himself.” He arouses burning contempt in me—all his life he was one of those people who believed that it is not “him for the revolution, but the revolution for him” (a quote from Lenin, recently recalled by Ligachev in a speech in Baku). He is incapable of appreciating Gorbachev’s role; he cannot acknowledge either his talent at statesmanship or his policies, since Gorbachev for him is absolute evil. He, Gorbachev, not only ends Ponomarev’s career, which has run for over half a century (under all the regimes), but crosses out and sends into oblivion all his “collected works” (which were not written by him), all his pretensions at appearing as the “theoretician of our Leninist party.” He is not even allowing him to play Kuusinen’s role (under Khrushchev). A curious detail in this context: Cervetti and Ciaromonte—members of the Italian Communist Party Politburo—are in Moscow right now. They are on a holiday, but are

Andrei Alexandrov-Agentov—Brezhnev’s foreign policy aid, who continued in this position under Gorbachev, and was replaced by Chernyaev in March 1986

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also supposed to prepare [Alessandro] Natta’s8 visit and meeting with Gorbachev. Gorbachev asked Zagladin how things were going “with this:” drafts of summary statements, communiqués, problems, remarks on their program theses (for their Congress in March). Zagladin answered that everything was being prepared. Well, what I’m getting at is: Gorbachev said that he would not meet with them, but Ligachev would, so to give him everything that was necessary. Zagladin asked him: Ligachev will meet with them alone? Gorbachev: yes, alone, i.e. without Ponomarev... !!! So that’s that. And it makes sense. M.S. knows that it is exactly Ponomarev who “demanded his ideological rights” and told the Italians how to live and work in their own home. He is exactly the reason why the relations between the PCI [Italian Communist Party] and the CPSU were coming to a nearly complete breach. He knows that the Italians despise Ponomarev and want nothing to do with him. That is why it would be just absurd to “let out” Ponomarev on the Italians now, when they come to Moscow to prepare a meeting between two General Secretaries; a meeting, which should become the starting point of a new era not only in relations with the PCI, but possibly with all of ICM [International Communist movement]. [“Letting out” Ponomarev] would mean showing them that we have not forgotten the “weight of the past,” and that in essence we are not planning to change anything. So the option with “Ligachev alone” is not only the attitude toward Ponomarev personally, it is a change of course. But for B.N. it will be a dreadful message. (Zagladin, by the way, is undecided about whether he should tell Ponomarev that he is being factored out of the very work that he claimed as his greatest merit before the Party... or should he find out from Ligachev or somebody else?... Technically, Zagladin is his immediate subordinate and cannot conceal such matters from him...) Today in the program “Vremya”9 there was an exchange of addresses by Reagan and Gorbachev to the Soviet and American people, respectively. The idea is American, but M.S. [Gorbachev] did not hesitate for a second... At any rate, Hitler, for example,

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Alessandro Natta—General Secretary of the Italian Communist Party Main TV evening news program

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would not be allowed to address the Soviet people even in 1940. So here is an example of the change in political mindset that is also expected of the people. January 6th, 1986. And so B.N. was left out [of the meeting] with Cervetti and Ciaromonte. Ligachev received them. By the way, Ciaromonte asked Ligachev’s opinion about Yevtushenko’s speech at the RSFSR Writers’ Congress (about which Western propaganda is buzzing). Ligachev was very professional in his answer, saying: I do not see anything reprehensible in it, although I probably would have spoken differently about those matters. The most important is how Yevtushenko spoke; it was in the spirit of the present day policies and the atmosphere that we want to create in life. The only thing I would not have said, were I in his place, is that the theme of Stalin is “taboo” here. We, Ligachev said, have lived through it, suffered through it, rethought it, and turned the page over for good. Right now we have a huge load of important new work and concerns, and we have no need to raise the past and heat up passions that would distract us from daily problems. From this I reach the conclusion that The Children of Arbat10 will never see the light of day. Bikinin confirmed this (he is now [Alexander] Yakovlev’s11 deputy, the latter gave him my copy to read). I asked him why (and he is a very progressive, unorthodox, smart guy). He replied that right now it cannot be published. - Is that your opinion, or the “official” one? - It’s mine and general. I’ll tell you when I come over. January 7th, 1986. Menshikov came over, spent an hour here. He kept trying to figure out (from memory) what it was that he said and where, that got him driven out like that. I sympathized and kept quiet. “I’m sorry that I came to complain,” he said, “But there is nobody else to go to. I tried Zagladin, since we’ve been best friends for 30 years. But he
Anatoly Rybakov, The Children of Arbat—book about growing up in Stalin’s times, which was published only in 1987 and instantly became a national phenomenon because of its candid description of the Stalinist regime and political persecution. 11 Alexander Yakovlev—member of Central Committee, who was elevated by Gorbachev, and later became his most influential supporter and new thinker.
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said: I’ve told you everything there was to tell, and we have nothing more to talk about. Sorry, I have pressing matters to attend to.” And Menshikov started crying. Such is Zagladin. It’s hideous... Even though in Zagladin’s place, Menshikov would have probably done the same thing... Then for an hour more I endured Boris Likhachev’s lamentations over the phone. He is being cast out of The Communist by [Richard] Kosolapov.12 But I cannot defend him because he’s a scatterbrain and a blabbermouth, a talker and an inveterate liar to boot. I told him to go to Zimyanin, but only if there is something serious regarding Kosolapov, because otherwise it would be ridiculous. There is “discontent” about Kosolapov brewing at the top. Ponomarev recounted that M.S. had supposedly spoken in the circle of [Central Committee] members and candidates about the fact that social sciences and philosophy are too bookish. “They write their dissertations, but do not participate in the real events that the Party is submerged in. The Communist, for example, is headed by a CC member, but we see no pay-offs. You, Mikhail Vasilievich (Zimyanin), promised to work on this, but haven’t done anything yet...” January 12th, 1986. The night of the 9th [I took a train] from Paveletsky [terminal] to Tambov, [going to] an oblast-wide pre-Congress party conference. I got back today at 5:30 in the morning, also by train. The party conference itself was on Friday and Saturday. The report was on the boring side, too factual, too charged, and too intentionally self-critical. On the other hand, there were debates. Gorbachev’s initiative has liberated people. Of course, they had prepared notes and haven’t yet learned to speak without relying on a piece of paper, but it is already very different from what I heard 5 years ago in Ryazan. Courage broke through, and the desire to change, to acknowledge, and readiness to put an end to the disgraceful practices—personal as well as public. And many things were simply at the level of real intelligent discussion, with analysis and ideas, and all this was done without looking back at what this or that superior might say (or think). People spoke from the heart, and not for the sake of witticisms, not to parade bravery and frankness. That’s how quickly Gorbachev’s era is beginning to show. And what people!
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Richard Kosolapov—editor of main party journal The Communist.

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Communists... the name of communist is revived, people are beginning to value it... A dairywoman... she has everything: achievements, milk yields, extra yields, fame, etc. And she spoke of school reforms and about how she is teaching children on her farm to combine learning with labor... and how that should be done... or she “generalizes experience,” herself a young country girl. In general among the presenters, the women appeared stronger, more sincere, and pert. I understood that I had to speak. I was seated next to the chairman. I was in the first place everywhere; it was evident to everybody that I was the “principal person” (despite the fact that there were ministers and others from Moscow in the delegation). By the way, I did not get the sense that I would be the “principal person” when Razumov (first deputy of the Party Organizational Department) called me and said, “You’re being sent to Tambov.” But, it seems Podolsky was told that I’m not only deputy head of the Department, but also a candidate CC member, and was sent foremost in this capacity. So when the chairman called me to speak, the mention of my “regalia” caused a stir, since I was, in fact, the only person “from the CC staff” among the 800 conference participants. I was nervous the night before my presentation (though nervous doesn’t even begin to describe it). I could not decide what I should talk about, a foreign affairs man amidst these people, who are concerned with life-related, practical, concrete matters, and who are speaking in such a new, qualified way about their work. In the evening I mentally sketched at least some “connection” to what has already been said on this stage. But as always, even from the days on the front, when you are completely engaged in the work and there is no way back, a cool calmness sets in, all the nerves quiet down and you assume full control of yourself, with ease and outward confidence. I had planned to speak for about 12-15 minutes, ended up speaking for 22. [The audience] listened in complete stillness. But this is not very revealing, because a provincial public is well wishing and grateful. A surer indicator is my personal feeling that a “contact with the audience” appeared immediately and lasted until the end. Then was the oblast committee Plenum. Since the oblast party leadership “disappeared” upon the closing of the conference and I turned out to be the most senior (from the CC!), I lead the Plenum on [Yuri] Afanasiev’s13 prompting. Podolsky was
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Yuri Afanasiev--liberal thinker and later head of the Humanities University in Moscow.

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elected, some secretaries, bureau members. And once again [I performed] like a regular, as if this type of thing is habitual for me... But if I hadn’t spoken at the conference, I wouldn’t have had such “impudence” in me—there was no moral right for me to “determine” the leadership for a 100,000 member party organization.14 Lev Mikhailovich (second secretary) almost organized a trip to Michurinsk (right after the conference), to visit the Michurin and A. Gerasimov museum, and to take the train to Moscow from there. I liked the idea, but during one of the breaks he came up to me and said: “the first [secretary] wants to go with you, I have to stand to attention.” I responded by declining the whole trip, not only because it would have been interesting for me to go with Lev Mikhailovich, and boring and strained with Yevgeny Mikhailovich (the first secretary), but also because what kind of a persona am I, that I should be accompanied by the first secretary, especially after such intense days! And I did not succumb to Podolsky’s subsequent persuasions. But he didn’t leave me alone to just walk about Tambov in the remaining hours before the train (and how I wanted to, together just with Leva Onikov)! I had to walk around with the first [secretary]... we strolled down streets, went into some shops, came out to the quay of Una. It is beautiful, well-kept. [We passed] by the mansion of the merchant Aseev—supplier of cloth for overcoats for His Imperial Majesty’s army... Then was the train. Almost completely empty sleeping car. Long conversations with Onikov—about the party’s past, the reasons for disgraceful practices, about the “decline” of the Russian bases in the “pan-Soviet” party (second secretaries, not quite right...), about B.N. and his “party history,” about Stalin, Yakovlev, our colleagues, and about what will happen to the CC staff after the Congress, about the “logic” of staff changes, etc. etc. He is very interesting, very well informed, and thinks deeply, this Russified ideological Armenian. January 13th, 1986. The most permanent impression of Tambov was that it’s very uncomfortable being in the position of the “big leadership from Moscow.” Especially since I sincerely

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Anatoly Chernyaev was elected as representative to the XXVII CPSU Congress as representative of the Tambov oblast party organization.

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considered all those people—the delegates, party members, obkom secretaries—to be more significant and useful than I am. They are working, they have a real pursuit. And I, elevated to the high levels of the hierarchy by the long arm of coincidence and “apparatus logic,” am in general an amateur, moreover not of the right profile to lead a 100,000 member organization. Only after the speech, that is—after having done something for them, did I feel that I had some “right” to be in the position, in which I found myself, namely—senior in the party hierarchy. January 18th, 1986. Gorbachev’s statement. It seems he really decided to end the arms race at all costs. He is going for that very “risk,” in which he has boldly recognized the absence of risk, because no one will attack us even if we disarm totally. And in order to revive the country and set it on a steady track, it is necessary to free it from the burden of the arms race, which is depleting more than just economics. My God! How lucky we are that in the PB there was a man—Andropov—who showed some truly “authoritative” wisdom, who discovered Gorbachev and pulled him out of the provinces!.. And him personally: while there are, I think, 95 regions and oblasts in the USSR. And then he stuck him to Brezhnev! If Andropov hadn’t found Gorbachev, who would we be left with? The pretenders for [Konstantin] Chernenko’s place were: [Viktor] Grishin, [Grigory] Romanov, and [Andrei] Gromyko.15 One can imagine what kind of a fate would have been waiting for Russia if any one of them had taken lead, especially after Chernenko. It’s terrible to imagine!.. But we’ve got a rare leader: a very smart man, educated, “alive,” honest, with ideas and imagination. And he is brave. Myths and taboos (including ideological prejudices) are nothing to him. He will get over any kind of those.

15

Politburo members who were seen as possible contenders for the position of General Secretary after Chernenko’s death. Viktor Grishin—First Secretary of the Moscow City Party organization, Grigory Romanov—First Secretary of Leningrad Oblast party organization, Andrei Gromyko—Soviet Foreign Minister.

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Yet, there is still the staff problem. The turnover [of staff] is almost total. At every Secretariat and Politburo dozens [of members are being changed]. But who takes their place? Is there any assurance that they are capable of implementing Gorbachev’s policies, and in the manner of Gorbachev? (It’s not even a matter of wishing to do it, but the ability!) Some examples are showing that—alas!—they are not. During the week, which swept me off my feet and quickly drove out the Tambov mindset, some things took place. Gorbachev’s interview for L’Humanite. A dozen questions, ranging from “is there a new October Revolution in the USSR right now” to the treatment of Jews: we, French communists need this (“we can understand!”) to fight anti-sovietism at home. And again B.N. was excluded from this. M.S. assigned [Mikhail] Zimyanin16 to prepare material for the interview. B.N. started to object, said he would call, but he didn’t. Zimyanin asked me to settle it with Ponomarev somehow: you, he says, know how to do that with your “even temper” and “self-control” (!)... He flattered me. I didn’t say anything to B.N., but my heart was bleeding. And it started bleeding even more when I saw the drafts that the interview preparation group composed. What squalor! There’s not a trace of the Gorbachev tone. And these are people from the economics department (where they theoretically should understand the “new strategy”). They are from Zamyatin’s department, where they theoretically should know how to write about the new strategy of peace by the year 2000. It is astounding. Whatever one may say, but despite, or maybe because of, Ponomarev, our “school of composition” is incomparably better. And there are more thinking and intellectually responsible people here than in other departments. But, we are not in charge. I wrote (or re-wrote) about relations between the CPSU and the PCF [French Communist Party], about anti-sovietism in the context of SovietFrench relations, about Afghanistan, and about the revolutionary nature of the planned socio-economic improvements. I don’t know whether it will be possible to incorporate it. And I don’t want to officially make contact, so Zimyanin cannot present the matter as if our department also took part in composing it. Kozlov and Gusenkov [participating] in the preparatory group is one thing, but deputy head is another!
16

Conservative Secretary of the Central Committee, was removed by Gorbachev in January 1987.

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Yesterday was Ponomarev’s 81st birthday. Since Zagladin is at a Congress in Turkmenia, I had to speak (in the company of select individuals). I spoke nicely (afterwards everyone congratulated me: “at my best,” “content and form”), but beforehand I felt quite uncomfortable because hypocrisy was unavoidable. The value of his merits and fine qualities, the ones that he has, is canceled out by his other character traits, but you can’t speak about that. He was moved. Again he recalled his Bolshevik youth, but also took notice of my run over the new era. [He said that] we, the Department (and implying him personally) do not need to break ourselves in order to fit into the new working style. And this is probably true: [at our Department] criticism was never driven out; we valued our personal opinions rather than being yes-men; we had great freedom of speech in discussion; initiative was always encouraged although almost never realized. However, if one considers the content of our work, then it’s the exact opposite: realism in estimating our “object” was present only in discussions, B.N. did not allow it up to the official level. Halleluiah-ness and “glazing of reality” still predominates here. Accordingly, the nature of [our] work in the ICM: it has long ago become sluggishly anachronistic, totally removed from reality. In all of this the main fault rests on Ponomarev, who does not want to witness the breakdown of the “empire,” which since his Komsomol days he’s considered to be at the forefront of progress. Now about the most important episode, that can seriously change my life. On January 14th Yurka Arbatov17 showed up at my office. It was a work-related visit before his departure to India for the Palme Commission. But instead of reading papers and listening to me, he started a strange conversation. “You know,” he says, “The day before yesterday Sashka Yakovlev went ‘South’ (to Gorbachev, who is there preparing his political report for the Congress). We had gotten into a conversation about Aleksandrov’s retirement.” (General Secretary’s adviser, with whom, by the way, I had yet another squabble yesterday about the texts of letters to the PCF, the social democrats and revolutionary democrats in relation to Gorbachev’s statement about nuclear disarmament.) So I tell him,” Arbatov goes on, “tell M.S. that he will not find a better replacement than Chernyaev... he knows foreign affairs, knows them from the CC’s point of view, he’s honest, smart, experienced. Sashka agreed. I don’t know whether he already
17

Georgy Arbatov, Director of the U.S.A. and Canada Institute of the USSR Academy of Sciences.

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spoke with M.S... But mind you, don’t even think about declining: you’ll land both me and him in some shit.” About the same time the phone rang. It was Yakovlev. He is already back in Moscow. Says that M.S. asked that I personally look over the ICM section of his report, and let him know what I think was needed there. Of course I said that I was ready to do it. And then he adds: I probably messed up your life... So Arbatov’s jabber turned out to be true. I tried to tell him, Arbatov, why--I’m not the right man. He waved his arms. “Are you in your right mind? If the General Secretary, and what a General Secretary—Gorbachev!—offered me to be a reviewer (not an adviser!) for him, I would jump at it without second thought. And not because of profit or the status, but to help him in the great work that he has begun. Don’t you want to help him? And he really needs intelligent advice, fresh ideas...” When Arbatov left, I started thinking. The only thing that makes me think “for” it, is that it is impossible to decline. That would be indecent exactly along the lines of Arbatov’s reasoning. Everything else is against it: even though he likes me, Gorbachev doesn’t really know me. I will immediately disappoint him by lacking the energy that he needs right now, and that he is counting on me to have. In “technical” aspects I will be in sharp contrast with the retired Aleksandrov, who could read ten ciphered memos, the same number of other papers, and then clearly and conclusively report the most important information to the “chief,” and from memory, no papers. And I don’t have the character to associate on an equal level with the MFA, the KGB, and the other international departments, and to stand up for what in their propositions would not “appeal” to me, i.e. to lead a permanent serious polemics with them. And then, I’m tired. I am 65, I want a steady life, more rest and more time for myself, books, exhibitions, theater, the Conservatory, for the loved ones and other women. The bustling position of an adviser does not suit me, not to mention that I don’t want to lose that (quite considerable) level of independence that I have in my position (however, that’s under Ponomarev, what will come after him is difficult to surmise). I don’t want to leave this environment—the Department where I am known, respected, where the relations are natural, where you know how to behave in any situation.

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So that is that! Again, except for a feeling of duty and, why not say it—a feeling of vanity, I’m not longing to be “there...” January 26th, 1986. One lady I know told me about all the reshuffling: about Grishin, and about Dementieva, and about Pastukhov—that he is [being sent as] ambassador to Denmark, and about Zakharov—who is [being made] second secretary of the Moscow City Committee. We in the CC apparatus find out about all the reshuffling from the Secretariat protocols (i.e. a week later), while Moscow finds out ahead of time. Zagladin tells me that a doctor came to visit them yesterday (she is their “personal [doctor]”—a family friend, was even at their wedding) and told them that the doctors of Ponomarev, [Vasily] Kuznetsov, [Mikhail] Zimyanin, [Konstantin] Rusakov, and [Ivan] Kapitonov had been given notice that soon they would be transferred to the “second division.” I asked him, what is a “second division?” “That,” Zagladin says, “is where you and I are.” I am amazed! Either Kremlevka18 superiors “figureed it out” ahead of time, or they already know about the decision to retire the abovementioned, which will be made in the near future (and can be made only at the level of Gorbachev)! ... However, these are “trifles” in comparison to Moscow’s January 24 citywide conference. Yeltsin’s report on the symptomatic character reflecting the depth and scale of change can be placed at the rank of the XX Congress about the cult. Which is to say, it is now a real return to Lenin “norms” and order in party life and work ([judging by] the spirit, the words, the approach). The whole world is now trying to get Moskovskaya

Pravda (in which the report was published)...
In the spirit of the times, but also partially from hard hypocrisy, is that Grishin has been put in the conference presidium (since he is still a PB member)... Of course he is a worthless individual, and from here [stem] all his faults and defects. He is a product of the Brezhneviada... even though he’s not passive, not one of the “what could one have done” (when one was given orders!)... Nevertheless, there is talk around Moscow that two stars should be stripped from him.

18

Special hospital and medical service department for Central Committee members.

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Yesterday I met with Iskra and her husband, the well-known philosopher Gulyga. I am always amazed: here are people from highbrow intelligentsia, Iskra is also a party activist on a regional scale—she was a delegate at a regional (Sevastopol’) party conference. I concede: they are among the people who do not believe (the people Yeltsin spoke about), those who lost faith. Alright. But how can one remain indifferent to the new leadership’s very determination for change?! Iskra didn’t even read Yeltsin: Gulyga summarized it to her from “Pravda!” And once again they started saying that [Mikhail] Zoshchenko’s work still cannot be published in full. So it seems they’re waiting: when full publication is authorized, then the change will really have come! That’s the scale on which the intelligentsia is measuring what’s going on!! Ponomarev’s “isolation” is more and more distinctly felt at the Department. He is removed even from matters that are directly related to the Department. It seems [these changes] are reaching the “outside world” as well. Lunkov is coming down hard on him and Zagladin from Rome. In almost every ciphered note he retells the opinions of PCI leaders (or maybe he is taking it from what’s been said before). It’s pretty much—“they are all delighted by Gorbachev and the changes we are undergoing. Only in the International Department’s leadership nothing is changing, the Brezhneviates have a firm seat there and could care less about the changes. They’re acting as if Cominform was still here.” Ciaromonte supposedly said: “What can we do! It worked out like this over the decades that a mere mention of the CC International Department has the same effect on our members as a red rag on a bull. But do not think,” he goes on, “that this transfers to the current CC leadership. Not at all. We are very enthusiastic about it and expect much from it...” The Italians are now openly naming Zagladin as the leader of our intrigue with Cossuta.19 It seems that they have exposed their connections, including the financing of the publications Cossuta patronized. I told Vadim about it and grumbled to Ponomarev too, saying that these methods won’t yield anything, we’ll only set up Cossuta and disclose ourselves. These are not the times to fold the fraternal parties into a pro-soviet sheep pen with such methods. But alas! Our Ponomarev cannot imagine our communist

19

Cossuta was a member of the PCI leadership who for many years lead the pro-CPSU oppositional group in the party.

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movement in any other form, and that’s why his career is over (and not only because he is 81). I am still reading Pikul’s The Favorite. Reading slowly. It’s very educational and you believe that our history was made just this way... with consequences even for the present times. And his Catherine is quite enticing... I am once again amazed at the assimilating power of the Russian nation. She would not have become The Great if she had not forced herself to become Russian. And she made herself Russian, and did it sincerely, with pleasure, irreversibly, and not only out of ambition; it was partially by the natural law of repulsion from her former nationality... I cannot imagine her on the English or French throne, although it is Western Europe! January 29th, 1986. One can sense that our department (Ponomarev) is being factored out more and more. Gorbachev purposely arranged not to invite Ponomarev to the talks with Natta. Zagladin was present, but officially (in print) he wasn’t named as a participant (he is only present in the photo and TV [sic]). I saw the text of Gorbachev’s speech at the dinner in honor of Natta. The text is very strong, in the Gorbachev style. I read the transcript of the first day (internal questions, but relations between the CPSU-PCI and international affairs were also touched upon). It is a definite turn around in our dealing with the ICM, a completely new course and style of relations with communist parties. The argument about “eurocommunism,” which comrade Ponomarev has been fighting for the past 10 years, is now added to the “petty” phenomenon category (a term from Gorbachev’s speech). It decidedly needs to be stopped so it does not hinder the solidary actions of fraternal parties. In the one-on-one talk, Natta delicately raised the question of “our support” of Cossuta. And in effect he received a statement from M.S. that that was “unacceptable:” the relations are only with the leadership, General Secretary with General Secretary— open and with a level of confidence. Internal party affairs are internal party affairs.

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(Consequently, the Shaposhnikov-Ponomarev option with the Finns is also defunct, I think). Ponomarev expressed his “displeasure” to me in passing. “With Natta for 8 hours! 8 hours! For what? Who needs that? What’s the use?!” Thereby he places himself in the “out of bounds” position. Last week Yermonsky brought me the foreign relations section of the Congress political report from Yakovlev (in Volynskoe). It was great. I corrected some things, wrote some. He, Yakovlev, has become conceited and stuck up. A new “center of power” has formed: Yakovlev, [Georgy] Razumovsky, [Vadim] Medvedev, [Anatoly] Lukyanov. They are near the General [Secretary]. They sway personal destinies and direct policy. However, the day before yesterday a group headed by Slezko (Ligachev’s former assistant, now Yakovlev’s first deputy; the former ideological secretary of the Tomsk obkom) was sent to the Gorky dacha in order to finish up a draft of the Program20 based on the four-million remarks and suggestions that turned up as the result of the nationwide discussion of the “new edition.” At the same time, there’s a rumor that the Program will be “moved up” (i.e. will not be adopted at the Congress)? Really? On the other hand, why not? Discussion has shown that there are so many suggestions for amendment and improvement, that it would be better to postpone it for now... Perhaps for a special Plenum, not until the next Congress! And it would be right, because in its present state it does not meet the “April Plenum strategy.” I am deeply convinced that Ponomarev will not “live past” the Congress. What will happen? Zagladin told me about his conversation with Gorbachev after the first day of talks with Natta. He says Gorbachev sat down, crossed his arms, and asked sarcastically: “Well? Shall we liquidate the communist movement, or rebuild it?” He answered Zagladin’s obvious answer with the question: “What is the main problem, how should we rebuild it?” Zagladin supposedly replied (and if he did, he was right): “first and foremost, we must have a line that the CPSU hasn’t had for many years. And we must accept the parties’ equality in practice.” Gorbachev took this up, but said: “we will not develop a
20

The Communist Party Program

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line in time for tomorrow’s talks. However, this is your work (i.e. of the international department), so think, propose. I will say something about this at the Congress.” I would very much like to speak with Gorbachev “on these subjects...” Speak frankly about how and why we have been helping to drive the ICM to a dead end for 20 plus years. February 1st, 1986. Yesterday around five Gorbachev called and offered me to become his adviser. I said that it was of course a big honor, but are you sure that I am the right person for such a job? - I, he said, am sure. – thus leaving me to decide whether I am sure myself. - I don’t consider it a promotion, for me it is an increase in responsibility and duty. And, of course, it is interesting to participate first-hand in the new work that you have begun. - But you won’t be alone... You have probably noticed that Yakovlev is near me a lot these days... - I noticed. I’ve known him for a long time... I understand that I wouldn’t be alone. However, I’m a poor organizer. - It’s alright, we’ll figure it out. I liked you for a long time now... from our first trip to Belgium together, do you remember? (Of course! It was 1972, who would have thought that that trip would turn out like that for me!) I like your party spirit (?), your erudition, your composure during critical moments (what did he have in mind?). Well, what do you say? - One does not refuse such offers, Mikhail Sergeyevich! - That’s right. How’s your health? - I’m an athletic person, but the years are telling. - Well, that’s alright! As soon as I deal with some matters... Lerua (PCF Politburo member, editor of L’Humanite) is supposed to visit, I’ll have to give him an interview. Afterwards I will introduce a proposal about you... Actually, I remembered that he started the conversation from something else. - What are you doing right now?

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- Routine work... Today I read the transcript of your talks with Natta. - And how was it? - It was a turning-point event. - It would be good, if not only the Italians understood that. - Yes... especially not the Italians. (I am sure that we both had Ponomarev in mind first and foremost). Gorbachev, of course, didn’t know how that very morning B.N. informed his deputies on the outcomes of talks with Natta, and how he directed the composition of a letter about this meeting to select fraternal parties. It followed from this “information,” which presented the heart of the matter as totally opposite from what it was, that he, Ponomarev, really did not understand anything. He not only cannot, but he does not want to understand. His main idea was to convey to the recipients that disagreements were still present and that nothing had really happened. He even “didn’t notice” that the argument about Eurocommunism has been delegated to the category of “petty matters.” Instinctively he has guessed that he could not evaluate the meeting negatively, and for the telephones (which, he is sure, are bugged) he even said that Gorbachev’s speech at the dinner was “based on Marxism-Leninism.” However, his main concern was not to give the impression to the fraternal parties that we will remain in fraternal relations with them if they criticize and disagree with the CPSU. Etc., etc. When I told my secretary that I’m being made the General Secretary’s adviser, she started crying. For me and for herself. And this is the right reaction. I don’t know what this work will be like, but can only guess judging by previous observations of Aleksandrov. I have a feeling I won’t manage it, at least I won’t be able to at the level that is necessary for Gorbachev right now. But I will try, and it will shorten my life by several years. My personal life will be reduced to a trifling small size, and freedom will remain only in memories. Only now can I really appreciate the huge freedom I had under Ponomarev, even though for work the results were minimal from this freedom and independence. Last night I saw a play by Tovstonogov Jr., called “Sholom Alejkhem St., 40” at the Stanislavsky theater. This is an event in our social life. It is evidence of the enormous

18

changes taking place. Moreover, it is real high art, which moves you, brings tears, catches you by the throat. The theater was overcrowded, but, alas, mainly (95%) by Jewish people, while the people who really need to see it (and feel the guilt) are the Russians. They created this terrible problem, of which we will not be free for decades. The play should be televised so millions could see it and grasp that the “situation” with the Jewish question is changing: since the times of Mikhoels it had been impossible even to imagine anything like this shown legally on the stage or anywhere else... February 2nd, 1986. This morning I was carefully reading Literaturka21: the continuation of discussion on the social and political qualities of prose, a column about anonymous letters, an article about the understanding of our literature in the West—turns out there are people who want to understand it and therefore should not be “repelled”—this is easiest of all. [There was also discussion] about our art of translation—against Anninsky. Arbatov came to visit... then we went for a walk. He asked me how I reacted to Gorbachev’s proposition. He knows that he called me. Yurka assured me that everything would be great. And I [assured] him that everything would be bad, that routine work with ciphered telegrams would wear me out. He told me how the interview for L’Humanite was prepared. M.S. called him, asked him to come over saying that what Zagladin and Aleksandrov gave him was boring, banal, impossible. Yurka reworked it in one night. It is better, much better, than what I saw in the version before Zagladin [worked on it]. The passage about the XX Congress is especially important, it is positive. But some things (which I myself wrote earlier) about Afghanistan, about the ICM, about relations between the CPSU and PCF are gone, and that’s regretful. I don’t know at which stage [they were taken out]. Arbatov said that anonymous letters addressed to M.S. are coming from military people, with threats to deal with him like with Khrushchev if he goes on being in favor of disarmament. Lukyanov reported this, but he shouldn’t have, because it is all nonsense. No one can organized a revolt, no military men.
21

Literaturnaya Gazeta—a central newspaper devoted to literature and cultural life

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Yurka also “taught” me not to succumb to intimidation from the SDI22 and [space] shuttles: both will die out on their own. February 3rd, 1986. Gorbachev called today, just as Shaposhnikov was sitting in my office. - Hello! I just spoke with Ponomarev. I told him that I’m taking you into my team. And I already signed the draft resolution, sent it around the Politburo. - Thank you... –and I’m silent. He’s also silent, waiting to hear what else I’ll say... –Thank you for the trust... – Silence again... - Are you hesitating? - No... But as I already said, will I be able to manage? Are you sure? - I am sure. - But I have to take care of my work here... - You have two days. And then start. [Yevgeny] Shaposhnikov, who was sitting opposite me, guessed that the conversation concerned some kind of assignment. But when I told him what the matter was, he twitched. He even jumped up. As [Karen] Brutents later diagnosed it, many will be warped by this “triumph of justice.” And, of course, it went around the Department. In the evening Zagladin already called, Aleksandrov informed him that there is a resolution to replace him with me. Zagladin perkily congratulated me and expressed his hope that now we will finally have an opportunity to do what we have planned to do. Ponomarev sent for me. He was flustered. Tried to present the matter almost as if it happened on his recommendation. But I didn’t let him talk at random and told him exactly how it happened. I must not dawdle. I must make a final effort and try to calmly do what I can. They can’t send me “farther than the front.” The only thing I am afraid of is that I won’t meet Gorbachev’s expectations and plans. And I do not know what he wants from me... Tomorrow I will have to clear out my stuff that has accumulated here over 20 years.
22

Strategic Defense Initiative

20

February 22nd, 1986. I haven’t written for the last two weeks. During this time a transition from the kingdom of relative freedom to the kingdom of absolute necessity took place. Every day, including Saturday, there is an enormous flow of information. And if there, in the Department, I could skim a lot of it—there would be no political consequences from that, except possible trouble with B.N.—here I have to notice everything, and if I miss something, then more than just a “talk” with the General Secretary could result from it. But not even that is what oppresses me, but the uncertainty of rights and responsibilities, up to the point of not knowing what to take to him and what to put into the general file. A talk, an “explanation,” never took place. I was immediately thrown into the work: a talk with [Edward] Kennedy... (and a newspaper photo, by which all the people who know me started to “figure out” what happened with me). After the first Politburo (and I must be present at every one now) he called together some people: Yakovlev, Lukyanov, Medvedev, [Valery] Boldin, Smirnov, and me. He shared his reaction to the four-hour long discussion of his draft Congress political report (the document equal to the entire XX Congress combined, in the amount of energy and mastery it contains). He also said that we will go to Zavidovo for a week to get away and finish it up. But in the evening I had Kennedy, at night I processed the talk transcript, where M.S. once again showed his manner to persuade, defend, prove... And the next day he summoned me to his rendezvous with [Viktor] Chebrikov and [Eduard] Shevardnadze and said: “I wanted to appoint you to work on the report, but now you will have to work on this, you’ll find out in a minute...” The matter at hand was a TV interview, in which we would convey to the West some of our responses and “forward shifts” on the missile matters in the form of responses to the Soviet audience. The idea came up while [Gorbachev was] under the effect of talks with Kennedy. (We want to say that we do not link the euro-rockets and the SDI, that we are prepared to remove tactical missiles from the GDR and CSSR in the first round, what we understand inspections as “fundamental,” and in general, what does America want from us). The MFA [Ministry of Foreign Affairs] people made a trial model. Boring. I did not trust

21

myself, so called up Arbatov, who has made [projects] for Time and L’Humanite; he knows the tastes. We wrote 20 pages together in a day. I sent it off. In the morning it came back: “There is nothing to present here. Our people will not understand it. Disconnected,” etc. The first pancake... [is always lumpy] Maybe it was because I placed so much confidence in the self-assured Arbatov? (Even though Yakovlev warned me that more than once he’s been made to “clear out” Aratovisms from texts). (By the way, Kennedy said to Zagladin: your Arbatov is like our Kissinger). I worked it over in a day... But I did not get a response to this version. It turns out Yakovlev hinted to him that it is inopportune right now. Actually I said the same thing with Shevarnadze and Chebrikov, but they did not understand me. M.S. hesitated: the interview would be too close to the Congress and his report, it may slacken the reaction. He came out to the Politburo with this question. And everybody agreed that it shouldn’t be done. However, he assigned the MFA staff to “add” some of the material from this interview to the political report. Thus, I did not make it to Zavidovo. But, as my colleagues instructed me, I wrote him notes on what I considered to be in my “competence” out of the stream of material coming through. For example, in the report on strategic relations with the FRG I proposed to consider the “problem of reunification,” which cannot be avoided since it is a strategy (I don’t know what came out of it). I suggested not to publicly congratulate Yemen’s new leadership... This came through, but maybe it would have been done without my “prompting.” I proposed to write an article on the “regional crises—against ‘neoglobalism.’” (He agreed). In one issue already I seriously intervened in policy: I stopped Congress invitations for the Finland Communist Party and for the Sinisalo people. This could have slipped through the Secretariat in a package with other additional parties, but I had the “right” of control. M.S. reacted to it. He called me (Ligachev was in his office), and read my memo out loud. They said something. Then he told me: “We will bring this question to the Politburo, prepare the material.” Naturally, Ligachev ordered that B.N. also get the material. He presented it (through Shaposhnikov) as such: again, saying that Aalto was

22

anti-soviet and a revisionist, that he was fracturing the party, that the “minority” has become the majority, etc. In a word, they copied it from Sinisalo’s letter, which the Department received recently. I wrote the same things as I have written many times at the Department, on which I insisted and about which I argued with Ponomarev, and even warned him in the summer that if he kept insisting, he’ll run into trouble. It would be simply foolish to continue with the Sinisalo business in the Finnish CP after the talk with Natta, from which B.N. did not understand anything despite his good nose, after M.S.’s remarks about Cossuta, and after what he included in his political report (about equality and non-interference). All the PB members and CC Secretaries had B.N.’s (Shaposhnikov’s) papers. More than that, they have grown used to the idea that Aalto is anti-soviet and must be finished off... Shaposhnikov was invited to the PB (seemingly at B.N.’s request, which turned out to be another one of his mistakes). In the “dressing-room” he ran into Lev Zaikov, who, being a Leningrad secretary, has more than once followed the “Shapo line” under the leadership of Shaposhnikov in Leningrad and Helsinki. Zaikov promptly promised Shapo [shnikov] to continue to “smash the revisionists.” Shaposhnikov (we met in the stairwell) was sure that the moment has come when his dearest dream will be fulfilled and Aalto will be dealt the death blow. Frankly, I was not sure how it would end. I was nervous, especially since M.S. hinted that I might have to present a supplementary report. But Gorbachev showed tact towards me and towards B.N.—he did not destroy him with my hands. He gave Shaposhnikov such a pogrom, and in reality Ponomarev as well... (therein lies the mistake: if Shaposhnikov was not there, M.S. would have been tactful with the old man, but in the presence of Shaposhnikov made him the whipping boy). The main idea was that the times when we gave orders to fraternal parties as we would to Obkoms and republican CCs have ended. If we disagree in something, we will uphold our ideas, not excommunicate, ignore, or interfere in their affairs. Shaposhnikov, impudent, jumped up and started trying to prove something. M.S. told him: “Sit down. If needed, you will be called upon...” B.N. was pathetic and right

23

away started adjusting, hedging, justifying himself. It’s terrible! (I am once again convinced: absence of intellectuality equals absence of human dignity). But even before that, around the 14th, when I, after all, decided to visit B.N., he started asking me to put in a word for him with M.S., so that he was finally made a Politburo member! I kept a polite silence, while he was “proving” to me that he understood international politics better than Chebrikov and Shevardnadze... Who are they? Greenhorns. He mentioned that he always “took the right line” in relation to China, etc. Therefore, I made a fool of myself with my natural supposition that he was worried whether he would stay on the wagon at all. Turns out he was concerned with something entirely different—whether he would get promoted! Meanwhile I already knew that he would be retired (Lukyanov hinted at that), and the “activity of his wife and the entire family” in moving up through family channels has already caused discontent. And then Sashka Yakovlev, motioning in the direction of M.S., said outright: “it has been decided to keep him in the CC as an old Comintern man,” but retired! B.N. already speaks with me ingratiatingly... Yet another chameleon change. It is repulsive and pitiful. He sent me a piece of boar that he killed while hunting. He has been doing this for many years. But now he’s judging everyone by his own standard. [Alexander] Bovin23 came to visit me. This is really a drama. For his entire political career he had been waiting for the time to come, which has come now. And right at this time he has been pushed back, exactly under Gorbachev. He blames everything on Yakovlev. He has two motives: first of all, it turns out that Bovin was involved in sending Yakovlev to Canada. Yakovlev once said to Bovin and Arbatov: why are you working so hard for Brezhnev, do you want to turn this ignorance into a cult?! And only yesterday Bovin himself admitted that he “brought it” (that statement) to notice; secondly, the Jewish self-importance: “next to me (Bovin!), Sashka (Yakovlev) will pale before the General Secretary’s eyes!”

23

Brezhnev’s speechwriter, famous Soviet journalist, and then the first Soviet Ambassador to Israel

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He brought me his talented essays (on positioning propaganda, on Nicaragua, on “the meaning of life” (as understood by) Lenin, Stalin, Khrushchev, Brezhnev, Andropov, Chernenko, and...) He says he was not asking for anything. But he came to ask... I can understand. And someday I will go to M.S. on his behalf. But he will not make it to the Congress, and will get the boot from the Revisions Committee, where Brezhnev, having forgiven him, placed him. It’s a pity. It looks like Arbatov gave up on Bovin when he found out that he was “not liked” by Gorbachev. We had a farewell party for Aleksandrov. Present were three of his secretariat girls and two helpers-colleagues who really did not like him. And that was all! And what a farewell I would have had from my Department, if I had agreed to a party! They are still “sobbing” about it, as they all say, no matter whom you ask. Only now did I sense that I was “loved” in the Department. This is lyricism... And the work—I don’t understand yet. I’ve identified directions for myself: - disarmament - Soviet-American affairs - the ICM - regional crises - the Jewish question - the idea of “Soviet national security” I have no idea how am I going to follow them. The most significant [concern] right now is the terrible nervous overload and the absence of any kind of time for myself.

June 7th, 1986. I am not writing only because I have no strength left after a 14-16 hour workday. I’m also not writing because it is difficult to comprehend it all and to set it in writing. In my position, the only thing to write about is him—the one who dared to raise Russia and to make it rear up (who has the plans for it), a post-Stalinist and post-Brezhnevist Russia.

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A mini-Lenin has come... in the form that Mayakovsky described him. Seemingly a simple, normal person, with all the traits characteristic of an intelligent, normal, sensible and practical person. And at the same time, all these traits are raised several levels in comparison to a normal, regular “comrade.” And if one starts from the top, from Lenin, he has all the qualities characteristic of Lenin, only they are all on a lower level. And the coordination of these qualities, their “complexity,” is also like Lenin’s. In a word, one should write about him every day, since I see him and hear him almost every day. He is incredibly frank, sometimes he shocks with his “confidence:” you get scared by it—why does he suddenly burden you with the responsibility of his innermost [thoughts]? It is my moral duty to write about him... It is most likely more important than conscientiously doing my official responsibilities for him—he could do without me. But if I do not write about him, it will be a great loss for history... even if he does not make it with the great work he has set out to accomplish. And I should write down right away when he speaks one on one, when he leads political discussions, when he openly discusses something in closed circles, and, of course, when he leads the Politburo: it is a great wealth of mind, character, awareness, knowledge, precision in the ability to understand the essence of the matter, decisive rejection of anything even resembling demagogy and attempts to cover anything with ideology, especially lack of talent and inability to work. In a day he goes through a colossal amount of information. I cannot understand how he manages to do it. And this information is used, in processed form it rushes forth as deduction, analysis, conclusions, decisions, disagreements or support of somebody... 95% of time and energy is spent on internal affairs... even though it seems to be the other way around if one judges by newspapers and TV [sic]. (By the way, the laymen are already grumbling about this). I must not be lazy (Lord give me the strength!), especially at the Politburo I need to take notes and reproduce it in the evening, or maybe even right away at work... And of course I need to record what he says to me or in my presence. And at least make a list of

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matters about which I had to speak with him. Much wears away so only the impression is left, but the actual canvas—his thoughts, especially their form and context—disappears. So let me begin... I have a couple of sheets on the table here. They have been lying here for a month. They are notes. For example, the advisers decided to get together and stop by his office at the end of the day to congratulate him with May 1st. He sat us down and thought out loud for two hours. What can I coax out from these notes? What saved the country (under Brezhnev)? “Oil + vodka + people’s patience.” The bureaucratization of the party machinery, especially since 1975. Everything is cluttered up, it’s decaying, you can’t tell what’s where, why, and for what... It’s a total mess—especially in thinking about the individual (the disappearance of social policies). By the way, the right things were always said (take any of Brezhnev’s speeches). But what was done... Nothing was done at all! Only for yourself! We need to generalize the common experience, since “people are the makers of history,” as we say all over the place. And democracy! Nothing will save us if we do not open up as democracy. Lenin was absolutely right. We need to search for forms of it and learn from the people, stop with the sermons and the cries of the know-alls, who know everything and know only how to teach. “Power” is the most profitable work right now. That is why everyone is eager to get to power, and once they get there they become little independent princes. About the CPSU history textbook... here I intervened and criticized Ponomarev’s style, the textbooks that completely draw even students away from our history. I said that we should invite five intelligent people, not professors or even specialists, to a dacha and give them a year’s time. Have everything at their disposal, even the archives. The sovietologists abroad have already written about everything, using the Trostky archives among other things, as well as our own newspapers, books, journals... There are hundreds of books on CPSU history. Let them write a bestseller. The CC will then review it... At that time he did not say anything about it. But two weeks ago at the Politburo at an opportune moment he gave a heated speech in the same vein, and right away assigned Yakovlev and (alas!) Zimyanin to organize a competition for a concise CPSU history textbook...

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...The leftist forces in the USA and Western Europe were defeated by technology and productivity of labor. He wins who has the higher productivity. Lenin said that, and for a long time we were hiding from this truth. Life is above any ideology. One will not be able to keep a hold on to the third world if one does not bind it with technology. Which is what they (the West) are doing. And we will not even keep a hold on the socialist countries if we do not bind them to us with technology. A struggle is going on. A real struggle for the Congress. The resistance is enormous and varied. There was an article “Against the trend” in the “Pravda” from June 27. The question is being decided “either or.” Either we fulfill what we planned and how we planned it, or we fail with socialism. This is the content (of the notes) of only one of his conversations with his advisers. How much I have lost over these months by not noting it down. But for the first two months I lived like in a shock. Only now, it seems, I have gotten adjusted to him. June 22nd, 1986. It’s been 45 years since the beginning of the war. I should write down sometime what that day was like... I remember it as if it were yesterday, down to the little details. Before the Writers’ Congress. Everybody around here, including Yakovlev “himself,” is surprised that the “[Georgy]Markov course” is being kept despite the fact that, one would think, he is a symbol of Brezhneviada in Soviet literature. In 1985 alone, he published his gray imitations with 27 publishing houses. He has 14 billion rubles on his savings-bank book. He is the center of attraction for swindlers and mediocrity, “a two-times Hero of Socialist Labor”—in this case it is a stigma, not a merit. But he is Ligachev’s “childhood friend” (either from their youth, or from work, or because they’re both from Siberia). And even though Ligachev knows Markov abuses this, and that everybody has been talking about nepotism and favoritism, and that Ligachev’s prestige is soiled by it, he persistently keeps him there. Yakovlev told me that he had had a conversation about it with Gorbachev, but he “does not want to quarrel with Yegor

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Kuzmitch [Ligachev] because of this.” But this is only the introduction. The actual story is the following. A week ago we received a dispatch—pre-Congress information under Chebrikov’s signature. It talked about the Western secret services influencing Soviet writers, the ones who in the past allowed deviation from class nature, who doubted the rightness of collectivization and national policies (weren’t they the “cosmopolites”), who disagreed with literary policies, etc. In a word, the writers subject to oppositional and revisionist mindsets are now... (Which is totally incomprehensible, for what is to be understood as opposition and revisionism? In relation to whom, Gorbachev? To the April line, which all these “oppositionists” have been waiting for and for so many years tried to help bring it about in any way they could?) Names were named: [Anatoly] Rybakov, [Anatoly] Pristavkin, [Boris] Mozhaev, [Mikhail] Roshchin, [Andrei] Zubov, [Bulat] Okudzhava24... and several other less known ones. In a word, it was a denunciation... from a previous era, from the 1930-50s, as if nothing was changing in the country. I went to Yakovlev and asked him how one is supposed to understand this. And what does it mean that M.S. ordered this information to be sent around the PB and the Secretariat, and asked Ligachev and Yakovlev to speak with him personally. Yakovlev said he spoke with him. “And what?” Yakovlev said he was angry and frank. He said that we have already forced 15-20 talented writers to run away abroad. Do we want more to go? And in general, what kind of methods are these? M.S. listened to him, but Yakovlev did not say how he reacted. But, he says, it seems he heeded the words, and told him to go and say the same thing to Ligachev. He did, was of course more careful, but did not meet with understanding. The only thing Ligachev did not like was that the KGB is still dealing with literature. Why the KGB?! For how much longer? This is the CC’s prerogative. I don’t know, Aleksandr Nikolaevich says, but it seems M.S. is planning to have a talk with Chebrikov. A day after this, Gorbachev’s meeting with 30 writers took place. I have not seen the transcript yet, but A.N. told me what happened there. He said he was especially glad,
24

Prominent liberal cultural figures

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simply happy, to witness Anatoly Ivanov’s speech—he is one of the Black Hundred, a dinosaur, a member of the “back to the soil” movement. From the first words he began to “strip” and appeared completely exposed. His main idea was that something like the CC resolution “on the journal Ogonek and Leningrad” should be made. Then there would be order. I, A.N. said, saw how M.S.’s jaw fell. But he reacted indirectly. [Mikhail] Shatrov25 spoke against Ivanov, and M.S. supported Shatrov. What will happen at the Writers’ Congress? The day after speaking with Yakovlev, I did the following. About ten days before “the described events,” Boris Mozhaev came to visit me (he is a well known writer, a village-writer). For a long time he made me laugh by his stories of what’s going on at their Congress. He is angry, venomous, a master of imitation, a real verbal acrobat, and simply made me almost die of laughter at his portrayal of Markov and Karpov (the literary generals). They’ve been using their power in the Writers’ Union to delay Mozhaev’s new novel (“Muzhiki i babi [peasant men and peasant women],” part 2) for two years. He took apart Alekseev, and everyone who makes commonplace literature—“the secretary novels.” He left the foreword to “Muzhiki i babi” with me, as well as a review of VASKHNIL26 academician [Vladimir] Tikhonov’s novel. The novel deals with the events of 1929-30, with collectivization, which dealt a fatal blow to agriculture and to socialism. He also left me his 110-page article on the present-day Soviet literature, in which he scathes the vulgar writers and the literary bosses. He asked me to report and show all this to Gorbachev. I did not do it right away then, but after Chebrikov’s note and conversation with Yakovlev I could no longer keep Mozhaev’s requests to myself. I added my note [to the material], saying that these are the kinds of people who show up in the department of opposition and anti-sovietism. If this is really the case, then it is difficult to understand the April line in all the other respects as well.

25

Prominent playwright, author of Onward, Onward, Onward—a radical play about Lenin, which was staged in Moscow in 1987. 26 All-Union Academy of Agriculture

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Gorbachev read my note and kept all the materials. I wonder what will this come to. It is reassuring that M.S. could not come round after Ivanov’s speech and called Yakovlev several times, asking where such people are coming from, these people are wood lice. Yakovlev thinks that Gorbachev was put on guard by the fact that the KGB chairman presented his note to the General Secretary and was sure that this position of his would meet with understanding and support. December 3, 1986. Yakovlev, whom I congratulated on his birthday, told me: “Yesterday I was speaking with the General Secretary about this and that, about literature, different obstacles, we were preparing his meeting with theater people. Then he suddenly started speaking about you (that is, about me). What a 100% direct hit we got, he says. What a guy. Remember when we were looking for somebody to replace Aleksandrov? And we found him, no one could be better. Staggering capacity for work, and he says what he thinks, does not try to adjust, does not adulate.” “And then,” Yakovlev says, “he even ‘slandered’ you: ‘he’s smart’ he says! What luck!” Thanks, I told him. If, of course, you didn’t make it up. - Upon my word! I swear. Of course I agreed with him, especially since I was your sponsor. What is startling is something else... that I was not very stirred by this. Even though not everyone or every day happens to get this kind of an evaluation from the CC CPSU General Secretary. I must be very tired. And I have grown up. Even praise does not move me much—the meaning of life is not in it. But where is it? However, he speaks about himself with the words from the song “if there was only a motherland...” Truly. There is a revolution going on: one has only to glance at the newspapers and journals every day. And if one could hear what he says at the PB and in closed circles!

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December 7th, 1986. I want to write and I am afraid to do it, because no matter how much I try to write there will not be enough time to even outline what happens every day around M.S. Before my eyes he is growing into a major figure in our history. I see him every day candidly, with all of the ordinary nuances of his nature, his behavior, his educational level—but all of this in no way lowers the greatness of this man in my “intelligentsia” (snobbish) eyes. I record in detail what he says, how he leads the PB. When I retire I will be able to recreate it... of course, with the loss of a living sensation of it. However, much of what happens one on one with him or with a third person, especially if it’s Yakovlev, I naturally cannot write down in his presence... Much that is distinctive comes through in his talks with foreigners (like the day before yesterday, for example, with the Norwegian lady Bruntdland)... or in my one on one contacts with him (which happen late at the night, for the most part), during the visit to India in his part of the presidential palace. This gets lost because there is no chance to record it... you leave him with some kind of an assignment that you have to work on immediately instead of writing down your impressions. Nevertheless, history will not forgive me if I do not leave for posterity my testimony about this person, even if subjective, for only I (and maybe Yakovlev also) see him in the frank and open state. From what I did not record in the last several days: - talk with Kovalev in my presence, about the meeting with theater figures; - my talk with him about Dobrynin and the International Department... and his phone call yesterday. He already spoke with him and referred to me, but assures me that he was not offended. - How he protects Raisa Maksimovna! He did not send her the note from Le

Monde about how she looks abroad.
- Talk about Aksyonov, the cosmonaut who came to me to complain that our SDI is not at all asymmetric. The last Politburo... About India.

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This Politburo will go down in history... not because of India, but because of the prices for sausage. We almost had a fight because Ligachev spoke from the “populist” position in defense of the poor. And he offended M.S. quite badly, because M.S. understands well that perestroika will not happen if we keep strictly to the norms of a “social” state, i.e. wage-leveling. Ligachev spoke in the name of the people who are used to living parasitically off the state, even not working at all. Although all the retired, the poor, the disabled, the failures, the students, etc. are in this group as well. The argument was rough, and only Ryzhkov supported M.S. strongly and directly. Vorotnikov, Solomentsev, and indirectly even Shevarnadze inclined towards Yeg. K. [Ligachev] I have never seen M.S. so furious (and so upset) at a PB before. “I see my role as the General Secretary—if it’s going this way—in taking down this question, closing the discussion, and assigning the Council of Ministers to examine the question once again. Otherwise we would get to blows here. As it is now, we are on the verge of a rift.” And what happens in newspapers and journals? Voznesensky reinstated Khodasevitch in Ogonek and Nabokov in Noviy Mir.” A certain Lev Voskresensky published in Moskovskie Novosti [Moscow news] on November 30 a reply to the Englishman—what is the difference between perestroika and the New Economic Policy. And he wrote in black and white that the New Economic Policy was repealed too soon, and science still needs to figure out what the consequences of that were. In every issue of the thick journals there is something like this, or something is forthcoming. December 8th, 1986. Today I summarized three meetings between Gorbachev and the smaller NATO people—Shluter, Lubbers, Brundtland. M.S.’ conclusion: who believes in the Soviet threat? People are holding on to NATO not because they are afraid of us, but because they are afraid of the US.

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I had to re-write Gorbachev’s talk with Brundtland for the MFA people: everything seems all right but so sterilized that his characteristic expressions, thought nuances, and humor were gone. I dictated an assignment to Krasin (a consultant) to prepare ideas for the 70th anniversary of the October Revolution on the main issue: perestroika and the fate of world development, pluralization [sic] rather than unification of the revolution. Dunaev came over. He described the prospects of Japan and our relations with them. Shevarnadze called and promised to give me the material for Nadjibullah’s visit, but only tomorrow. I asked him to clear up the issue of the line of the China-India border in our atlases. He wants to send [Yevgeny] Primakov as ambassador to India, he praised him and compared him to Lunacharsky. Gorbachev declined Spiegel an interview, again because of Kohl, who compared him to Goebbels. My persuasions did not outweigh the opinions of Dobrynin and Shevardnadze. Zagladin keeps wanting to prove to me that Dobrynin is not in the right place. Instead of helping him, which he should as his first deputy, he is scheming against him. December 10th, 1986. Kutsenkov visited me yesterday (my old friend, a major ideologist). He brought a survey of a heap of newspapers from India. We should not build any illusions, he says. No euphoria. Right now everything is “in the formative stage,” even the emotions! Kokoshin visited (Arbatov’s deputy). Brought a note: “America’s perspectives.” It is scholarly but there is not enough courage (or analysis) to say what we should expect from America and how to behave in the future. In a word, it is not PB material yet. I spoke with Dobrynin about M.S.’ idea to create something like a National Security Council under the PB. He keeps thinking about how it functions in his America, and says that it would not work for us. What will work for us? I think if we decide to create it, then it should be done with the participation of Arbatov, Falin, Vorontsov, Kovalev, Kryuchkov, and maybe some people from among the major economists— specialists in Western [economy], even though we do not have “Varg” anymore and

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Mileykovsky is small... And some smart fellows from the SCST and SCER [should be involved]. Some people from the International Department: Zagladin, consultants, Lisovolik (he worked in America). Dobrynin wants to talk to me about the department (he’s under the effect of a talk M.S. had with him). Zagladin is snobbishly offended and wants to “prove” that Dobrynin does not understand anything. He himself spent all of fall abroad on four assignments and has been out sick for a month. He called me, promised to “talk” about Dobrynin. I should not agree to this talk; I should not give Dobrynin reason to think that I am intriguing against him. I really do not want to butter up Dobrynin, I want to help him. Dobrynin offered Brutents to go as ambassador to India. Brutents panicked: why did Dobrynin make such an offer? Although in general he wouldn’t mind it! But he called Shevardnadze and he said that he will be nominating Primakov. There are materials for Najibullah’s visit. I disliked and rejected (at lunch) the speech and re-wrote it, but for M.S.’ talks everything is intelligible, smart, only... made with a twist at what Shevardnadze said at the PB: it is time to stop seeing Afghanistan as an occupied and confined country. It is an independent state... and [should be regarded] only this way! But there is excess in the promised economic aid... we will be left shirtless ourselves, not to mention that the “new Afghanistan” will appear in 100 years. And some more details: we should tell Najibullah to act without glancing back at the [Soviet] advisers, and to tell us how many and which ones he needs, the rest we will remove at once. I will suggest this to M.S. On Monday M.S. will receive Hart (American Senator) and the ambassador of England. The department and the MFA started fussing about who will present the materials to M.S., since I’m not there they are just afraid to do it. Here it is, that very funnel [sic] that, I think, the Sunday Times [sic] wrote about me. I’ve paid off a loan from 1952! Remembered those days, the university. December 11th, 1986. A Politburo day that I did not attend, I’m sick. Finished the material for M.S.’ one on one talk with Najibullah. Then [finished] the material for his meeting with the English

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ambassador. Then [I wrote] all kinds of notes explaining what I changed in the material prepared by the Afghan committee. And there were constant calls from Dobrynin, Vorontsov, from the reception room, from Lukyanov, etc. Falin [sent me] his thoughts on personnel policies for the Plenum (M.S. gave this “assignment” to write to him personally on what every person thinks, without being cautious about anything). So some people send the material directly to him, and some do it through me. They write and say such things, for which they would have been expelled from the party within 24 hours about a year and a half ago... Something similar [was done] a month ago at Yakovlev’s request, when he was disappointed by what the Party Organization Department prepared (about personnel) for the Plenum. I collected “opinions” about personnel from Kozlov, Weber, Yermonsky (the department consultants). They were even more angry and frank than Falin. On the whole, we are crawling into a new stage of Soviet history. Today I looked through many journals and newspapers of the past months, through Literaturka [Literaturnaya Gazeta] and Lavrov’s report on creating a Theater Union! One feature... Today in Pravda there is an article on the 130th anniversary of Plekhanov. Not a word about opportunism or revisionism... A tragedy of a great figure. Indeed! How the Stalinists must be feeling now, and all the people who learned from the

Concise Course and the Ponomarev textbook.
A revolution is in progress. But it is still slow, because the fired scoundrels get a considerable pension and the opportunity to “stink up.” A revolution deals differently with the former leaders. But then it would not be a Gorbachev’s revolution. December 13th, 1986. I am lonely at heart. I am even frightened to go on vacation... as if I am losing time and there is so little of it left. There is a feeling that now vacation is not a way to restore strength. It cannot be restored anymore. It would be better if it wasn’t a total vacation, but just a month of a “free schedule...” And not to go anywhere. And that nobody would be at home. M.S. said to Dobrynin... to all PB members after meeting with the Yugoslavs: “That’s it! I’ve had enough of foreign affairs. And you Eduard, and you Dobrynin, quiet

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down please. I am tired of it. Every day I take a folder with me and study it till 2 a.m. That’s it! I am switching to the internal front. And we need to prepare for the Plenum. As soon as I receive Hart and the English.” And my leave time is just at this time. Once again: since it’s a vacation I’d rather get loose and get away somewhere, not sit in a sanatorium. Al. Beck’s The New Appointment is a strong work. We are beginning to restore history... at a time when the youth is already not very interested in our past. Here is the breach in the link between generations. December 14th, 1986. Shatrov’s speech at the Theater Congress in the Kremlin (M.S. was present). I thought: an irreversible process has started in ideology. Only Yezhov or Beria could stop it. And M.S. is acting wisely by clearly encouraging it, by letting people like Shatrov, [Yevgeny] Yevtushenko, and others know—go ahead while the going is good. And for now he himself is refraining from openly adding Stalin and Stalinism [to the ideology change]. Maybe this is why he does not stop Ligachev and his conservatism, so the torrent does not burst too strongly—if it did, we would all have to switch to the superstructure,27 while right now the most important is economics. So let the ideology work through self-financing for a year or so. Let that “little bit” that he asked me to convey to Boffe, keep working in history for a while yet, until Gorbachev himself makes a statement about the New Economic Policy, collectivization, and Stalin. December 15th, 1986. I was at M.S.’ meeting with senator Hart, who came with his daughter. M.S. was at his best. He depicted a model of an ideal modern president, who, if he appeared, could really demonstrate “the greatness of America.” He argued about illusionism, romanticism, and the other [traits] ascribed to him. The stability of the world is, by the way, holding on this illusionism right now.

In Marxist terminology, the upper “structure” [nadstroika] of the socio-political formation, consisting of culture, education, religion and ideology.

27

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He invited the daughter to see what the Soviet Union is like in reality—to travel around and see. She replied: I will help my father in the presidential campaign and will take advantage of your invitation only after 1988! That’s how it is! M.S.’ meeting with the English ambassador. The guy brought a message from Thatcher, an impudent one. M.S. [summarized it]: “She gave a thrashing to me and Reagan” for a perfunctory approach in Reykjavik. But realism, madam, is a dead end. It was proven in Geneva. Got very mad and quite undiplomatically “portaged” the ambassador. He promised to report everything. M.S.: “I know why I spoke!” He is not going to Zavidovo. He said that he did not have anything to go with yet. That means the 130 pages that Yakovlev brought him on Saturday are not at the right level yet. Today I am already formally on vacation, but I spent half of the day at work. I said goodbye to the papers. Especially significant are Arbatov’s ciphered telegrams from the United States. Alas! The efficiency coefficient of this type of information for our policy and propaganda even under Gorbachev does not exceed that of the locomotive. Yesterday I spent half the day on foreigners’ letters to Gorbachev. While we were in the south, my second room got crammed with them. There are all kinds of letters: requests for interviews, requests for autographs on books, postcards and photos. Some ask him to write articles for journals and newspapers. There are a ton of requests for meetings. There are requests to release the dissidents that are still imprisoned. A belated (the PB members already voted “for” it) page-proof came across my desk, for an article called “L.I. Brezhnev. For the 80th anniversary of his birthday.” I was shocked. I called my stenographer and dictated my indignant conclusion, then called the reception room and asked to immediately deliver it to Gorbachev. He read it in the evening and called me, told me to pass the note to another adviser Lushchikov, who supervised this article. With displeasure, Lushchikov let me know that I was poking my nose into other people’s affairs. He said it had been voted on, and that the material is already at Pravda. But I insisted alluding to the fact that now they were not [just] my remarks but the General Secretary’s.

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Vlasov (Albert Ivanovich, deputy head of the Information Department) came over. He said that the PB chose a poor time to declare the repeal of the moratorium on nuclear explosions. I agreed and right away wrote a note to Gorbachev, saying that rather than on December 18th, it would be better do it at the beginning of January, after the New Years and Christmas. He sent my note around the PB, but Shevardnadze and Dobrynin persuaded me over. Eduard Amvrosievich calls me and says: it doesn’t really matter now, we’ve notified the G6, the socialist countries, and the communist parties... And the advantages? What advantages, when there are only drawbacks to this decision of ours! No matter how to you try to prove otherwise... - That’s true too! I agreed.

*** Postscript for 1986 In the beginning of this year (early February) the author of these notes became Gorbachev’s foreign policy adviser. His observations of Gorbachev’s behavior, manners, and actions acquired the character of a live, everyday personal and official contact. Attention is drawn to Gorbachev’s phenomenal frankness in evaluating the situation and in signaling his intentions. Gorbachev expresses brave ideas that were shocking to the people around him; many of these ideas never were realized. He is relentless in criticizing what we had and how things are done. Gorbachev encourages the “unwinding” of glasnost, but he still sees it as the party’s tool for carrying out transformations, not as “free speech” that operates by its own logic. He resolutely stops Ponomarev’s (in essence the Comintern’s) way of practicing relations with foreign communist parties and the communist movement in general. But he is still certain that when liberated from the CPSU’s guardianship and completely independent, the foreign communist parties will be able to get a fresh breath and in that quality still keep a future. In other words, he does not break with the presentation of the USSR as an “ideological power,” but he has gotten very far in establishing principally new relations

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with the West, and in forming foreign policy he absolutely excludes the ideological component—confrontation and incompatibility. The term “new thinking” has not been used yet, but in principle it is already “working.” He is more and more concerned about securing personnel for the transformation. However, so far he has no doubt that the CPSU can and must become its leading and propelling power. With all his dislike of idolatry and dogmatism, Gorbachev continues to solemnly believe that appeals to Lenin and “Lenin’s approach” can serve not only as a moral, but also as a practically effective lever for the realization of his plans. This year the cohort of the “founding fathers” of perestroika (Ligachev, Ryzhkov, Vorotnikov...) was still working in accord, with the leading team of GorbachevYakovlev. In this “volume,” as in the others, there are many of the author’s personal concerns and thoughts. He found himself in a new position, a more influential but less independent one; [he is] much more responsibility-laden and very overworked. The illusions about “opening prospects” for his “socialist motherland” are still solid in his eyes. His conformism is explained and excused by his proximity to Gorbachev and the hopes for success in his work. So far the hopes have not collided with his intellectual doubts too strongly. If we try to give a formula to Gorbachev’s evolution in 1986, it might be the following: exceptional courage in words and evaluation of problems, and caution in actions.

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1987
January 10, 1987 I was on vacation from [December] 19 till January 8 at the “Rus’” sanatorium near Ruza. There was skiing, tennis. But it’s boring. I even wanted to bolt from there. But I stayed and in general did not regret it. I read a great deal: newspapers, journals; I was able to follow the “train of thought” of the present-day press. It is truly a grand phenomenon. Like Lenin, M.S. [Gorbachev] understood that he also needs to start his revolution from an Iskra [Spark]1. Full independence of the press. And people are really writing what they are thinking without glancing over their shoulder or being afraid of anybody… all this, of course, within the limits of their writing abilities and journalistic talent. Incidentally, a whole heap of journalistic talent has sprung up like mushrooms after good showers. Where did all this come from!.. And there is a storm [шквал] in literature, film, and theater… By the way, right now with the first issues of the year’s journals the change is becoming evident. The vices, failures, the outrages have been named; every day there are plenty of them in the newspapers. But what should literature do? Before, it timidly tried to name these things in its bravest works. Now everything has been named. The trial by truth took place last year: Astafiev’s Pechal’nii Detektiv [The Sad Detective Story], Rasputin’s Pozhar [The Fire], Aitmatov’s Plakha [The Scaffold], Bykov’s Koster [The Bonfire], Bely’s Vse Vperedi [Everything is Ahead]… etc. And what are literature, film, and theater supposed to do now? One idea is clearly visible when the year is regarded in retrospect: dig deep and show who is to blame. What was the real cause of [what happened in] the 60s, 70s, and early 80s? People are writing openly about this. The critics and publicists are calling for it. Nobody raises any objections. This means everything will happen as Gorbachev said, as he says right now in a narrow circle: “We’ve failed socialism, nothing is left of it…” It seems he will dot many an “i” at the forthcoming Plenum, where he will give a four-hour report. People say that not only the events in Kazakhstan, but also the nationalistic eruptions in Ukraine—i.e. [Vladimir] Shcherbitsky’s fate—will be “present” [in Gorbachev’s report]. Meanwhile: G.L. Smirnov is now director of IMEL [Institute of Marx-EngelsLenin] (replacing Yegorov)… He is not the right man for the job. Even though he is an honest man, he does not have the strength, innovation, and knowledge to make this establishment into the headquarters of theory. But, he is a friend of [Alexander] Yakovlev. [Yakovlev] “made” him one of Gorbachev’s advisers, and he fixed him with this “warm” position, while the position is actually on fire.

Iskra (the Spark) was a newspaper Lenin formed in 1903 to promote his revolutionary ideas and organize his followers.

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Rakhmanin is going to be the rector of the MLSh [Mezhdunarodnaia Leninskaia Shkola, International Lenin School].2 It is clear that considering today’s policy regarding socialist countries and China he should have been removed long ago. But not to the International (Lenin) School—to the communists! Supposedly [Vadim] Zagladin (and [Anatoly] Dobrynin, from Zagladin’s words) objected to this, but [Yegor] Ligachev explained to them that the man needed to be placed somewhere while he is still a CC member, etc. And that’s that. This is in relation to the “personnel policies” issue. The International Department is not happy with Dobrynin. They say his New Year’s greetings were “insulting.” In a word, the department cannot adjust to him, and he cannot adapt himself to the department. They won’t accomplish much together, I guess. January 18, 1987 I worked on Saturday. M.S. came back from Zavidovo with a report for the Plenum. I read it. I also read a selection of letters about the Plenum—personnel policies. M.S. called me and asked what I thought of the report. I told him that it was stronger and more significant than the XXII Congress. “I also think so,” Gorbachev said. (He asked me what I was doing at the dacha, we talked about skiing.) “Can you ski?” [Gorbachev asked]. He’s a southerner—for him it is necessary to “know” how to ski. Then I reported my thoughts about the forthcoming meeting with the Americans (Kissinger & Co.) and about the speech at the forum for humanitarian issues (in midFebruary)—Gorbachev wants our conception of “human rights” to be drawn up. I’m reading [Daniil] Granin’s Zubr [The Bison]. June 6, 1987 It is a crime that I’ve neglected the diary. I’ve already sworn in here several times that it must be almost entirely about Gorbachev. He has brought about a great era in our country. And he himself is growing and becoming a truly exceptional figure in all of Russia’s history. But do I have what it takes (the ability) to reflect it properly? At least to put down an outline? After all, nobody else is doing it. Gorbachev’s book is in the works now (after my insistence—in response to proposals from two American publishing houses Harper & Row and Simon & Schuster). Yakovlev and Dobrynin wanted to respond with yet another collection of his speeches. I suggested putting together a book of records from M.S.’ conversations with foreigners and my notes from when I was present at his narrow circle PB [Politburo] conversations. He liked the idea. For a month and a half we (myself, Shishlin, Ambartsumov, Weber, Kozlov) sat at the Gorky dacha putting together such a volume, systematized by theme— from his natural and brave speech. He read parts of it, got very interested. But it is clear that he has reservations as well: how will his colleagues take it? After all, these are not collectively presented ideas and words (even though they are his thoughts). This is his ideology and style of perestroika. Here one can see his personality, character, style, traits,
2 Oleg Rakhmanin, a conservative first deputy head of the Central Committee socialist countries department, published an article in Pravda on June 21, 1985, in which he tried to undermine Gorbachev’s new policy toward the allies and criticized independent developments in those countries as nationalist. Gorbachev criticized the article at the Politburo and made the decision then to remove him from his position. The eventual removal took place only in January 1987.

2

his secret intentions, his readiness to really go far—he doesn’t even know himself where and how far. But he “feels” that it will be (and has to be) a totally different socialism from the one that was advertised for 60 years and which has entered the society’s genotype. Recently he said to me that we would “come back” to this book and told me to give it to [Ivan] Frolov to read. (He believes in him and shows him friendliness and respect… But I think he is overestimating Frolov’s abilities. Frolov’s relentless antiBrezhnevism wins one over). I can’t describe in detail right now everything that has happened over these months. But at least as an overview… May 29. Late evening. Vnukovo-2. Gorbachev greets everyone. Smiles. His eyes are fierce. He closed himself in the “special room” with the PB members and CC secretaries. Then the secretaries and candidates came out. For another half an hour [he spoke] only with the members. He exited looking jokingly menacing. He barked out to us (the advisers): tomorrow at 11 o’clock at the Politburo. On May 30 at the Politburo [Alexander] Koldunov3 and [Sergey] Sokolov4 were removed (for the FRG [Mathias] Rust’s airplane landing by the St. Basil’s Cathedral). While this was going on I was sitting in my office and writing him a note about the shame and disgrace, about the fact that in such cases the military ministers in “bourgeois democracies” resign, and that we need yet another, the fourth since the times of Peter I, fundamental “military reform.” In the evening: over the phone from his dacha he told me how everything went at the PB. He began by saying that in such cases the entire leadership and the military council including its chairman should resign. That’s fine—[they] embarrassed the country, humiliated the people… But let everyone—here and in the West—know where our power is; that it is in the political leadership, in the Politburo. Now the wailers who said that the military is in opposition to Gorbachev, that it is about to overthrow him, that all he does was to keep glancing over his shoulder at the military—these wailers will have to quiet down. He said all this furiously and spoke for a long time, with many pauses. It was clear that he wanted to let some steam out. On June 2 [Gorbachev had] a meeting with the Doctors’ Movement (the Moscow congress, Laun & Co.). He charmed everyone once again. And there are always new aspects of thoughts in his impromptu speeches. He told [us] with interest how together with Yakovlev he talked with the most important people at this congress, about evaluations that they gave him “personally.” To me he said (in response to my question): don’t go too much… to the press… about the talk… Everyone laughed. Yakovlev commented: you received the most typical orders. And M.S. himself is laughing. A day after the PB, when he suddenly decided to receive Tiwari (from Gandhi). Dobrynin and I sat together in his office, waiting for this Tiwari. “You—he addressed Dobrynin—tell Anatoly what the Australian doctor says about me in regard to my meeting with Laun & Co… The doctor made a surprising observation… “I,” he says (and he said this at the press conference, as well), “watched Gorbachev during the meeting as a ‘doctor observes a patient.’”
3 4

Alexander Koldunov—Head of Air Defenses of USSR Armed Forces Sergey Sokolov—USSR Defense Minister

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While Dobrynin was telling me this, I observed M.S…. There is not a shadow of conceit in him, as if it’s not even him we were speaking about… he already sees himself as an instrument of perestroika… at least when he reads the Western press’ compliments about him. June 4—PB. [Gorbachev] decided the date for the Plenum. He said that soon he would go away to prepare for it. He will only chair the meeting on Monday. He’s thought of something again. He invited academicians, some party workers. I don’t even know what it is about. Yakovlev stopped by in the evening. He brought a flyer that black hundredists5 from “Pamyat’”6 [Memory] are distributing around Moscow. It is called “Stop Yakovlev!,” who is portrayed as the head of Zionism-Masonry, as the main threat to all the Russian sacred things. He paced around my office for a long time. I tried to convince him to just shrug it off and not tell M.S. that he is worried about it. But it turns out that he [Gorbachev] has already responded to it (and said to Yakovlev): “Do you think this is directed against you (Yakovlev)? No. This is against me (Gorbachev).” And he is right. Yakovlev almost had tears in his eyes when he told me how hard it was for him right now. After all, this scum has Ligachev’s and [Vitaly] Vorotnikov’s direct support. He suspects that the flyer was not made without [Viktor] Chebrikov’s assistance. I thought this to be inconceivable. Yakovlev said: “I am a Russian bumpkin [muzhik], a peasant from Yaroslavl’, but anti-Semitism, or any kind of nationalism is physically disgusting to me… it makes me sick. Not even to mention state interests, if the Russian chauvinism is aroused right now, it would cause such a storm in the provinces, such nationalism, that all our “empire” would begin to crack.” Yesterday I sent [Aleksandr] Askol’dov’s (director of the film “The Commissar” [Komissar]) letter to M.S., as well as the letter written by three other people: Borshchagovskiy, Shtein, and Zorin. They are asking for his intervention. Yakovlev, to whom Askol’dov already wrote, was not able to get past the MC [Moscow Committee] and the CPC [Committee of Party Control]. I decided to include Gorbachev in the process, tempting him by saying that the film is worth seeing. It’s powerful. And what actors! But they are letting the author rot “because of prejudices” (anti-Semitism) and esprit de corps. Plus the indifference. Ligachev, who saw the film and said, “I will not allow it,” is behind this. Then again, he said the same thing about The Children of the Arbat [Deti Arbata]. But the novel is being printed. He was against sending The Repentance [Pokaianie] to Cannes. But the film went and got a prize. I composed a “frame” for the international section for the 70th anniversary of the October. Gave it to Frolov (M.S. assigned him to lead this topic). So far it is only a “denial” of Stalinism in our international history. Will it go through?.. I’ll have to work some more. In the Novy mir article “Advance Payments and Debts” [Avansy i dolgi] [Nikolai] Shmelev reveals the essence of what we have done with the country and says that indeed we still have very far to go. The orthodox have already made their stand. In the “dressingroom” [предбанник] of the PB I walked up to Frolov and [Viktor] Afanasiev. They were
Originally a conservative movement in the beginning of the 20th century that supported the Russian tsar and fought against the revolutionary movements. 6 Reactionary informal movement and later non-governmental organization established to protect Russian heritage.
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speaking about the article… I expressed my enthusiasm. Then Ivan [Frolov] told me that I shocked Pravda’s chief editor: this kind of an evaluation from you, while I (Afanasiev) heard differently. What’s a poor peasant to do?.. I think that Shmelev’s article also will not be to Ligachev-Vorotnikov’s liking. I asked M.S. whether he has read it already. He said not yet, but Frolov already put it on his desk. Shmelev is also the author of a deep and sweet novel called The Pashkov House [Pashkov dom]—it is as if it was written about the 50s of my life, university, Leninka7… There is a foul article in “Pravda” called “Historicism of Thought”… formulating the orthodoxy’s methods of fighting against perestroika. And Volkogonov (deputy of Lizachev—chief of the Soviet Army’s Policy Control) writes notes to Frolov: against pacifism in the “new thinking.” June 12, 1989 About “Pamyat’.” The PB discussed a note that Gorbachev assigned to Ligachev, Chebrikov, and Yakovlev to prepare. Here as well he rose above all of them. Actually he had not intended to broaden the discussion. But [Nikolai] Ryzhkov started it smartly, and [Vladimir] Dolgikh, [Eduard] Shevardnadze, Ligachev, and Vorotnikov joined in, while [Andrey] Gromyko used the opportunity to add Burlatsky’s TV show (“From one cabinet” [Iz odnogo kabineta]). M.S. gave a whole conception of the glasnost process in relation to this, and an evaluation of what we have right now. I made a record and sent it to him. And I left a copy for myself. On Shmelev’s article. Arbatov keeps calling, he’s afraid that he’ll get in trouble because of it. The article has the logic of tar [логика дегтя]: the justification of the necessity of unemployment. A politician cannot accept that if he wants the masses to support perestroika. And that is why he said about [Sergey] Zalygin (editor of Novy Mir): I respect him, but if Sergey Pavlovich wants to offer us capitalism instead of socialism we do not need that kind of an editor. However he objected to removing editors. He reminded everyone of Anatoly Ivanov’s proposal at the meeting with writers (we should have a new resolution on Zvezda [Star] and Leningrad journals). We would give the wrong signal, he said. When Ligachev complained that he already spoke with Zalygin four times and would like to get something done so he would not have to speak with him a fifth time, M.S. laughed and said: “Remember how the Chinese gave the 391st serious warning…” Gromyko made a vile attack on [Fyodor] Burlatsky. He did it in the old style, as he used to do when he was Chairman of the PB Committee on Foreign Policy Propaganda under [Konstantin] Chernenko. [Back then] he only had to name the author or columnist and that person immediately disappeared from the pages of journals and from the screen. This time nobody responded except Shevardnadze, who very emotionally said some sharp words to this dotard, taking Burlatsky directly under his protection and condemning the very approach Gromyko used, the very method of such “criticism.”

Lenin’s Library, now the Russian State Library—the biggest library in the USSR, the old building of which was called the Pashkov House.

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Today I wrote to M.S. my “impressions” of this trick that Gromyko pulled. And assuming that M.S. did not see the broadcast himself I described to him the way it really happened, and not how Gromyko lied about it. In any case, M.S. despises him deeply. [Gorbachev] sinks more and more of [Gromyko’s] silly “initiatives” in international issues, and sometimes he just ignores them, as if Gromyko did not say anything. The latter sits and grows red in the face, and then… “surfaces” once again. I wrote both parts of the international section’s preliminary theses for the 70th anniversary of the October [Revolution]. Spoke with Frolov. He liked it and gave it to his two “boys” (Latsis and one other one), who prepare his “work” in this sphere. He puts me on guard. He scorns [Aleksandr] Bovin’s, Zagladin’s, [Georgy] Arbatov’s, and Burlatsky’s immodesty and conceit, but at the same time he is conceited about his modesty. By his essence he is not an intellectual, even though he is a Corresponding Member [of the Academy of Sciences] and a scholar. As a result I do not believe that he is honest. I am open with him. I do not hide my opinions… But Karyakin, who was his bosom-friend, warns me that this man is a professional traitor. I also do not believe him because he still respects [Pyotr] Demichev,8 he thinks that Demichev is progressive, while one can see with the naked eye that the man was and is a riff-raff and a nonentity. I asked Galkin to visit me today. I asked him to look at my “theses” and to “put them in order” if he agrees with the conception in general. M.S. retired to Volynskoe-2 with Yakovlev. They are preparing the Plenum report, which is compared in significance with 1921 and 1929… June 14, 1987 I was at the CC for only six hours. It was clear that M.S. read my proposal to meet with Rust (to tell him: “What have you done, you milksop [сопляк]?”) since he sent Rust’s parents’ letters around the PB. But he did not call me—neither about this nor about anything else, including my mention that his “book” we are planning needs the impulse that he promised. It seems like [Uliy] Kvitsinsky (Ambassador to the FRG) has thrown him off course by making a fuss about Reagan “at the Wall” and the commotion the GDR youth raised over the rock music on the other side of the Brandenburg gate. Sometimes M.S. is prone to momentary bursts of emotion (at individual instances), but this is not reflected in the [policy] line. He restrains himself… then admits that emotions are not for politics. Sometimes he even checked me when I suggested snapping at something from the West. [Ilya] Erenburg’s concluding chapters (People, Years, Life [Ludi, gody, zhizn’]) have been published in three issues of Ogonek. He describes the Khrushchev years. And we all look like such idiots—out society fixated on dogmas, fears, suspicions, hate. A terrible lack of political culture combined with a unique spiritual wealth of almost everyone privy to the intellectual milieu. Truly… Stalin and Stalinism have profoundly broken our people. But what’s happening right now shows that [the people] remain healthy and free “inside,” in the inmost recesses of their spirituality and souls: as soon as glasnost provided some breathing space everything rushed to the surface. And now it could only be stopped by recessions [рецессиями].

Pyotr Demichev—conservative Candidate Member of the Politburo, First Deputy Chairman of the USSR Supreme Soviet. He was sent into retirement in October 1988.

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But I already mentioned that at the PB while discussing “Pamyat’” nobody offered to suppress them… Some (Ryzhkov, Ligachev) even specifically said that under no circumstances would they be in favor of suppressing them, even though “something needs to be done” with the leaders of “Pamyat’” as well as the “Shmelevs,” who offer unemployment. But God forbid we frustrate, stop, or cross democracy and glasnost. M.S. made the following conclusion about it: while the other mechanisms of perestroika are not yet running smoothly, glasnost alone is supporting the process. Having daily contact with the western press one sees what an enormous change Gorbachev caused in people’s minds all over the world. In essence, he has already laid the foundation for a new era in international relations. The people who do not want the new thinking and are afraid of it still have to de facto participate in the Seven game in Venice, and the reaction to it in the world shows this very clearly. Public opinion surveys all over the Western Europe show that Gorbachev has surpassed Reagan as “the ruler” of the political atmosphere in Europe. I was at the museum of fine arts at the Russian-French exhibition. How unattractive our counts, princes, and their daughters and wives were, except for the Shuvalovs—faces with “un-Russian expressions.” There were silver and diamond studded gold pieces: it was a totally different life, if so much labor, patience, talent, time and money was invested in such things! And now all of that brings only one question to a normal person’s mind—what was it for? I also noticed the dresses and camisoles from the times of Peter I and Catherine (including her own dresses). How petite people were two centuries ago! The average present-day woman, or even a young woman or a girl would not fit into Ekaterina’s dress, and she was considered a good-sized woman in her day. In general, one sees very few beautiful women on the streets and in the crowds of people [nowadays]. I read some Pushkin and kept coming across poems that have later been made into romances one sometimes hears on the radio. I just feel like spitting at it. I would forbid it. But it’s too late: Tchaikovsky and Glinka started the vulgarization of Pushkin. And it continues to this day. And they are delighted by it, saying that he inspired this and that… while in reality it’s just an outcome of mediocrity and something foreign touching a genius. June 15, 1987 Gorbachev calls me: are you alive, Anatoly Sergeich9? How is everything with the preparation of the Women’s Congress? You know, more feelings are necessary there. We can attract this audience to our policies through emotion. It cannot be done otherwise. Remember Engels? He said: “Woman is a different civilization.” We should proceed from that. I replied: Yes, Engels was a pro in this subject matter. He laughs: Well, for lack of personal experience we will have to lean on the classic. I: You are being modest, Mikhail Sergeyevich. He: Alright. You understand what I meant. We need [to discuss] Venice, Reykjavik, West Berlin. The world has shifted. Society feels the realities and is interested in our policies. Remember how Yakovlev and others protested against
9

Sergeich is the short and familiar form of the patronymic Sergeyevich.

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publishing the results of West European surveys about Gorbachev being better liked than Reagan and having done more for peace. They are afraid that we might cultivate a cult. Why? – I objected. I do not see any cult here. I: I also do not see one. And in general, Mikhail Sergeyevich, the people are receiving you properly. There are no associations with the past, despite the fact that you are in every newspaper. This is deserved authority. Remember Pushkin? “He was a worker on the throne” ([Gorbachev] laughs). M.S.: So we see the reality and society is beginning to see it too. And we make real policies, rather than putting up a cheap traveling show (that was about Reagan in West Berlin)10. He is putting up this farce to win back Venice, which the world forced them to agree to. At the same time he is provoking us, so we that we would break down and help them to bring back the “Soviet threat.” If I gave weekly interviews like Reagan I would say that after eight years he has not been able to break free from his former profession. It’s good that you sent me records of my speeches from the last PB. Only you have an incorrect record there: it was the leaders of “Pamyat’” who called the XXYII Congress a “congregation of scum and prostitutes,” rather than me calling their “society” that. I cited them, you didn’t hear me. But you are right—it is a congregation of scum and prostitutes. But in general it was a major talk at the PB. And everyone spoke well. We are growing, getting better. We are becoming educated in this. I: That’s for sure, Mikhail Sergeyevich, especially when you gave the descriptions from the words of western propaganda: Gorbachev—the Westernizer, like Peter I; Ligachev—the Russifier (there is even a letter going around “from Ligachev”); Yakovlev—the Mason, uniting cosmopolitans around him; Ryzhkov—this one is a technocrat and doesn’t care about ideology. Everybody’s laughing and you too, and while laughing they are making a note of it! M.S. laughs into the telephone: That’s the kind of impromptu speeches I have to use, Anatoly! Oh, and it’s difficult going. This is the thin edge of the wedge. But that’s alright. The report (for the Plenum) is turning out strong. The theses are only a skeleton, the meat is in the report, and I’m adding some bones to it too. I have put off the interview with [Der] Spiegel. I don’t want to flirt with the Germans right now (he means Rust the pilot and the orgy [шабаш] in Berlin for the city’s 750th anniversary). As soon as we straighten out the German policy a little, I will publish it in [Der] Spiegel. And about Rust—don’t oversimplify it. I: I am not oversimplifying, but I am sure that even if he was objectively someone’s weapon, personally he did not have any bad intentions. M.S.: Still, do not oversimplify it. We will seal him off [мы его запечатаем]. According to the law, everything as it should be. Let them ask…

10

President Reagan’s Speech in West Berlin at the Brandenburg Gate on June 12, 1987 during which he challenged Gorbachev to “take down this wall.”

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Today Aksenov Jr. and his “comrades in arms” –the creators of the neo-MarxismLeninism—came to visit me. Chernyshev, the youngest, spoke for the most part. He has an amazing mind, a phenomenal education and the ability to wield thought and word together. This is a true giftedness that is being left at the curbside. But already [in his mind] there is schematism and adherence to logic that is too strict and moves away from the real life. Everyone is “for” it, they told me. They’ve been to visit Bobkov eighteen times, visited Medvedev11 three times, a number of times they discussed it with Kosolapov, Zagladin, Shevardnadze, Bessmertnykh, and other influential people. And what came of it? Everyone is for it, but no one can do anything. In the summer I persuaded M.S. to read their essay. He read it “with interest.” Assigned Medvedev and Yakovlev to take care of it. When I started pestering Medvedev about it he said that he would not deal with that issue. Yakovlev excused himself citing his being busy. Right now I suggested that they write an article for the Communist. Only without any outrageous material. I will see to it that it be discussed. And then all the heads will have to decide what to do with your “eureka.” For a long time they pressed the great significance of their discovery on me. I feel that abstractly they are right. For now we stopped at that. I told [Anatoly] Kovalev what happened at the PB, praised his boss (Shevardnadze). He told me that there were plans to make Burlatsky editor of the International Affairs [Mezhdunarodnaya Zhizn’] at the MFA [Ministry of Foreign Affairs]. June 20, 1987 At 10 p.m. on the private telephone line: M.S. calls me to Volynskoe-2. By the skill of my chauffeur I was there in half an hour. M.S., Yakovlev, Medvedev, Slyunkov, Boldin are in the hall, discussing the draft of “The basic clauses of economic development,” which will be passed at the Plenum on June 26. M.S. sat me down next to him, and said: “read!” and passed me the report he had been working on here for 10 days. I delved into it. He kept asking me “So, how is it?” They were arguing about something, I listened in. They were stuck on the issue of “control numbers.” M.S. summoned Ryzhkov to Volynskoe. An argument flared up. The Premier [Ryzhkov] insisted on more levers of control for the center. Medvedev tried to convince him that in that case the “new mechanism” and the economic system of control will not work. M.S. kept entering the argument, refuting Ryzhkov, but he did not want to offend him. He doesn’t want it to be obvious that he supported Medvedev rather than the Premier. In the end they softened the formula and agreed to leave it untill the PB, when all the additions will be discussed before the CC Plenum.

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Vadim Medvedev—Secretary of the CC CPSU in charge of relations with socialist countries, replacing Rusakov in February 1986, later full member of the Politburo.

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Yakovlev jokingly threw me a comment across the table: so Anatoly, this is how the fate of the country is decided. M.S. laughed. [Gorbachev] asked me again: “How is it?” I told him that I studied these thoughts and their conception through different sources (I’m hinting at the book). M.S. (laughingly, bitingly): So there is nothing new for you in here? I: Why do you say that? Everything here is systematized and in its final form. It is a whole symphony of perestroika. We moved on to editing the draft Plenum Resolution. He accepted a few of my suggestions. He has such a mastery of the material that he quickly finds the optimal formulas. I submitted my additions to his speech at the Women’s Congress (June 23), (which is why he summoned me in the first place). The main one is about the administrative system that formed in the ‘30s and which, in his version, he says was the only one possible. It turned out to be a 100 percent justification (historically) of this Stalinist system. He listened to this comment (Yakovlev supported me). Then he said: “later, later,” and put my paper aside. We finished quickly with the women’s text. He liked it. But he made me redo the “disarmament” theme: he did not want to get into a squabble either with “Venice,” or with Reagan in West Berlin. We said goodbye, he started getting ready to leave. It was already 6 a.m. He said: “you have worn me out; I could agree to anything that you might slip me right now.” I left right after him. Then there was a call to the car, from his car: “Listen, did you leave your insertion with them?” - No. You did not work on it. - Well, all right. As you get to the CC right now, retype it and send it over. July 5, 1987 Life is so dense [with events] and the days go by so quickly that more than two weeks have flown by since the last entry. And it is probably impossible to even recreate the chronology of events. On June 23, M.S. spoke before the women. I think he was not too happy with how he spoke (he really was tired and there was no excitement, especially in the first “women’s half [женской половине]” of the text; he got worked up when he started to shame the West about the INF [intermediate nuclear forces] and the SRM [short-range missiles]… He really liked the idea of “word and deed”—our and their programs. And this was what got the attention of the Western press). Later he told me: “I was nervous about how they would receive me. You see, they were from all over the world, black, yellow, and others, all brainwashed by the antiSoviet trash. What do they know about us? And when they greeted me… and then… these children… the American woman brought them out. You know, I am not a sentimental person, but here I got teary-eyed… did you see it?” (Yes, I saw it; everyone saw how he turned away from the TV and took out a handkerchief). “And it would be alright if it was only ‘Gorbachev, Gorbachev, Gorbachev!!’ but they yelled: Raisa12!
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Gorbachev’s wife, Raisa Maksimovna Gorbacheva.

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What is she to them? That is how the political factor works out, Anatoly. Only our average guy cannot accept it… and not only the average one.” In response I told him (from the words of Gusenkov, who accompanied R.M.[Raisa Maksimovna]) how afterwards, when he left the Congress, the people surrounded R.M. and she had to right away give several interviews to different newspapers; how she [interacted] with several groups around her. She behaved expertly—she is a teacher, after all! And she is educated. On June 24, I remember, I was preparing materials like mad for meetings with Perez de Cuellar and Rajiv Gandhi, whom I received on the 29th. The Plenum.13 I think this was a more significant event in the life of the country than the transition to the NEP [New Economic Policy] in 1921, because it turned out that it was possible to crush the NEP… We hadn’t seen what it would come to. We had no experience. We thought that since the pre-history became “real history”—when the person created it himself and was not a slave to natural laws—then we could do anything we wanted with the country, just as long as we wanted it badly enough. Now a return to Stalinism is impossible, for if we do it for the third time then the death of socialism is provided for… and we will be well on the way to becoming a thirdworld country. But retreats are possible and, most importantly, shuffling in one spot is very dangerous, it could trample the shoots of anything new. They are still very weak, the Plenum showed that. Some (mostly from the lower ends: kolkhoz chairmen, directors, etc.) were ardently and passionately “for” [perestroika]… But they are acting by their gut feelings. Vagin (chairman of the Gorky oblast’ kolkhoz) for example, does not need to undergo perestroika, he was born a perestroika man, i.e. he is for common sense. But of course he does not understand the entire historical and philosophical (a trendy word) depth of the undertaking. Maybe he doesn’t even need to. Or, let’s say Nikonov—the president of The Lenin Academy of All-Soviet Agricultural Sciences. He is smart, honest, educated, and even “from the people.” His professional goal is to make the land work and feed the people. But he is not concerned with “forcing” society to form as the result of this. It seems he does not even think about it. But in general, such a stance is not too bad. He will do his necessary part of perestroika well, like a professional. The trouble is that members of the PB—Shcherbitsky, Vorotnikov and first deputies of the Chairman of the Council of Ministers, obkom [oblast committee] secretaries do not understand what is going on. And even though they utter good words about the revolution, about the changes, etc., it is clear that for them it is just their job, not participation in a revolution. They are not leaders of the process at their levels, they are just disciplined bureaucrats who will adjust to the process rather than form it, thinking that it will happen on its own. They do not know how to reform society. They are from the old structure, in essence they come from a Stalinist type of leadership. [Viktor] Nikonov (he has the same last name as the person I mentioned above, he is a member of the PB, secretary of the CC for agriculture) is another matter. It was no accident when clever M.S. made him a Politburo member. This is a person who is soft, absolutely indifferent to any kind of personal interest; by the way, his looks and personality resemble the artist Leonov. He has a deep knowledge of our agriculture and
13

Plenum of the CC CPSU on radical reform of the economy, June 25-26, 1987

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he understands everything. It is this soft, goodhearted person who will do the destructive part of the work. He made such a statement in his speech at the PB. His most important goal is to forever stop intervention into agriculture by anybody (except for science), such as party, soviet, industrial, administrative, or other superiors. And then, after we feed the people, we will see what will come of it from the socio-political point of view. Gorbachev dictated his report three times. For two weeks before the Plenum he lived by this report day and night. He thought through all the details, he called me often, thinking out loud about how it would resonate, how it would be received, whether it would be understood and whether it was necessary for everything to be understood. “I myself do not understand everything completely” he worried. The report truly was a turning point (in everything, in its very Leninism). If one reads carefully and looks several layers deeper between the lines, then the explosive, revolutionary nature of the report is evident. And the debates? They were not only not at the level of the report, they were not even at the level of the Plenum agenda. On Wednesday, July 1, a Politburo session took place. It drew conclusions from the Plenum. Premier Ryzhkov spoke frankly and deeply. He understands what is important right now. That is why he said that even at the Plenum that surpassed anything our people or the West could have expected, we did not say the entire truth, but only a half-truth about the present situation and how incredibly difficult the process of adjusting the new economic mechanism is going. Everybody is worried about the fact that we will have to raise prices. By the way, Ligachev reported that prices at the market are higher than last year but the fruit and vegetable supply of Moscow is worse, already more produce has been lost than in the previous year. And this is a matter of big politics. The fate of perestroika is in this. Ryzhkov added that is was difficult to come to such a Plenum and it is staggering how quickly Mikhail Sergeyevich was able to prepare such positions. But it will be even more difficult to keep moving, to bring the Plenum ideas to life. This not a task measured in months, but in years. During the discussion, Gorbachev suddenly said: “I received a letter from Shmelev, the guy who published an article in Novy Mir about unemployment, about which a voter asked me, you remember?.. You see, people are interested in everything, there are fewer and fewer indifferent people. So anyway, this Shmelev admits in the letter that he got carried away but insists that something needs to be done about the loafers. He swears that he is ready to loyally serve perestroika and thanks me for being so lenient toward him when I answered the voter’s question. It’s alright; we need this kind of people as well. Let him! We need to learn to use all our brains and not be nervous. And [we need to learn] not to hit people over the head as soon as we don’t like something.” (By the way, Arbatov admitted to me that he “organized” that letter, and then edited the text). At the Plenum [Dinmuhamed] Kunaev (First Secretary of Kazakhstan’s Communist Party) was removed from the CC. Before the start of the session he grabbed my elbow in the hallway and cheerfully and self-assuredly said to me: “Tell Mikhail

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Sergeyevich to briefly receive me. Do it for an old friend. Remember what a good trip to England we had. 14” During the session Ligachev read the Kazakhstan Communist Party CC’s request to withdraw Kunaev from the CPSU CC, then he stated the claims against him, gave a description of what Kunaev turned out to be like in reality. Kunaev asked to be permitted to speak. Gorbachev allowed him to speak. And the guy started to impudently and aggressively praise himself: it was he who discovered mineral resources in Kazakhstan (Kunaev is a geologist), he condemned the nationalistic book History of Kazakhstan, he built the ferrous and non-ferrous metallurgy in the republic, he modernized the cities, he… etc., etc., etc. As for “those December events,15 so what? Some boys ran out into the streets and to deal with him like this for that… Stop comrades, do not make a hasty decision…” M.S. couldn’t get him to stop, one could see how he restrained his indignation, he kept calling him by his full name with patronimic[по имени отчеству]… Then three Kazakhs spoke—“impromptu with a piece of paper”—and “referred to the facts.” But overall, Kunaev’s behavior was the strongest factor against him. There was a secret vote. He left before the results were announced: 298 out of 299 were in favor of removing him. A Plenum is a Plenum, but my work had to go on: during the week there was one [visit] after another—Perez de Cuellar on the 29th, Carter on the 1st, Rajiv Ghandi on the 2nd and 3rd, and on the 7th [Richard] Weizsäcker—to whom M.S. assigned great importance because of Germany. I’ve become adept at preparing such material based on what I get from the MFA, the CC International Department, some of the specialists, and of course the departments: [Vladimir] Kamentsev, [Sergey] Akhromeyev, Chebrikov. But it must have Gorbachev’s idea in it. Almost always from his former talks, his speeches at the PB, from his other replies “for the occasion,” from constant contact with him I can imagine what he is thinking, what his position on this or that topic is. And nowadays I am rarely mistaken… Even though during conversations he moves away from the prepared material and makes the conversation deeper and richer with thought (by the way, he never reads texts when he is face to face with the person he is talking to. He does not even keep his notes open, only glances at them sometimes to start a new question). But the passages that he really likes he repeats to different people. That happened with de Cuellar, and with Carter, who turned out to be a rather dry and boring type. I looked at him and thought—how could it be that such a person was President of a superpower that determines the fate of humanity? And then I stopped myself. What kinds of types have we had ourselves?! But I was talking about something else. Whoever sits opposite M.S. (with the possible exception of Quaddafi’s representative) trusts him, and there is a feeling that they do not speak with the other “great” leaders such as Reagan, Mitterrand, Deng Xiaoping, and even with Thatcher so sincerely…
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We really did go to a congress in Great Britain with him about ten years ago. I remembered a story he told then, about how as a student in Moscow he watched from the other side of the Moscow River how the Cathedral of Christ the Savior was blown up. [Footnote in the original] 15 December 17-19, 1986 ethnic riots in Alma-Ata in response to Kunaev’s removal as first Secretary of Kazakh Communist party and his replacement by an ethnic Russian Gennady Kolbin. Over 300 people were wounded when the riots were put down with force.

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They believe that he wants to do exactly what he tells them, as well as what he says publicly. It is another matter that he cannot do everything, or even the most part, of what he says. It is impossible to be cunning and play games in a conversation with him. He is open and he disarms any “class” opponent because by his entire manner he invites him to be first and foremost a normal human being. The Indian festival in Moscow has completely worn him out, especially since he hates “protocol.” I came in to ask him about when he will be one on one with Gandhi whether it will be really one on one as it was in Delhi, or with advisers. He sat back, smiled weakly. “Come to the meeting, why not… and Rajiv will probably bring an adviser. You know, I am terribly tired. I work into the night every day. I don’t feel myself anymore, and the work just keeps piling on. But, Anatoly, it needs to be done. We have started upon such a great cause! There is nowhere to retreat. And what a Plenum! Oh, I will go far. I will not back down, I will not waver. The most important thing is not to waver and not to show that you’re hesitant, that you’re tired, unsure… And you know what’s upsetting: they do not want to believe that I’m doing it for the cause. They are jealous. Jealousy, you see, is this strange thing…” (I of course didn’t ask him who exactly he had in mind. I only noted that jealousy is not characteristic of the Russian character. But, “what you are describing,” I remarked, “is the heritage of moral rebirth of a society that came from Stalin.”) He said: you’re at it again. Although, you’re right. Stalin is not just 1937. It is a system, a system in everything—from economics to people’s consciousness. Everyone was delighted with his short phrases and did not notice the short thoughts that then came down on us all… and it still goes on today! Everything is from there. Everything that we need to overcome now, it is all from there! That’s how it is. But he is not very consistent in that. I already mentioned how difficult it was for me to convince him to make the reservation that not everything in Stalin’s commandadministrative system was justified by the circumstances (in the Plenum report)… he inserted a phrase, but not the one I suggested. It was a very watered-down version… He’s afraid that he will be blamed (!) for tarnishing names and nihilism about the past. Perhaps the instinct of carefulness is at work here: since he is preparing to go far from the socialism we had and have, he thinks it tactically appropriate not to distance himself from what was done before, no matter by what means it was done! Maybe that’s it. Also I noticed that it is because of his paradoxical feeling of love for the people, because of respect. On June 22 there was the following splash at the PB. In some connection (M.S.’ Plenum report was being discussed) Ligachev started deriding the “vilifiers” of the past, once again mentioning Yuri Afanasiev, Academician Samsonov (Yakovlev told me yesterday that Yegor Kuzmich [Ligachev] assigned them to collect “some materials” on them). Some others agreed: Solomentsev, Vorotnikov, Gromyko. And M.S. took off about this: the biggest political mistake is to allow disrespect for the people, while they… not sparing themselves, hungry, tattered, with only the shirt on their backs, with heads shaved against lice, they worked without leaving anything for themselves, not even counting on using the fruit of their hellish labors—they were building the country, preparing it against fascism, fighting for an idea… And what now, are we so smart that

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we can tar all of that? Are we to say “You did the wrong thing?” No, here we must be very careful. We need to respect the people. I sat there, listened and was angry. When I came to my office I dictated five pages about how Stalin “respected” the people: he destroyed the most diligent muzhik—the peasantry, the best part of the village population; he put 3-4 million soldiers under fascist tanks by his games with Hitler and by the attempts to appease him in the summer of 1941; and how he “complied” with the party by liquidating everybody who made the revolution and started socialism in Russia. I sent it to him. He read it. But—not a word, although yesterday when we were discussing the “Book” it was clear that something stuck. I think [the comments] about “jealousy” were also in relation to this. Recently the BBC had a great deal of material about the preparation to publish Trotsky’s “Stalin,” which he hadn’t finished when his hero put an end to him. There, “jealousy” is one of Stalin’s main character traits during his entire political life. That was the “jealousy of the mediocre” of anybody outstanding. I think M.S. spoke about jealousy in relation to him with this association. Here is an episode that took place towards the evening of July 3, the second day of Gandhi’s stay here. Two conversations took place at which I was present. On July 2 there was a dinner in a “close circle” in Novo-Ogarevo (plus Raisa Maksimovna); on the 3rd a “lunch” at the Indian embassy was scheduled before the meeting of friendship in Luzhniki. About an hour and a half before the lunch, M.S. calls me: Where are you? At work, as you can see. You know, Gandhi is telling me right now (as they were walking down the Cathedral Square) that we will have to say speeches… at this luncheon. And I don’t know anything… Yes, Vorontsov told me about this yesterday, but I asked him to convince Gandhi to make it without speeches, just short toasts “to health” and such. And, what is Gandhi saying? I don’t know. Call Vorontsov right now so I can hear [your conversation]. I’m calling. He’s not there, he’s gone somewhere to the Indians. Well, then give me a speech. I can’t. I already used all the words and thoughts for speech about “Great India” and its leader. (He laughs). It’s alright, you won’t die. Come up with a couple of pages and send them over right now. I’m in my office at the Kremlin. And he hung up the receiver. I called Tamara and right away started to dictate in an unbroken flow. She recorded it and typed it up. I corrected it. The entire process took 20 minutes. I sent it to him. There was no reaction. And I have a strict rule: not to ask him about the results of my work. Never, in any shape or form. I came home around 9 p.m. Suddenly the work telephone rings. He is calling from Luzhniki (it’s the opening day; there are celebrations, dances-shmances [танцы-манцы]):

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Anatoly Sergeyevich, Mikhail Sergeyevich asked to give the speech that he said at the Indian embassy luncheon to the press, and also to translate it into English to give to Gandhi before his departure. In the form in which I sent it to him? Yes, exactly in that form. Work! It is around 11 p.m., the newspapers have been formatted, and Gandhi leaves at 12:15 a.m. The only copy [of the speech] is in my office. I called TASS [Telegraph Agency of the Soviet Union] and let them know. I called for a car. There is no Xerox machine; no one of the typists is around. At the MFA there’s only one man on duty, no translators. I sent what I had to the TASS, they held up the newspapers. By TV [sic] from TASS they communicated it to this poor man on duty at the MFA. The next day around 11 a.m. M.S. called together Yakovlev, Frolov, Boldin and me in his office. What will we do with the “Book?” (The one I had been working on in March at the Gorky dacha) We all decided that it would be a sensation even in the present raw state. But they criticized it, gave advice, recommended things, and enriched it. We agreed that on July 10 I would again go to a dacha in Serebryannyi Bor and finish it in a month. And he [Gorbachev] started the meeting by telling about what happened with this “toast” at the Indian embassy—that Gandhi literally demanded that the speech be published in Moscow and in Delhi. “You see,” he says, “the most effective things come impromptu.” July 12, 1987 The week consisted of Weizsäcker. M.S. again displayed depth and unexpectedness. Once again he charmed the person he was talking to: on the “European home” and especially on the issue of the Russian Germans. He feels it in his heart that the problem cannot be removed and that someday the Germans will reunite. That is why he said straightforwardly: let history run its course, let’s leave it to history. He also surprised Weizsäcker with his unexpected move: he said to give his sincere hello to Chancellor Kohl… An incident took place. A day ago Gromyko hosted a lunch for Weizsäcker. Weizsäcker’s [speech] was twice as long (and he is a German!). Gromyko told Kvitsinsky to reduce it to “equal [lengths],” of course this was done at the expense of parts that, as Gromyko said, would be “unpleasant to the Soviet people.” (About Kant in Koenigsberg, about a single German consciousness, about freedom being the freedom to visit each other, a hint at the “Wall,” etc. In other words, this was the most important part for Weizsäcker, who tried—an aristocrat and an intellectual—to be maximally loyal and tactful). And it was printed that way. The Germans started to express their surprise, disappointment, and offense through all possible channels (“what about your glasnost, Thatcher and Chirac were printed in full”). I received phone calls from our people: Arbatov, [Valentin] Falin, Shakhnazarov, asking what was going on. Why are we making fools of ourselves again? Glasnost should be glasnost.

-

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I call Kvitsinsky, prodding him: back in the FRG you probably aren’t used to glasnost at home, why did you do that? He says: Gromyko put it down as an order. M.S. comes to work, I call him. Tell him what I think—we are making a mistake. The thing that works in our favor we are turning on ourselves. And then, we could let our readers know that even such a highbrow and noble representative of the FRG has parted with his revanchist sentiments. M.S. spoke angrily: Well, let it be so. That’s how we should behave with the Germans. They like order—Ordnung (what does that have to do with anything?). And then he started saying something jokingly about how our [soldiers] slept with German women when they went to Paris to overthrow Napoleon. I said alright… I felt that he was worked up about something, or maybe frustrated with himself… This was the night before his meeting with Weizsäcker. Later I find out the following from Yakovlev: after the lunch where the speeches were given, Gromyko decided to consult with his colleagues—Ryzhkov, Shevardnadze, Yakovlev—whether it was necessary to censor Weizsäcker. Everybody was decidedly against it, and Ryzhkov was particularly direct about it. Gromyko got upset, turned around and left. And I “figured it out:” he went to call Gorbachev. The latter had not read the speech and agreed with Gromyko. That’s why he had such an angry reaction when I came in and started reminding him about glasnost. After M.S.’ talk with Weizsäcker (who did not say anything about this episode) we went into the presidium room of the Kremlin: M.S., Shevardnadze, Kvitsinsky, and me. I brought up the publication again. Shevardnadze strongly supported me, Kvitsinsky kept quiet. M.S. shifted the conversation to another topic. I understood that once he gave his agreement to Gromyko, he did not want to “disagree” with himself. After returning to my office, I called Yakovlev and we agreed to publish the full Weizsäcker text in Novoe vremya and in Nedelya (which is an addition to Izvestiya). So really it was in Nedelya, since Novoe vremya would come out in a week. I don’t know either M.S.’ or Gromyko’s reactions to this action. But the Western press noticed the “censorship.” The Politburo was on the 9th. The question of building housing and selling construction materials and household goods in general to the population was discussed sharply. Once again Voronov (deputy Chairman of the Council of Ministers) and the ministers tried to report that in 1985 there was this much, now there is that much, even though they haven’t fulfilled the plans and assignments for a single position. And letters just keep coming in, angry ones and with a stinging hint: what’s happening with perestroika? Somehow we, the common people, aren’t getting anything from it. M.S. flew into a rage: this is the people’s need. In our Soviet state the big heads have all the blessings, they renovate their apartments at the expense of special departments, and they couldn’t care less about the people. And these are CC members, ministers, members of the Soviet government. How long will we allow this to go on?! He concluded by saying that this is the last time this conversation takes place about such issues. If you do not get it done, we will be talking with new people. Shevardnadze’s note about the 70th anniversary of diplomatic service was discussed. All kinds of jubilees are proposed, including distinguishing with memorial

Comment: Comment: Anya let’s ask Malcolm about this

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plaques the houses in which Chicherin, Litvinov, and Kollontai lived. Gromyko took the podium, he was very irritated. “Chicherin? What did he do that was so special?.. So, he worked with Lenin. Well, all right, Chicherin’s name can be understood. But Litvinov!! How could that be proposed? The CC dismissed him from the position of People’s Commissar for Foreign Affairs. Did you all know about that? And for what? For disagreeing with the line of the party! He was against reorienting from England and France to Germany. And he was removed… well, temporarily… that was clear from the start… They sent him as an ambassador to Washington, but even there he pushed his line. You can read his ciphered telegrams. And from there he was removed as well. He was replaced by a different fellow” (i.e. Gromyko). I looked around at the PB members, their faces were full of barely concealed irony. Everybody understands the meaning of his words: you suggested Litvinov and Kollontai, but did not even mention him, Gromyko. And he went on: “Kollontai? Who is Kollontai? Yes, Lenin knew her. But she was always against him! Remember Brest, remember the worker’s opposition. So, she was an ambassador to Mexico, and after her [service there] Mexico broke diplomatic relations with us (that was because of the Soviet-German agreement of 1939!!). Then she was in Sweden. And so what, some underground activities… It is true that recently articles about her came out “from the point of view of particular authors,” etc. How will M.S. behave? He already baited Gromyko during his tirade when he commented about Litvinov being removed from his post by order of the CC (“But, Andrey Andreyevich,” with a smile, “it seems Chicherin also did not leave his post completely of his own volition!”)… Further M.S. said this: Chicherin, yes. Nobody is objecting to that, even, it seems, not Andrei Andreievich. And let’s keep Litvinov, too. You say he did not agree. But an anti-Hitler coalition took place after all. That means he was not totally wrong in predicting the outcome of events. As for Kollontai—it’s true, there were many significant ambassadors. Andrei Andreievich named some of them (he named Pushkin, Vinogradov, Zorin, Gusev… was creeping up to himself). But she was not famous for that. And the fact that she spoke against Lenin, well, Vladimir Ilyich said himself: everybody makes mistakes! And he respected her very much. The facts you, Andrey Andreyevich, mentioned—that she was the daughter of a tsar’s general, and Litvinov the son of a major merchant—have no relation to this matter. That’s how M.S. told him off with the public’s approval. Gromyko sat down with a frown. But… how will this continue? How long can one stand this scoundrel who thinks that everything that happened in his time was good and right? By the way, when we were discussing M.S.’ “Book” on the fourth, the conversation about Gromyko’s memoirs came up again (they are sitting in Politizdat, the editor-in-chief of which came to the CC asking what to do, instigated by a note from me). M.S. assigned Yakovlev to “resolve” the matter. He laughed. I spoke my mind: “This is an absolutely harmful thing.” M.S.: And what about glasnost? (He got me there) Frolov: But he is s PB member. If he was not, there would be no problem.

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M.S. (to Yakovlev): Still, look at the “connection between the times,” we need to do this somehow… objectively, honestly. Yakovlev (laughs): If we do it honestly then it is what Anatoly Sergeyevich said. The conversation did not arrive at anything in the end. Gromyko’s assistant Parkhitko is calling everybody and threatening Politizdat’s editor-in-chief with some punishment, especially with the idea that Andrey Andreyevich himself will give him a call! Rust’s case was also discussed at the PB. Chebrikov reported. He cited [Rust’s] statement made during the investigation: I wanted to meet with Gorbachev because it would have been pointless to meet with Reagan. I chose the extravagant method because otherwise it is impossible to attract the necessary attention. Chebrikov’s proposition was to give him to the Hamburg court, which brought the case against him. He added that some research was done among the people and it turns out that the public is of the same opinion. It is established that Rust is not quite normal in the head. But if we send him to get an examination the whole world will shout about the “madhouse” that the Russians are experts of. And it will turn out that he was normal when he came here and insane when he left. There was no discussion. Only Zaikov asked a question: imagine that our boy had landed in Washington. What would they do with him? Chebrikov: “Well, first of all, they would have shot him down while he was still in the air…” (laughter). And right away he noted that our anti-aircraft gunners had aimed and made a photo-shot at Rust 10 times. Each time they had 100 percent accuracy. But they did not have an order for a real shot, because the head anti-aircraft defense commander found out about Rust when the latter had maneuvered over to the cathedral of Christ the Savior. I watched M.S.: he was turning pale, while his eyes became black like uncut diamonds. One could see that he was growing furious: so what do we have here? He wanted to see me, he says. Many people see me: they write me letters, and I answer them. And here… no, this is a provocation. We have 150 generals and officers under trial. We’ve replaced the Minister of Defense. And what for? Perhaps we didn’t have to? And now we let him go, free? No. Democracy is not babyish helplessness. He broke our laws three times (crossing the border, flying outside of air corridors, and landing in a populated area). And he must be punished according to the law. Is the investigation closed? Yes, it is. Let there be a trial. Everything is in order; he is supposed to get from one to ten years… and we’ll go from there. August 28, 198716
In August and September I was in Crimea with Gorbachev, not at the ill-fated dacha in Foros (it was called “Sunrise”), but at the [dacha] inherited from Brezhnev in Nizhniaia Oreanda. Gorbachev was mostly busy working on the book, which he initially proposed to call “A word about perestroika” [Слово о перестройке]. But then he came up with another name “Perestroika and New Thinking for our Country and the Entire World.” Millions of copies were published under this name in America and then in many other countries. Gorbachev was working on the text “with passion,” dictated it two or three times over. He foresaw that this book would create a new image for him and for the changing country; it would help win the
16

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It seems Cuba still needs primitive socialism with wage-leveling. Castro has gigantic thoughts about this. He is a great orator! But wage-leveling socialism will lead nowhere and we will not move forward with it. They pulled us into Afghanistan, f**** it all [ё.т.м.], and now one doesn’t know how to get out of there. Karmalism is the dogmatism of Marxism-Leninism plus parasitism in relation to the USSR. In general we have a shitload [до х.] of Marxists, in Africa too. It was pretty awful when you had to defend Brezhnev’s policies. They were terrible. And now you are defending what you think and believe in. Trust and independence are the norms of our new politics. August 31, 1987 We raised a great cause, but we need intuition to feel the fine line between “smearing the past” and deserved criticism. We should not dash around. The party conference is coming up. We are painting the portrait of socialism with perestroika. But it should not be blurry in the surrealist style, where it’s impossible to tell feet from other parts, etc… Double-dyed [махровые] figures are rising in the changing society. A search is in progress. We created the carcass of a new building—the renewed socialism. We have the carcass, we will come up with the rest. And we will see what turns out. But do not let anyone claim truth in the highest instance. Look carefully at Marx and Lenin, there are “shades” between them. I read Marx’s Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts from 1844. In it, he does not reject private property. There will be no miracle. What a lazy society we have after all! And the leaders are no better: they came to power, got their feed, are sipping some tea and not only tea, and railing at higher leadership. Others, like Yakovlev, are sniveling [рассопливились]. To Afanasiev (Pravda): tell him not to add fuel to the fire of the Tatar issue. Let the committee work in peace. In general the press should not fuel any campaign. To Lukich (Georgii Lukich Smirnov, the General Secretary’s adviser for ideology): call and tell him to prepare materials on the nationality question for the Plenum. To Bromel’ (academician, director of the Ethnology Institute at the USSR Academy of Sciences): assign him to prepare detailed material on the situation of nations and nationalities of the USSR—about what was done under Soviet rule and what was done wrong. And he should give a frank analysis. He should show everything fully. September 3, 1987 Call Ivan Frolov (the General Secretary’s adviser): tell him that the theme of estrangement needs to be developed in my article in the Communist (about socialism and the market). Marx planned to return the person to himself through the socialization of
West’s trust, which, according to his plans, is supposed to become the new and most important factor in transforming international relations. We spent many hours on the terrace (he in the sun, I in the shade), discussing the “movement” of the text and the major issues. We had to get distracted for routine affairs: information from Moscow was coming in non-stop. Sometimes he thought out loud about some things. Some of them I recorded and provide below.

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private property. But, truth be told, we had an estrangement in the economy and in politics due to the absence of democracy. Directive methods of the commandadministrative system deprived us of the opportunity to resolve this most important problem of socialism. …The criteria to evaluate society and its true level of development are not the level of consumption or consumerism, but the growth of the individual, the development of his abilities and possibilities. All of this needs to be “worked through” in the concept of “new thinking.” When the theme of “developing socialism” (a concept we have yet to understand fully) is discussed in an article, we need to show that our goal is to restore the socialist nature of society. September 17, 1987 Three Yegors have sent me [Gorbachev] letters here: Yegor [Kuzmich] Ligachev, Yegor Yakovlev17, and Georgy (he’s also a Yegor!) Arbatov. I read them all and here’s what I have to say to you about them. We have planned and started a colossal, historical work. All three are deeply concerned—they want our plans, which are significant on a historic scale, to be realized. But their positions reflect an incredible range of differing opinions, arguments, positions, discussions—all of the now-open pluralism of our society. There are people who have already called Gorbachev a revisionist. Others, on the contrary, scrutinize me for intentions to destroy Marxism-Leninism because they’ve forgotten about the creative methodology of Marxism-Leninism. Look at how carefully and delicately Bukharin approached every question. And he was meticulous about being true to socialism. And how do our discussions go? Instead of a calm discussion, analysis and realistic evaluations they attack each other right away. All three Yegors are concerned about the same thing. But they all are panicking that we might, God forbid, bog down and suffocate. They think that we are opening the gates of indiscriminate morality. They mention the recent film about a brothel that came out in Riga. This movie truly is an example of moral decay: they are reveling in obscenities, there is nothing sacred. A naked woman [баба] on a boar… And to speak about the movie with Klimov (the producer), for example, he will tell you that it is a great film! Depravity and moral decay bring forth repulsion, so from his, Klimov’s, point of view, the film is denunciatory. But I think that it advocates permissiveness, this admiration of a raspberry [любование малинкой]. The range of opinions is enormous right now. Overall that is good, it is inevitable with such a change as we started. Confusion always accompanies revolution, especially with the intelligentsia. But at the same time we didn’t want to destroy everything sacred—our patriotism, our love of the Motherland. We want to awaken and free everyone from the social passivity, from everything that hinders the forward movement and perestroika. All three Yegors are for democratization. The intellectuals, workers, and peasants are joining the process. But keep in mind the fact that we have 18 million officials plus
17 Yegor Yakovlev was a prominent Soviet journalist, editor-in-chief of the newspaper Moskovskie Novosti [Moscow News] from 1986. He should not be confused with Aleksandr Nikolaevich Yakovlev, who was Gorbachev’s adviser from 1985 to 1991.

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their family members. That’s about 60 million around the country. They are all afraid for their source of income… In the end of his letter Arbatov complains that he might have displeased the General Secretary, he’s afraid to spoil our relations. Tell him all that is rubbish. Tell him that Gorbachev values his opinion, his information, his thoughts that he shares frankly, and that I read his notes carefully. And let out relations remain the same as they were. The main concern is that our work does not stop, and I understand him. Let Yury Arkadievich not panic. We need to see the criteria of glasnost. They are in the values of socialism. There is overkill, and that causes a reaction. Pamyat’ is a part of this reaction, a manifestation of the self-preservation instinct. On the other hand…Viktor Nekrasov died in Paris recently. And another Yegor (Yakovlev) puts Nekrasov’s portrait in his newspaper in a black frame of mourning. A frame of mourning for an anti-Soviet! So overall, they should not panic. I had a conversation with Yegor Kuzmich [Ligachev]. “Some officials,” he said, “are not accountable enough before the people. Yakovlev told me (i.e. Yakovlev told Ligachev at a CC meeting with the editors) that he might leave.” That’s responsibility?! Tell Falin not to dramatize what happened at Yegor Kuzmich’s meeting, but let them draw conclusions. Yegor Yakovlev writes about the popularity of his newspaper. But this popularity must serve the perestroika cause. There is no comparison of opinions in Moskovskie Novosti [Moscow News], as well as in Ogonek, and in much of the other press media. There is no diversity of authors. Only “our” people are there. We need to have others there, too. Then we’ll have democracy and glasnost. There are different topics, burning issues. But we should not make sensations out of them. We will do great work. We need clean hands and clean intentions rather than stuffing people’s minds with God-knowswhat in order to cause a stir and a sensation. I am disgusted when people settle for something worthless. Let the authors of the letters think about this. Yegor Kuzmich told me that at the meeting with editors he noted that many good issues are raised in the MN [Moscow News]. So he does not see everything in one bleak color. Aleksandr Nikolaevich [Yakovlev] recently told me over the phone that he said to Ligachev that they are not walking the same road. Meanwhile he collects all kinds of information about Yegor Kuzmich and gives it to me. Sure, I agree that Ligachev is short on polite expressions. But he is honestly concerned for our cause, for perestroika. As for methods of interaction, well, he does not always get it right. I agree that right now not only what is said is very important, but also how it is said. Tell Yegor (Yakovlev) that Graham Greene visited all of Siberia and was surprised at how much the Bolsheviks accomplished after the October Revolution. But he—Yegor—has been abroad all over, gave all kinds of interviews, but he hasn’t been around his own country. Is that good? Come on Anatoly, we need to unite them all. I do not think that these people are a lost cause. ... Mistakes harm perestroika. We cannot afford to provoke the people who are “for” or the people who are “against” to do things that damage our movement.

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Yes, yes, the entire society, and the Politburo as well, are getting wound up... It would be a mistake to remove Yegor Yakovlev right now. Although the CC Propaganda Department is refusing to work with him, saying that there’s just no keeping him in check. I told Yegor Kuzmich: it will not do to remove him. But at the same time let Yegor think at the MN about his responsibilities. In a word, let everyone act and not panic. But overall, Anatoly, in our own leadership provincialism is also prospering. Postscript The year 1987—the peak of perestroika. If we refer to Kant’s idea of the “phenomenal world” or Schopenhauer’s “the world as representation,” we can recognize that in this sense perestroika was on the rise. Glasnost was strongly making a name for itself as “freedom of speech” as it began to be seen less and less only as an ideological instrument of the CPSU. It created an absolutely new atmosphere in society as it responded to the many years of repressed need for truth and honesty along the line of “power—people.” The hidden processes however, the “things in themselves” (if we again follow Kant), were poorly recognized by the “mind of perestroika” and were decreasingly subject to its influence. By moving in essence (not in form) away from the Marxist-Leninst dogmas, Gorbachev demonstrated outstanding analytical and cognitive abilities; he pointed out more and more frankly where “real socialism” has lead us. This “volume” contains his deep, oratorically masterful and completely frank speeches. At this point, he is still full of optimism about the initiated reforms, and tries in many ways to instill this in “the consciousness of the party and the masses.” However, during this year his first doubts emerge about the possibility of success. He trusted only to the people closest to him with these doubts. There was uncertainty as to where the “unknown forces are leading us.” The famous January Plenum was devoted to staff policies, here for the first time since Lenin the Party's and the CC's culpability for what had happened in the country, for the country's critical situation, was brought up. However, the Plenum did not produce the results perestroika needed, while Gorbachev had had great hopes for it. From then on, the Party never found the wish nor the ability to be the vanguard of change. (Much later Gorbachev recognized that the party by its nature was not suitable for this role). He found a solution: to take away all governmental power functions from the CPSU through the All-union party conference and to restore the full power of the Soviets, which Stalin had liquidated in the 1920s. (It had continued to exist after the Revolution, although in the control framework of the party). For the same reason--the absence of the “subject” of change, of loyal to perestroika and capable cadres--the subsequent attempt to eradicate the consequences of Stalin's forced collectivization and to return the village to its role of bread-winner of the country were unsuccessful. The year 1987 gave clear evidence of resistance to perestroika. At this stage it was still “structural resistance” [сопротивление материала] rather than politicalideological opposition: signs of disappointment in the people (“we do not get anything, the perestroika is only in the center,” etc.), which meant growing apathy, and most importantly—passivity, lack of talent, Stalinist stupefaction [зачумленность],

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unprofessional work and unwillingness to work in the new way of the people who, according to Gorbachev's plan, were supposed to be the “superintendents of perestroika.” The cohort of the “founding fathers” slowly dissipates. They still more or less agree in their description of the “present situation,” but their positions increasingly differed on the readiness to tell people the truth, on the evaluation of the existing order, which they wanted to “improve,” as well as on specific measures for “what is to be done.” More and more often their discussions reveal essential differences. In the highest leadership next to Gorbachev the only people who really remained were Yakovlev, Shevardnadze, and Ryzhkov (later joined by Medvedev). Gorbachev tries to “regulate” the chaotic review of Soviet history. For this purpose he used the 70th anniversary of the October Revolution. But the “balanced criticism” of individual moments in history in his anniversary report, and especially the rehabilitation of Bukharin, turned into a powerful impulse for the rapid growth of this process, and very soon the question arose of whether we ever had socialism, and whether we even need it (even with a “human face”). At the same time, the year 1987 is distinguished with a breakthrough into the outside world. Gorbachev's international recognition and fame are quickly growing. In the West people are slowly convinced that the “Gorbachev phenomenon” in the USSR is not the Kremlin's tricky maneuver, that perestroika is for real. A new and powerful factor arises in foreign policy—trust. This factor will later make possible the end of the Cold War. The conclusion of the first treaty on the reduction of nuclear weapons seals the tendency of ceasing confrontation. In this context the final rejection of the Comintern legacy in the Communist Movement is natural. Gorbachev's book, “Perestroika and New Thinking for Our Country and the World,” which became an international bestseller, played an enormous role in the formation of Gorbachev's and the Soviet Union's new image. Starting in '87, there is a divergence of vectors in Gorbachev's foreign and domestic policy—not in the sense that they lose interdependence (in this case it's actually the opposite), but in the sense of bring able to achieve the goals that were set. The gap in Gorbachev's international and domestic authority formed and began to grow during this year. Finally, 1987 will enter history as a year during which the dangerous and in due time “unidentified object” appeared in the perestroika sky, namely—Yeltsin. His loud, abrupt, and demagogically saturated activity in Moscow did not convince the Politburo that he was ready to be transferred from a candidate to a member of the Areopagus. Resentful Yeltsin presented criticism of Gorbachev's report for the 70th anniversary of October, impudently casting doubt on everything that had been accomplished during the three years of perestroika. (By the way, nobody remembers the Stalinist note in his criticism). Gorbachev did not like this nihilism. In general he considered harmful such faultfinding approaches, especially “in the beginning of the journey.” Plus, people were not used to encroachments on the unquestionable authority of the General Secretary. Moreover, it was clear to everybody that Yeltsin was beginning to be manipulated by the people of his circle: himself he was not capable of formulating his objections so clearly. It was also obvious that Yeltsin was not acting out of conviction, but with the aim of

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flying to the top should perestroika succeed in breaking down the traditional forms and functioning of power. Mikhail Sergeyevich allowed himself to waive the principle of “the pluralism of opinion,” which he himself had announced. He taught Yeltsin (at this time still a delicate) lesson, which was “learned” quite differently from the intention. Two weeks later, at the CC Plenum devoted to the discussion of Gorbachev's 70th October anniversary, Yeltsin decided to openly blackmail the leadership, sharply criticizing the CC Secretariat and threatening resignation. The result is known. Yeltsin was cast to the fringes of politics, but not “squashed.” This was fact was then used by the real opposition to Gorbachev. There is a great deal of coincidence in the incident with Yeltsin, which brought such ill-fated consequences for the country. But something essential in it was a natural outcome. It was a collision of two tendencies: one was the inertia of the past and the other the result of perestroika. One was “holy” for the Leninist party—the untouchable nature of its monolithic unity and the absolute authority of the highest leadership. The other was the need for real democratization of the party life and the “rules of the game.” Formally, the first tendency won. The “heretic” already could not be burned to ashes as he inevitably would have been under a totalitarian regime. The winds of democracy were blowing. But the kind of democracy that later grew from the remaining rootlet to this day leaves people with nostalgic memories of the totalitarian times. As it were, when speaking of the year 1987 in the history of the country, one has to acknowledge: the year of the 70th anniversary of the Revolution did not gain enough potential for development that people had counted on in preparation for it. Translated by Anna Melyakova and edited by Svetlana Savranskaya for the National Security Archive

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1988 January 3, 1988. I am at the “Pines” sanatorium. I’m reading “Life and Fate” of Vasilii Grossman (so far it is published in tamizdat1). Truly, it is “War and Peace.” And he is longing for “perestroika.” This was written in 1960! Lesha Kozlov died on December 28. He was a great guy and one of the talented consultants at the International Department. We buried him on the 30th. There was a reception; Askol'dov, I, and the consultants talked about Lesha and about Dobrynin, with whom everybody is unhappy. I said a little too much, namely that M.S. [Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev] has already once promised to take the consultant group away from Dobrynin and give it to me. M.S. gave me some “homework” for my vacation, with the idea that when I ski in fresh air, I might get some fresh ideas... This is for the CC Plenum on schools, where he would like to speak about ideology. The matter is very timely. We already have such a store of freedom of thought that it's time to synthesize it. The impulses from the 70th anniversary report gave off powerful results, driving Ligachev and Co. into a panic... And I think at the Plenum where he is one of the speakers, Ligachev will try to “stop” and “reverse” what has been achieved. That is why M.S. wants to speak himself. He told me to think about “our values.” But what are our values, when even the main value—socialism—is being questioned in its very core? For example, today on TV there was a program: “Meeting our Businessmen.” There were people from five regions of European Russia: a family contract, a contracting team, a cooperative, a leasing group, etc. I was so glad! M.S.' ideas are coming to life in the most varied forms, under the slogan of “free labor for free people.” Three engineers from Moscow rented a farm with 120 calves and spoke about property rights for land for these calves. The raikom [regional committee] supports them. A professor—a PhD in Economics and a consultant in the CC Department of Agriculture—brilliantly defended all these ideas and made a reference to the West, where they have family farms. “Small commercial farms” do not interfere with agricultural industrialization and produce unbelievable levels of output. All that is to say: what ideological values are we to tend to, when our central value— denouncing private property—is beginning to waver? Does that leave us with the universal values, i.e. the Christian Ten Commandments? Maybe this is the point of history, when, after 2000 years, having suffered through fascism, Stalinism, Hiroshima and Chernobyl, humanity finally has the opportunity to realize the Ten Commandments in practice! It seems that nothing is accidental with M.S. We should reflect on his book. There are passages that show him to be truly ready to go far and defy all the dogmas, taboos and other “values” of Stalin's perverted version of socialism. It is not without reason that he has twice publicly “released” the idea that we will celebrate the Millennium of the Baptism of Russia. And it appears that he is going to follow the common sense of a normal, cultured, intelligent, and good hearted person. He has been named the world's “Man of the Year.” It is amazing how history has carried him to the top of the present-day world. When you are in daily contact with him, when you are dazzled by his truly natural democratism, you sometimes forget with whom you are so casually interacting. When you are so close, it is difficult to imagine that this is a great man. And he is truly a major figure, in the historical sense. I can't stop thinking about Lesha: constantly... what is the meaning of everything, if just like
1

Literature published abroad, usually without the permission of the Soviet Union—Translator. 1

that... even when everybody it sincerely saddened and grieved, and for some his death is a “loss...” But... alas! A loss that can be easily surmounted. And everything comes full circle... for some “higher” meaning of life. You can't jump out of the circle of banality. And, still! Can it be that all of life is banality? January 4, 1988. Pravda started a discussion page. It is responding to its declining circulation—the only central newspaper. Perestroika is beginning to put even Afanas'ev on guard, even though he does not believe in it and is placing his bets on Ligachev. ... But he takes Yakovlev into account, for while M.S. is here, Yakovlev will continue to lead in perestroika ideology. Already he has said publicly at an all-union meeting of newspaper editors that Pravda is not in step with perestroika. Later Ligachev corrected Yakovlev: upon his return from France he visited Pravda and spoke with its staff. Afterwards, Afanas'ev made it known through Moscow that “some at the CC are of a different opinion [than Yakovlev].” It was interpreted as follows in Moscow: “According to Ligachev's statement, Yakovlev was not speaking in the name of the Politburo.” These are the games. M.S. sees all of this. His conversation with Razumovsky—Vilnius-Moscow... He is upset. But once again it worked out. Yeltsin really did some damage here, he paved the way [qq: зацементировал дорожку]... January 6, 1988. [I am reading] Stalin's conversation with Budyakin... from Grossman's “ Life and Fate.” I am nearing the end and becoming increasingly suffused with it. Today I read Kazurin's response to the publication of Shatrov's “Farther, Farther” in “Znamya.” It has the following phrase: “He (Stalin) will remain on the stage until each one of us has it out with him completely.” I think that to have it out with him completely, everyone should read Vasilii Grossman's great book about our Stalinist era. (I still cannot believe that the entire work will be published in the “October.”) Yesterday I went to Zvenigorod. It's a Chekhovian provincial town... it hasn't changed. Of course, it has signs of Soviet life. Once again, this is proof that people live for themselves, not for the government or for the “big idea.” There is nothing you can do about that. Perestroika could improve their life, let's say to the level of Finland (even though right now it might seem incredible!). That will be the end of any kind of idea. But the kind of idea Stalin had—God forbid. But Platonov... he had an idea, a universal idea... But what would it be, if everybody lives “well?” What would people need it for... January 7, 1988. I finished Grossman's book. It's difficult to define my feelings right now. There is a sense of oppression and hopelessness, but not only about our country's history as it appeared after all the denunciations of the perestroika years. In a condensed form, history has attacked me through this book, forcing me to think differently “concerning” myself. I am plagued by the meaninglessness of my life. Seemingly, I should be satisfied: the General Secretary's adviser... (and what a General Secretary!) who has really begun to break Stalinism. I have my work, I was the right [choice] for the General Secretary; I was able to help him in some ways. But still, dissatisfaction is gnawing at me... it's a “strategic” discontentment with myself (to use Mao's terminology). The stream of New Year's greetings adds to this feeling (there must have been over a hundred, I did not open most of them). I understand the bureaucratic formality of this procedure. They come from PB [Politburo] members (except for Ligachev), from Ministers and the like, many of whom I do not even know. But these greetings intensify the feeling of discrepancy between who I am and what I am perceived to be. There is another aspect to this: they think that sending greetings to Gorbachev's adviser 2

is just “what's done.” They think that by this action they place the addressee on their level, or even emphasize his higher status. While he, the addressee, does not give a damn about all of this. He despises this waste of postal supplies. The very procedure of official importance is despicable to him. It oppresses him, since unwittingly it emphasizes his belonging to “the deck,” “clan,” “elite.” He does not believe that he belongs. He does not want such an elite to exist, and this atmosphere in this stratum of power. He does not feel that he has any power, except for the favor of M.S., who sometimes agrees with his intellectual tastes and preferences. Some people take for modesty the fact that I shun appearing “close to [Gorbachev]” at the official ceremonies and in the press, some think it's a game at modesty. In reality I am depressed by these receptions and “protocols.” Especially I cannot stand to get into the sleigh not according to my rank, just because I have a permanent spot there. As rarely happens, I am trying to project what I've read onto my life and fate, to decide what my place in all of this was and is. And could it be that the country is actually, finally, beginning to turn into a normal country... achieving this by suffering through Gorbachev. But many of those who maimed and crippled our country for so many decades, both physically and morally, many of them are still alive—and receiving good pensions. And most importantly, they “spawned” (through the atmosphere, and the entire style and mechanism of public life) many millions of descendants in all generations. A vast swamp of ignorance, lack of culture, and plain illiteracy remains. In a flash (as it happened in the 20s and 30s), this soil can produce the necessary number of Yezhovs, Berias, and others like them. There are forces of terrible conservatism at the very top, headed by Ligachev. These forces will not stop at having to use the services of Stalinist followers, who possibly do not even realize that that's what they are. In a word, one of the newspaper authors is right when he says “Just wait, they will not forgive us (the perestroika generation)...” M.S. understands this. But you cannot build a dam against this swamp and its inhabitants with nobleness alone. Aleksandr Nikolaevich (Yakovlev) is a little nervous and often petty, but he sees the danger more clearly. To come back to the point: M.S. assigned me to think at leisure about ideas that should be specified at the Plenum dedicated to school reform (with Ligachev reporting). This is all relevant to my thoughts! The danger that I am writing about. And what are the results? I've been thinking in my free time for two weeks now and haven't come up with anything different from what is already written in the newspapers and journals. March 26, 1988. For several days and nights, when I couldn't sleep, I've been reproaching myself for not writing. It's a crime against history. I opened up K. Simonov's dictations in “Znamya” No. 3. They are dedicated to Stalin. But he saw or spoke on the phone with Stalin only 5 times, while I interact with a great man almost on a daily basis... So I've decided to be disciplined and to make at least brief notes of my every contact with Gorbachev. Maybe later I will be able to recreate something from these notes. I just don't have the strength to record it in detail, as I have done in the past: I write so much during the day, and then get home around 9-10 p.m. absolutely beat, and still have to read the newspapers and journals. Right now I have to read, it's an “epoch” that will become a part of history for centuries. I would like to start, maybe, from a crucial moment. On Thursday, March 24, there was a PB (during the congress of collective farmers). Around 50 obkom [oblast committee] secretaries were present. Braun, Demidenko from Kazakhstan. The latter called the field-team leaders and the brigade leaders by name as he spoke. And the names are all— Grosz, Frank, Fritz... “These are the names I have there,” he comments on his speech. The room 3

laughs. ... This was striking: M.S. didn't know that if a state order is sent down, people are fined if it is not carried out. After all, according to corporate law, if no contract is made, one is not responsible for carrying something out... I saw that he is “charmed” by the resolutions. The obkom secretaries and Birukova explained to him that it hasn't changed, since a state order is like the plan, even “more strict...” ... M.S. offered the PB members to move to the CC Secretariat conference hall (from the Marble Hall). Routine work followed. Then the outsiders took their leave and only the PB members, candidates and CC Secretaries remained. I thought that they would discuss Nagorny-Karabakh (on the 26th, meetings and other events are scheduled in Yerevan). But the next day, Friday, Yakovlev calls me. “I am going to second part of yesterday's PB,” he says. “Yesterday, after you left, M.S. brought up the Nina Andreeva article in Sovetskaia Rossia [“Soviet Russia”] for discussion. It all started over tea in the Kremlin Palace during a break in the collective farmers' congress. Vorotnikov started the conversation... and for some reason M.S. flared up: 'since you brought it up, let's clear it up, something is going on here... ' And right away he proposed to discuss the article after the PB.” Yakovlev continues telling me: “Gromyko spoke first. His speech was unintelligible. The only thing I understood was that he does not fully approve of the article. Then Vorotnikov justified himself for something poorly said (I did not understand what) at tea in the Kremlin. Then I made up my mind to speak. Otherwise, I thought, they will make an assessment before they could see how the article could be interpreted. And I picked it apart piece by piece—that it is an anti-perestroika manifesto, in places directly opposing positions publicly stated by Gorbachev. Everyone became cautious, it looks like they had not understood this when they read the article. Ligachev was listening, red as a lobster. Then he took the floor and started lying: that Chikin (editor of Sovetskaia Rossia) had indeed visited him, but besides this he has nothing to do with the article. He swore his devotion to perestroika and to Gorbachev. In reality, everything is the other way around... This Nina Andreeva really did write a pathetic little letter, half a page long, defending Stalinist values. In response, on Ligachev's orders a team was sent to her in Leningrad, which had finished up the letter for her... to the point that no one can believe that a teacher at Chemistry-Technology Institute could compose such a page.” At the conference of editors, Ligachev waved the article in the air, saying that this is the party line. His camp sent an order to the censors—not to allow anything that would criticize or disagree with the article. (And it worked, something broke through only in “Moskovskie novosti” [“Moscow News”]. Falin called me—like a litmus test.) Adamovich came to visit, said that entire brochures from the new samizdat, composed of articles against Nina, were rejected by different editorial offices! At the political day on Trubnaya, a thousand agitators-propagandists were told that the article was a directive. Ligachev received a stream of thanks and enthusiasm from provincial obkoms and raikoms: “Thank you! Finally, we got the word of the party! It's time to do away with these vilifiers!..” But at the PB, looking the General Secretary in the eye, Egor Kuzmich says that he had nothing do with the article. March 28, 1988. Yakovlev called. I asked him whether he needs the material Gubenko brought from Lubimov in Madrid, I gave it to M.S.--about Lubimov's “stopover” [заезд] in the USSR? Don't, he says, and I agreed—let “Izvestiya” give his interview. - They might give me a dressing down, but I don't want to involve him in this. Later, when I asked M.S. whether he read it, he said: “No. And what for? I am in general in favor of the idea that everyone who wants to can go to hell. Open the doors wide for them. And... the ones that we think should join them—same goes for them. And Lubimov? What do we need him for?!” 4

Then he switched to rowdy language and from this I understood that he will not deal with “this” himself: whatever happens will happen. We spoke about tomorrow's meeting Natta and Co. (General Secretary of the Italian Communist Party). “In a second, call all the advisers: at 16:30 I am getting all the deputies (of departments) and you all will be there too. You don't need to bring anything besides your ears.” (I took that to mean that he does not want me to record it. But, that was not the case.) We met. But Yakovlev already told me that we will be discussing the Nina Andreeva article in “Sovetskaya Rossia,” just as the two closed PBs on Thursday and Friday had done. I ask him: How is that possible? Is that a draw? He says: “No, of course not! It was a two-day thrashing (of Ligachev)!” And A.N. is so happy about it, so pleased. M.S. started with a discussion of the XIX party conference. Should we present the theses for public discussion, or discuss them within the party? Should the party decide on it first? Think about it. The nature of the theses will depend on this. The conference has to become a powerful impetus for all the perestroika processes. We have to think through everything: the progress of perestroika and measures to intensify it; how to go about the practical aspect of calling together the conference. How to prepare the report... We'll get this done. How should we prepare the party for the conference, that's another question. We will need sharp selfcriticism: are we fulfilling the Plenum resolutions, are we following the “unity of word and deed?!” What has been done, what failed, and who is responsible. We should also think about finishing up what's left over in the remaining months, and analyze what has been done: not what we have done in terms of volume, but what we've done using the new methods, whether we've followed the agreements. We should also speak about the achievements—economic, political, social. This is the first point. The second point. The progress of democratization in society. There will be one report. Contribute your thoughts, how you imagine democratization. I have some ideas. But I will not talk about all of them. We will convene about this next week. Think about the qualitative composition of the delegates at the conference, about the documents, the procedure. I already said some things at the February Plenum. The issues of political reconstruction—the Soviets—will be the central topic. They need to be revived. We need Lenin's approach to their place and role. About the role of the party—the more I think about and study this question, the more convinced I become that if we allow the weakening of the party, we will fail. The party is everything— theory, comprehension, the organization of the masses, and the consciousness of the masses. Who would do this if it weren't for the party?! Nobody would be able to manage this. Even now we see that as soon as we let something slip or fall behind, it immediately makes itself known, resounds through all of society. I am convinced that we need to radically reform the Supreme Soviet. When I think about it, all I see is the Great Kremlin Palace: everybody is sitting dumbly, some are listening, some aren't even doing that. All the work they do is applaud and vote. Then they go home. Is this the kind of Supreme Soviet we need—in its essence, composition, size, and work? I am convinced that we need a limit on how long an office can be held. For everybody, up to the General Secretary. But not how the Yugoslavs have it, I've seen enough there. All the leaders are happy not to have a General Secretary. Each one at his place makes speeches for the entire country. Every one is aiming for the first place. Medvedev: On the other hand, we don't have anybody to invite for a return visit! Everybody laughs. Gorbachev: But let's take a look at ourselves. Recently we were working on the staffing of first secretaries of obkoms. There is not a single fitting candidate under 40. And where would they come 5

from? They were excluded from the political process. Every person has to climb the ladder of party work. They had no other way. And now people who were born in the 30s are 50 years old. A person is expected to move to the center only when he approaches 60. Our process of creating specialists is broken. So, think about this. And in general, how do you envision the apparatus? This is the second aspect of the XIX Party Conference. Now I would like to speak about the following: we (the PB) have been discussing the article in Sovetskaia Rossia for two days. We have unanimously (!) judged it to be a harmful and an antiperestroika piece, some have even called it reactionary. The discussion took place on my initiative. We share this point of view. There were members of the PB, candidates, secretaries (except for Dobrynin, he is on vacation). That such an article should appear would seem normal during glasnost. This point of view is possible. A person can express any opinion. I myself have read worse letters to you. A great deal of everything is printed in the newspapers and journals. This is normal. People are considering everything, they want to understand what happened with history. After all, did we live 70 years for nothing? And what did we fight for? Others say that everything was brilliant... But then why should we have such a Plenum? Whose idea was it? And we, the party, want to examine our point of view: we tread a difficult path, many things have happened. But we were on the path to socialism... We've stated our perspective at the 70th anniversary of the October and in other documents. This set new processes in motion, it touched all the levels of society. It started discussions, flared up passions. Questions rose up in the minds of many people. It seemed that we had clarified these questions. But in life everything is much more complicated. Everything is mixed up in people's minds. Even at the level of the CC not everything is uniform. And this is normal. Every person wants to figure out for himself exactly what happened, and how. This is normal. Sensing this confusion, I decided to speak at the February Plenum. You remember how attentively everybody listened. But I saw that some people were stunned. They started thinking... started going to personnel policy, more discussions started. And let them happen. We did not issue any orders from here. After all, we are speaking of transforming people's consciousness. It's not like assigning the First Cavalry to destroy Denikin2. We are talking about perestroika of consciousnesses of the people who grew up in the Soviet times. This is why we need globalization and democracy. These are our primary instruments. Now we run into this campaign (Nina Andreeva's article in Sovetskaia Rossia). That is precisely how I would like to characterize it—a campaign against the February Plenum, it was planned and executed. And I could not leave this without making a judgment on it. We've assgined Pravda to run a response article. The article in Sovetskaia Rossia... It caught my attention right away that some Nina Andreeva could not have written it. Frolov: It was prepared here, in these walls... M.S.: Where? By whom? Frolov is quiet... M.S. understood that Ligachev might be named, and let off Frolov. M.S.: Where else could it have been prepared, but our propaganda department?.. But Yakovlev doesn't know. Ligachev—doesn't know... (M.S. is once again cunning... he understood long ago whose work this was, but he doesn't want to dot the “i” in public). A metaphor referring to the legends of the Russian civil war. Assigning the First Cavalry to destroy General Denikin would imply something that is easily done—Translator. 6
2

Sklyarov doesn't know. Who knows? What is going on then? Will we follow the XXVII Congress line and refer to what the General Secretary says, or will we make politics in dark corners? I had a conversation with Chikin (editor of Sovetskaia Rossia). He himself was surprised by such a reaction. He said, he thought he was helping perestroika. He is a decent person. And I like Sovetskaia Rossia. It has done a great deal for the Plenum. It is a good, serious newspaper. It has discussed so many subjects! It brought the writer Ivan Vasiliev to its pages. It so happened that it lost its way. Chikin lost his bearing. I told him our trust in him we are not questioning our trust in him. But this article is not a mere accident. What is it then? Sklyarov saw its bias, so did Yakovlev, and Frolov too. (Oh, M.S. is playing cat and mouse, leading away from the main track, calling the people who are “above suspicion!”) I was flying to Yugoslavia. I didn't have time to read it. I usually put all the materials that require my attention in a separate folder. I returned on Saturday, read the article and thought—what is this? This isn't right, absolutely not right! Now the questions have started coming in—where is this coming from? People come and ask me whether it's true that the article is preparing the public for news that Gorbachev has already been removed from his work, so that people would begin to understand why he's been removed. Look how far this has come! I tell Chikin: you were at the congress of collective farmers. You saw what was going on... What is holding us back? This is all coming from “there,” from Stalin. And you throw this article into a heated atmosphere. He says—there are different opinions. Yes, they are different. There are also monarchists and revolutionaries. Some people consider October to be a squiggle in history. And then there are people who have no ties or allegiances, they present history without its roots... Chikin says to me: I wanted to show the different opinions. I say to him: It looks like you wanted to present me with some information. As if I don't know about the different opinions, you wanted to bring it to my attention... The country is dealing with such issues, it's on the edge of a crisis, and you are throwing into the pot a detached quote about “counterrevolutionary nations!” Chikin was worried. I believe him (Wrongly! He is a Ligachev's suck up and a Stalinist!)... I believe people in general. Sometimes, of course, they can disappoint me, act underhandedly. I said at the PB: we have a very important role in history—to pull our country, to set it on the right path... to return it to Lenin... Be attentive, look ahead. I was sitting next to a Latvian man from “Agdzhi” (a prosperous Latvian collective farm). He says to me: “Mikhail Sergeyevich, there is such a thick layer between the leadership and the people. They are tying up the people, not letting them breathe or work.” Viktor Petrovich (M.S. says this to Nikonov), you propose to reduce the Regional AgroIndustrial Union [RAIU] by 50 percent, I propose 60 percent and more. For example, in Saratov alone, there are hundreds of people in RAIU, an entire squadron, robust gals (he points to the breast), this reserve is for beets. Nine hundred people are occupied for the RAIU only in Saratov. Do we need RAIU like this? The policies have been set. We have told them what to do. The State will provide orders, so why do we need these intermediates? The people have forgotten how to act independently. Ivan Vasiliev spoke at the collective farmers' congress: I've seen it all, he says. Now nobody will sign a lease contract, they don't want to deal with it... Why is this so? Because the specialists are against it. They've been sitting around for decades, doing nothing, and they've ruined the villages. And then a contract comes around and produces results that they couldn't dream of. This discredits them and of course they are against any novelties. These are the kinds of things we reveal through our reform. The people see all of this. We should say this to the specialists, because they've 7

turned into bureaucrats themselves. Naturally, I am against firing a thousand people today and a thousand more tomorrow. It needs to be done humanely, so the process is consistent. We do not need any strong-arm tactics, we should not nip any new undertakings. We should give complete freedom to everything, to everybody who would like to get something done. The other day I read in “Ogonek” how in Uzbekistan women who work with cotton are being poisoned by the fertilizers. And nobody cares. One woman spoke up, and for that she was persecuted and left without a salary. People like her are beaten down, so they suffocate with their initiative and complaints. Perestroika is yet to bring us many different things. We cannot get stuck on the little things. The laws need to start working. Recall the instigators in Armenia. There are people like them. They feed on problems, on troubles. We need to take such instigators and put them on public trial, and jail them. There is a great power in our policies, but we need to be able to enforce it. Chebrikov in his department conducted an analysis (they run such “sociological” studies) and came to the conclusion that criticism related to perestroika is not destructive in nature. I want the department deputies to know this. Perhaps we should pass a resolution at the Politburo on the Sovetskaia Rossia article (there are voices of agreement). It wouldn't hurt to send it around the party organizations as well. To Boldin: Do we have a record of what was said at the Politburo? (Boldin hesitates, because for a long time it has been forbidden to record anything at the Politburos. M.S. understood that he gave something away... he continues) There has to be something. Collect everything that has been said by Politburo members, make a good note, so people would read it and understand what's going on, and send it around the obkoms. I wanted to say all of this to you so you keep it under consideration. And now I'm moving to the 120th anniversary of Gorky.3 It's not a good round figure, but I have to do it: hands are being raised even against Gorky... April 1, 1988. A.N. Yakovlev acted out to me how it all started. It happened at the Kremlin, in the Presidium room during the break in the collective farmers' congress. People took their seats. Vorotnikov : Once again this scoundrel Soyfer was published in “Ogonek.” What are we going to do with the press?.. We need to do something… M.S. : Why? They published scholars afterwards, who raised objections about the first publication. What do you want? Some people say one thing, others another. These are scholars, it’s their milieu. Let them do this… why are you nervous about it? We can’t operate as we once used to… Ligachev : The press has also started biting back… There was an article in Sovetskaia Rossia. A very good article. Our party line. Vorotnikov : Yes! A genuine, valid article. This is what we need. Otherwise things are getting out of hand… Gromyko : Yes, I think it is a good article. It puts things in their places. Solomentsev started saying something along those lines. And Chebrikov was about to open his mouth… M.S. I looked through it briefly before my trip to Yugoslavia. … (he is interrupted with “It’s a worthwhile article. Consider this…”) I read it thoroughly when I came back… (Once again, people are vying in praising the article). And I am of a different opinion… Vorotnikov : Indeed!
3

Maxim Gorky, famous Soviet writer, father of the “socialist realism” in literature, his books include Mother, On the Bottom and many others.

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M.S. : Indeed what?... (There is an awkward silence; they are looking at each other.) So, let us discuss this at the Politburo. I see this matter is moving in the wrong direction. It smells of dissent. What is it indeed? This article is against perestroika, against the February plenum. I never object when people express their views, whatever they might be, and whether they are expressed in print, in letters, or in articles. But I see that this article has been made a directive. In party organizations it is discussed as if it were our base position. It is prohibited to publish objections to this article… this is an entirely different matter. At the February Plenum I did not give “my” report. We all discussed and approved it. It was a Politburo report and the Plenum approved it. And now, it turns out they are giving us another line… I am not holding on to my chair. But as long as I am here, in this chair, I am going to defend the ideas of perestroika… No! This will not do. We will discuss this at the Politburo. On Thursday evening, after the official part of the PB, when we, the assistants, were asked to leave, the conversation continued as follows… The following paragraphs are narrated by Yakovlev: M.S. said a few words, but such words that Ligachev turned pale and had to speak first. Ligachev : Yes, Chikin visited me. I liked the article. But further than that I had nothing to do with it (Yakovlev’s commentary: he is lying, and I saw how it infuriated the General Secretary). Gromyko already adjusted his position, spoke incomprehensibly for a long time, but it was clear that it was in nobody’s favor. Vorotnikov was excusing himself for yesterday’s “Indeed!” but looked for a way out by complaining about the press and saying that there is no keeping it in check. After Vorotnikov—Yakovlev said—I understood that it was time for me to speak, because I wasn’t sure that everyone had read the article, even the people who might have spoken against it, so it turned out that they would start automatically agreeing to the lack of discipline in the press and the matter would have been hushed up… I spoke for about 20 minutes. I demonstrated point by point that the meaning of the article—in spirit and in tone, and in its every position—is against Gorbachev, against the February Plenum, that it is an anti-perestroika manifesto. It was late when I finished, around 10pm. M.S. suggested that we finish for the day and continue the next day. The next day Ryzhkov spoke first. He spoke harshly and mercilessly against the article. His speech was the strongest. I had two impressions from the article, Ryzhkov said: - What do we need this perestroika for?! - Since such an unfortunate thing as perestroika has happened, we should limit and suppress it as much as we can. Yakovled said to me: I will not repeat everything that people said afterwards, and one cannot remember it all. What is important is the breakdown of the main ideas. Shevardnadze condemned the article strongly and categorically. Medvedev’s speech was decisive and well argumented. Slyunkov and Maslyukov spoke briefly, but to the point and emotionally, with indignation. Chebrikov (who had almost stumbled the day before) spoke his calm and condemning word and M.S. liked that very much (he even repeated it to Natta). Chebrikov said that their KGB “sociological” studies have shown that the criticism, which is gaining in scope, is not destructive! General Yazov mumbled something vague about the press that doesn’t know where to stop, but “on the whole” he was on the side of the General Secretary. Solomentsev, Nikonov, and Lukyanov “came to the rescue” of Ligachev and the article… M.S. later said that this surprised and disappointed him. He even called Luk’yanov to his office (this is his 9

friend from the university, they lived together in the dormitory on Stramynka street). Zaikov, who came back from his vacation especially for this, was not very concrete. (Perhaps it’s because his hands aren’t clean… this article was copied in the Moscow party organizations and was discussed as a directive. This probably did not happen without his knowledge, maybe even coordinated with him. In a word, he did not figure this out in time!) Yakovlev for some reason did not mention Dolgikh and Biryukova. I did not ask him. But I think that Dolgikh was in Ligachev’s wing. Razumovsky spoke well. Of course, a unanimous decision was made to condemn the article, and to assign Pravda to present a crushing article. M.S. started the meeting with department heads and us with this: that we should officially formalize this decision with a PB resolution and send out a note to the oblast committees, summarizing what was said at the PB. Today Yakovlev showed me the first draft of the Pravda article. It is written effectively. God willing, they will not maim it in distribution. I “intensified” some more points in it. Frolov started to backtrack, saying that a crushing article in Pravda is the old method, while we are responding to a letter to the newspaper. Let the response be a signed letter in the same Sovetskaia Rossia. I became furious: the revolution is a very authoritative affair, if we mumble, the Stalinists will hush everything up again, etc. In a word, this is a turning point in the history of perestroika. (Ryzhkov even suggested relieving Ligachev of his duties as a supervisor of ideology! And if, as Yakovlev said, M.S. does not take pity on Egor Kuz’mich, the data will be in the records.) I had other interactions with M.S. today as well. Mengistu is crying for help, the Eritrean army has demolished his forces… so save him! The SOS flew out to Moscow, Havana, Berlin: he demands weapons, money, transportation, supplies, etc. Yazov, Maslyukov, and Dobrynin are ready to oblige. According to tradition, they prepared a note and a draft resolution to supply 10 AN-12 planes, 40 tanks, cannons, machine-guns, and rockets. I write on the draft: Mikhail Sergeyevich, at the PB and in public you have been steering people toward political resolutions. But here we are, giving the routine answer right away: immediately providing more weapons. It will not change anything, while with this “help” we will push Mengistu toward the hopeless attempt to “solve” everything through military force. Instead, we should hint to him that he should learn some lessons from what is happening… A couple hours later I was told that he took off my note and signed the resolution. At 5p.m. there was a PB on Afghanistan… At the end of the meeting we started discussing Ethiopia. M.S. called on Akhromeev, who depicted a catastrophically hopeless picture of Mengistu’s chances of winning a military victory. He has been fighting for Eritrea for fourteen years, and the matters have been getting worse and worse. Meanwhile, we are pursuing his “worthless policies” [негодную политику] instead of pursuing our own. During this speech M.S. kept glancing at me, probably thinking that his adviser is sitting there and gloating. Afghanistan. Shultz sent a letter to Shevardnadze. They are ready to sign [the agreements] in Geneva if the issue of continuing to supply the Mujaheddin with military aid is dropped. (Honestly: why did they start with that nonsense in the first place? No agreement would be able to put an end to this “aid”). The Politburo was supposed to decide whether we are signing in Geneva or not. M.S. weighed all the pros and contras. The “pros” clearly have the majority: we decided to pull out a long time ago, and it would be easier and more graceful to do it within the framework of an agreement. And most importantly: our boys there are still dying! What are we doing: did we decide to keep a firing-ground for our weapons there? And where is the word and deed! It is one more victory for the reality of the new thinking. Plus the burden of 6 billion [rubles] a year (from the 20 billion addition to the national 10

income!). M.S. asked each member of the PB personally. Everybody is for it. Akhromeev showed on a map the plan for withdrawing our troops. In any case, whether the agreement is signed or not, we will begin withdrawing on May 15th. April 3, 1988. There are 100,000 young people on the Arbat. But are they outside politics? They are using perestroika. But are they ready to stand up for it? Do they understand the meaning of Gorbachev? Do they appreciate him? Do they know that this is the “one string,” on which their freedom hangs right now?! I walked to my school. My heart aches. Moscow is slovenly, all over the place there are potholes, dirt, trash, and dilapidated roads. In many places the buildings look like Stalingrad in 1942. Good Lord! How much money—and manpower—is necessary everywhere, wherever you look. Arbatov called me. He found out somehow that there was a PB on the article from Sovetskaia Rossia. April 10, 1988. From the 6th to the 8th I was in Tashkent. Before the trip, M.S. called me up: we are going. Everything changed. We have to support Najibullah. And… put an end to this matter… Two days later, in a speech at the Uzbekistan CC he said the word “trouble,” saying that it is the mildest word that can be used. But this phrase did not make it into the published version of the text, he crossed it out. In the airplane on the way there, as we were both thinking about what to say to Najibullah M.S. was correcting the material I prepared in a hurry… Suddenly he brought up the story with Sovetskaia Rossiya. You know, he says, before I went to Yugoslavia I saw this article (Nina Andreeva’s piece) and put it into the box where I usually put away things to come back to later. When I got back, I read it carefully; the talk about it started going around already, I understood what it means… But I was not yet “ripe” to raise the question at the Politburo. And then, when we were having tea (during a break in the congress of collective farmers) we started talking about it. Vorotnikov brought it up… Then I understood that it cannot be left as it is: “If this is a model for you then let’s discuss it…” M.S. saw by my reaction that I already know most of this. He hesitated, and I said: - Mikhail Sergeyevich, sometimes I get the feeling that your colleagues do not understand what you want, they do not read carefully what you say and write… or they cannot understand the essence of it. - You see, that is the limit! (and he made a gesture with his hand). A limit this high. I do not think that there are bad intentions here, factionalism, or a disagreement in principle… it’s just the limit. And this is also bad. We were housed in one of [Sharaf] Rashid[ov]’s mansions. In the evening, M.S., Shevardnadze, Kryuchkov (Chebrikov’s deputy on foreign intelligence), and Lushchikov (M.S.’ adviser) sat together in the dining room and finished up the joint Soviet-American declaration, in order to send it to Najibullah today (Najibullah is staying in the city). We had dinner, there was a funny episode. Kryuchkov: we should not have mentioned Cordovés in the declaration, he is a scoundrel. M.S: Why is he a scoundrel, he’s not giving you any data? (Everybody laughs) Kryuchkov : No, he is not! Shevardnadze : Why do you think that is? Kryuchkov : They are paying him a good salary. (Laughter). 11

On the morning of the 7th there was a meeting with Nadjibullah. He was with an adviser. M.S. asked Nishanov to join him, so later he would show up in the report: “To support Uzbekistan, because they have been completely trampled down” (because of the Rashid[ov] scandal4). They reached agreements quickly. Najibullah (knowing that we have no other option) asked us for cash, weapons, material support, and food. M.S. promised to look into it. Najibullah looks confident. He has probably cast a much wider net than he tells us. And he has no alternative. “The seven” other opponents have all squabbled with each other… and the world knows him. In a word, he wants us to leave. Then we visited a collective farm, a greenhouse growing cucumbers, a residence… M.S. knows how to communicate with people. And he does it so easily, without adjusting his personality or elevating himself in inaccessibility. From the conversations he perceives how the people act, what they say and how they say it. [The people in Uzbekistan] spoke to him freely in broken Russian, they were open and respectful; they were not intimidated and only rarely were they shy (the men). The Uzbek women in the greenhouses were ready to kiss him and afterwards they all asked to take pictures with him from every angle. They sat down on the ground around him—so it looked just like a harem scene. When we were returning to the “residence” he said that he has definitively made up his mind to speak before the active [party members]. So let us have dinner and then sit down to prepare… we will have a contest of the minds. Here is how the work progressed: M.S. produced a stream of ideas, I kept interrupting with “formulations,” or to extract something from his “stream of consciousness” that could be put down on paper. Shevardnadze and Lishchikov did not say much. The session ended only around midnight. Well, M.S. says (to me and Lushchikov), make this presentable and give it to the man on duty. We went to the neighboring building—a hotel where the girls were staying (secretaries, stenographists)… And I had to practically re-write the 40 page shorthand record, moving parts around, bringing out the central ideas, removing repetitions, in a word, doing in-depth editing. Lushchikov does not know how to do this. I stayed up till 4a.m. We had to get up at 7:30 a.m. to lay flowers at the Lenin monument… Then we visited the factory “Algorithm” (there are almost no Uzbek employees there), and then there was a speech at the CC. The text was only a skeleton for him… In essence he made a new speech; the previous evening had served to gather his thoughts together and to practice. No! We haven’t had a leader like him since Lenin and his colleagues. The comparison with Kirov does not work because Kirov was “the people’s tribune,” but he took his cues from the primitive. And he was not as intelligent. Perhaps they are comparable in their moral qualities and their feeling of responsibility. Then we had pilaf at the palace from which Najibullah had left shortly prior. Then we flew home. On the airplane we drank tea together for a long time. M.S. was tired and happy with what was accomplished, especially by the fact that he “rehabilitated” the Uzbek people from the blemish and scorn resulting from the Rashid[ov] scandal. (His words to the collective farmers that “it is not the people’s fault” instantly spread through the republic). We all spoke a lot, about everything. Sometimes Raisa Maksimovna led the conversation, at those times M.S. quieted down... What I remember particularly is that he was hurt by Shatrov's new appearance at the cinematographers' convention. Shatrov said that he had lunch with the American President at the White House and that Leontieff spoke, and said that “perestroika offers glasnost’ for the intelligentsia, but the regular people need meat!” And Gorbachev applauded even to these words.
4

Former First Secretary of the Communist Party of Uzbekistan responsible for unprecedented levels of corruption and abuse in cotton industry of the republic.

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But first of all, nobody spoke at the White House besides M.S., Reagan, and Cliburn.5 Secondly, even if Shatrov confused a lunch at the White House with a reception at the embassy, Leontief (Nobel laureate in economics, a former Russian) said nothing of the sort. And thirdly, even if this had taken place, how can you prattle about it… After all, it goes against the entire spirit and style, against all of Gorbachev’s politics! … Truly, the conceit of the foremen of perestroika is overshadowing decency, and Yakovlev was right when he said: “They want to be the Aleksandr Matrosov of perestroika, but end up being Pavlik Morozov…” I moralized about this to Yu. Afanasiev. M.S. was upset, especially by the fact that this segment of Shatrov’s speech was broadcast by TV around the country. … The article in Pravda (April 5) put many people in an awkward situation. M.S. said to me in the airplane: Ligachev visited me. He looks beaten. He’s suffering. He said to me: let’s conduct an investigation. Give an order to check the facts: I did not give an order to make the Nina Andreeva article the directive. I did not give it. M.S. says to me: Maybe he did not give it. But he got his opinion across to the right people and the anti-perestroika [ones] were immediately ready to oblige. And the ball started rolling. Some party committees already gave an order to discuss it at party meetings (as a model of how to approach perestroika). Not to mention the fact that some Nina Andreeva could not have written such an article, which I saw as soon as I read it. This is a platform, a manifesto… To Yegor (i.e. Ligachev) I said: calm down, we are not going to conduct any investigations. The last thing we need is to organize a schism in the PB with out own hands. M.S. went on: it’s good that this happened, it’s a lesson to everybody… Chebrikov gave a good speech (saying that the nature of the criticism is not destructive). M.S.’ speech in Tashkent was published today. He made some more edits after Yakovlev and me, particularly in the place where “everybody in the party is equal and there should not be leaderism.” He removed the phrase “the General Secretary and the common communist are equal…” And he was right to do so, it would not sound serious, as if he were playing up to something. It is one thing when it is said in a small circle or even at a large, but closed auditorium. But if it were published in the entire country it would look like demagoguery. Thus, upon arriving from Tashkent he was at the CC till midnight, and had no more energy to prepare materials for Arafat’s visit. In the morning, with [Karen] Brutents’ help, he prepared up some positions for the meeting with Arafat. When Shevardnadze, Dobrynin, Brutents and I entered his office at the Kremlin five minutes before the meeting with Arafat, M.S. looked tired… Critically and as a joke, he said: I should fire you… I’ll kick the bucket, I’m so tired. I have no desire to meet with this Arafat… What’s the point?.. Only Anatoly (and he points at me) was against this meeting all the way. And you all insisted on it. (It is true that I was against it; I even had major conversations with E.A. [Shevardnadze]; I sabotaged the execution of PB’s resolution to receive him; convinced M.S. temporarily not to carry it out. But it looks like E.A. became engaged in this and… we carry different weight, M.S. agreed with him in the end.) The talk really was practically pointless. And we do not need him. Arafat, on the other hand, is celebrating. Now he feels even more important. Perhaps the only useful point was that he heard from M.S.’s own lips that on no account should the “Palestinian rebels” take up weapons; that would be the end of everything. April 24, 1988. Van Cliburn, an American pianist who won the first International Tchaikovsky Piano Competition in Moscow in 1958. 13
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The most important events have been three meetings between M.S. and the First Secretaries of the obkoms and the Republics’ CCs, a total of 150 people. I recorded everything in detail. He checked the idea of “All power to the Soviets!” on them… and presented the idea that the First Secretary should be the Chairman of the Presidium of any Soviet, but he should be popularly elected. If you are not elected--leave. And this set up would go to the very top: even in Pitsunda he said that the idea is that he would become a “President-General Secretary.” And this is right. This is the central idea of perestroika, while he is alive. But during this time--through the XIX party conference, he wants to create elections and other guarantees against dictatorship… not only of the individual, but also of the party. The main theme in the text and subtext of these meetings was the Nina Andreeva article. Razumovsky notified the first two groups (there was a break of three days between them) what the subject at hand would be. Therefore, it started from Pugo’s (Riga) second speech: how could it have happened that a CC organ (Sovetskaia Rossia) printed something like this, etc. And why was there an order to print it in the oblast’ newspapers… But I, Pugo said, “suspected something fishy” and stopped the printing, and in two days it was recalled. But many printed it, and in some places, including Leningrad, started to “positively” support it at the party conferences. People say that some were even planning to conducts a “theory seminar” on Gorbachev’s ideological mistakes (by way of glasnost’). Others were more harsh. One said: how does this happen? We are members of the CC. We approved your (M.S.) report at the February Plenum. Now all of a sudden a CC organ offers a completely reverse platform! Who are we after that? Why weren’t we asked?.. A third raised a question--why don’t we remove Chikin and dismiss the editorial staff? M.S. flatly opposed this: we cannot use “those” methods to convince people that the new ideas are right… We will proceed only by the democratic process. He said to them directly: “Not all of you saw it, not all of you understood the anti-perestroika nature of the article. You hesitated.” He was especially furious when Petrov (Sverdlovsk, the “workers’ aristocracy” from Stalin’s brood) from the third group (which hadn’t been notified) stood up and said: “So what! I liked the article and I ordered it to be reprinted. It’s time to stop being humiliated for our past. The worker’s collectives want to know: when will it stop!” M.S. was somewhat disconcerted: “Did you get to the bottom of it, after the article in Pravda? Petrov: I’m working on it. Of course, Nina Andreeva is not right in everything. But Pravda, too, does not answer questions. Plus, after the first objective collection of responses to the article, it started printing only one-sided evaluations! M.S. restrained himself, you could see. Petrov: You demand that everyone says what he thinks… So I am saying it. And I am still trying to figure it out for myself. There were no sharp condemnations of Nina’s article in this group. Most of the speakers did not touch upon the subject at all; they spoke on the subject of the conference: their ideas on reforming the political system and party work, i.e., they were giving their thoughts for the XIX party conference. As the meeting progressed, Gorbachev raised the subject of Stalinshchina. When we did not know the whole picture, he said, it was one thing. But when we found out more and more about what happened… there can be no two ways about it. For your consideration I will give you some numbers: 1 million party activists were executed. Three million were sent to camps, to rot. This is not considering the effects of collectivization. Lists were made of the best people of the party, to be removed… And Nina Andreeva… if we follow her logic, she is asking us to return to 1937. Do you want that? You are members of the CC. You have to think deeply about the fate of our country and of socialism. And constantly remember--we are all for socialism, but what kind of socialism? We do not need the kind we had under Stalin. A Secretary of the Kalininskiy obkom started to complain that some groups, especially from the 14

intelligentsia, are demanding that the city be renamed with the name of Tver’. They used to base this on historical reasons. Now, after the article “The President’s Wife” in Ogonek, they are also basing it on the fact that Kalinin does not deserve to have the city named after him. “What are we coming to?” he exclaimed. M.S. answers him: “So what? Everything written in Oronek is correct. That is how it was. Remember, how Lenin framed the question when Stalin offended Krupskaia. And here! Stalin sent Kalinin’s wife to jail… as well as other wives. And they acted as if nothing had happened. They continued to praise him and crawl at his feel. What moral is this! What kind of Bolsheviks are these?! So figure this out for yourself. I am not imposing anything. But figure it out with the people (about the city’s name). And with Brezhnev. Churbanov (his son-in-law) was prosecuted for 700,000 [rubles] in bribes that he got from all around the Soviet Union. And this is Leonid Il’iych’s family! How can we prevent people from rejecting his name: Brezhnev region, city… Naberezhnye Chelny6, an icebreaker!.. Several days later I had a conversation with Yakovlev. He asks me: When do you think this change happened in M.S.? Remember how sourly he received The Children of Arbat7? And then the affair with Shatrov8… Compared to what is printed right now, that stuff is baby talk. It’s as if there is a new man in his place: he does not tolerate even the slightest indulgence in Stalinism. I answer him: I think it happened when he saw that the people around him who are headed by Ligachev think (and do) the same as Nina Andreeva, and that even in the generalship of the party they do not understand the depth of his plans… or do not accept it. In the end, if there was no Nina Andreeva, we should have invented her. All of this caused such a storm of anti-Stalinism, and such freedom in the newspapers, that Ligachev and others “would not have it!” in the past. And now he has his tail between his legs. I observed him at the Politburo last Thursday, April 14. He doesn’t have the same aplomb anymore. He spends more time being quiet; he looks kind of pathetic. And when he spoke on some peripheral issue--I think it was about the fact that vocational schools should be managed from the center, rather than being attached to factories--Ryzhkov came down on his sharply (and this was in the presence of several ministers), Zaikov “disagreed,” and even Vorotnikov said something. M.S. comments were worthy of Solomon--as is his customary manner when he speaks about details: saying that everybody has some rationale. But in essence he supported the Premier. Ligachev pathetically quieted down. I thought: this is the beginning of the “rejection.” Yesterday an unscheduled Secretariat on the preparation of the XIX party conference took place. Gorbachev led it himself. He did not trust Ligachev to do it, even though according to his “status,” the latter was supposed to lead it. Last Friday, I think, M.S. went to the hospital to visit [Hafez al-] Assad, who came secretly for a medical examination. He is very open with him. With others--with the Europeans, even with Shultz, this is the right thing to do because they are decent human beings. But with this guy (as with Najibullah) you have to be more careful. Guile is in their blood. Assad needs nothing better than to milk us. He wants the rockets to be no worse than Israel’s. Everything else he understands “his way.” It’s not for nothing that he is close to Khomeini. Shultz was here on April 22. I prepared a great deal of materials for the meeting. M.S. kept changing “conceptions” and dictating to me. It seems he was not satisfied--he made Dobrynin write A city that was named “Brezhnev” after the latter’s death in 1982, subsequently renamed Naberezhnye Chelny in 1988. 7 In the 1985 installment of the Diary, Chernyaev writes about a continuous struggle to get permission to publish Rybakov’s novel The Children of Arbat. 8 A.N. is speaking about M.S.’s reaction to the ending of Shatrov’s play And Further, Further! where Lenin leaves, and Stalin stays. [Footnote in the original] 15
6

two more pages late at night. But he did not even look at them later. When he sat down across from Shultz, he put everything aside. He opened the folder, which had held the papers and which had his comments written across it. Shultz: This is all that you have?--jokingly. M.S.: I have a lot of things--also with irony. And he presented everything calmly, confidently, and deeply. He was in great force. Nowadays he feels very confident during talks in general. He always thinks of unexpected moves (“the unpredictable General Secretary,” he jokes). About Reagan’s last speeches he said “whatever you do, you can’t make (America) like you.” And the greater Gorbachev’s popularity in the world, the less capable Reagan & Co. will be to accept the new thinking; i.e. not even agree, but proceed from the fact that there won’t be any communist aggression and expansion (from Moscow), and objectively there cannot be. Dobrynin continues to be an “ambassador” even as he is the head of the International Department of the CC. This gives me a lot of work, since I get no help from the MFA or from the International Department in preparing materials for M.S. What they are providing is nothing more than references or trivialities. As a rule, there are zero ideas, or even original trains of thought. Except from Brutents. Not that M.S. doesn’t have plenty of his own ideas. Nevertheless, with his inhuman workload in domestic affairs, one wants to “guess” for him; to remind him of the most important in this or that foreign opportunity, in talks and documents, resolutions and preparation of PB discussions. I think so far I have been able to do this. I have also been successful in preparing reports on the outcome of his talks. He likes it because it is easy for me to catch the “spirit,” I know how he really thinks, and mostly know what he would like to present to the public. We also have a similar style of writing--no water, no unnecessary words, no blank shots. This work he entrusts to me completely. Still, sometimes he checks. On the outcome of the talks with Shultz, for example, he called me from the car after the conclusion of the evening honoring Lenin (April 22), literally 20 minutes before the TV program Vremya [“Time”] and asked me to read what I composed. He approved it. I developed a totally new style [for writing these reports] in comparison with Aleksandrov’s work with Gorbachev, not only with Brezhnev and Chernenko. I write the reports about the talks based on fact (as opposed to writing it beforehand based on the MFA’s style), using not only the thoughts, but even M.S.’s expressions and characteristic words. And somehow everybody recognized these reports as a substitute for press-conferences, which are customary in the West for high-level meetings and which M.S.’s interlocutors give here at the presshouse on Zubovskaia or on the plane… In a word, this is our evaluation of the meetings and what we would like to say in that regard. M.S. just called. It seems he wanted to talk. “I am sitting,” he says, “surrounded by journals and articles. Raisa Maksimovna came in and scolded me: why are you sitting around! The air is so fresh! You haven’t moved all day, let’s go for a walk!” Her hello to me… But he still talked with me for 20 minutes. The first topic was the reaction in the world to his talk with Shultz. Everybody jumped to defend Reagan. It’s good that we transferred the leadership from Thatcher to Reagan. That’s where it belongs, that kind of leadership… And she already started fussing, asking for it again: but we let her know. Me: Naturally. She had such a chance-- “closeness with Gorbachev!” She’s not going anywhere. Let Reagan get himself clean. M.S. (picks up): Everybody should know that we are not trading off our dignity under any circumstances. You know, Anatoly, they do not respect weakness. They will trample you and smear 16

you. From time to time you have to remind them, who they are dealing with. Just look, how they listened (i.e. Shultz, Nitze, Ridgeway). Me: Nobody rushed to defend their President. M.S.: Yes. Shultz is an intelligent and decent person. The reports from Kiev say that he did not seek a meeting with the dissidents. He is speaking with the people, becoming convinced that I am saying the truth. And Nitze? He’s an old man… Me: I think the politicking that reigns under Reagan is even unpleasant to themselves. But, they have to play the game with him. M.S.: When we were saying goodbye, Nitze (M.S. spoke with each one separately when they were leaving) said to me: it’s too bad that I am already old and will not be able to do your important work with you. But age is also wisdom. I’ve seen many things in my time. I’ve had to work with many people. But with you, something totally new is opening. And I still want to do something worthwhile. With you, it is possible. Ridgeway said: I am amazed at you. Where does this stream of thoughts come from, this ability to see everything immediately, and to look far. It is all so simple and so disarming. And look (M.S. says to me), Shevardnadze told me that Ridgeway and Bessmertnykh sat down and conducted negotiations, and they were on the same wavelength--this issue is like this, that issue we will not touch for now, we’ll put it off, etc. They were like two normal, reasonable, intelligent people. This team works well together. When will there be another one like them? Me: Mikhail Sergeyevich, I observed you during the meeting. When they were listening to you, these people forgot that they are officials… serving Reagan… M.S.: Overall, we seized the moment the right way. And this is a notice for Reagan’s visit here. We should warn him. Let him know that we will not go easy. We will guard our dignity. The second subject was the XIX party conference and yesterday’s Secretariat. You know, he says, I did not get anything from yesterday’s discussion. The only people who added something were Yakovlev, Medvedev, and Lukyanov. The rest… are thinking only about their ambitions and about their positions. Me: I agree, there are no ambitions. There is nothing to bring. M.S.: You are right. There is a philosophical impoverishment. They are limited, they are lacking culture. The poverty of thought results from this, not to mention their attitude toward my plans… There is something here, Tolya! And Ligachev surprised me again, when he attacked the press. He said that the only good thing is the Russian government, while the USSR Sovmin [Council of Ministers] does nothing. Just think! He is openly declaring his allegiances and antipathies… Does he think we are so primitive that we do not understand this? Vorotnikov’s is the worst government of all the republics. Did you notice how they railed at him (without naming him) at the meetings with obkom secretaries. And Ryzhkov? We don’t let him work--dragging all his affairs to the PB. And here everything comes down to the powerlessness of the Soviet government! But, Yegor [Ligachev] hates Nikolai [Ryzhkov], and gets the same in return… This is the ceiling, Tolya! What can you expect from him. For 18 years he (Ligachev) led an obkom, he does not know any other way. And the education plays a role. We need to look for a way out… We need a breakthrough at the party conference. A new intellectual breakthrough. Look at the party. It should have an avant-garde role, but how, if we take away its command and its governance? “All power to the Soviets!” But how? How do we make the Soviets work after a 60year-old habit of being henchmen, and after their complete discrediting? We say: return Lenin’s image to socialism! Yes. But what does it mean in today’s circumstances? We are cleaning it from Stalinshchina, Brezhnevshchina… there is a lot more work here. But this is a negativist work. What should the construction be? A legal socialist state. It’s a major 17

problem, etc. It’s time to fill everything with concrete content. We’ve had enough declarations. People will lose faith if we keep speaking in formulas and promises. Our youth—what do we say to them? What does this world mean to them? How do they understand it, and why do they need democracy? What do they prefer? In a word, we need to think. Time is flying by. Tomorrow at 3pm we—the advisers and Yakovlev—and we will think. I told M.S. about Boffa, with whom I met yesterday. April 26, 1988. M.S. got together Yakovlev, Slyunkov, Medvedev, Lukyanov, three advisers, Bikkenin, Sitaryan, Mozhin (deputy of the Department of Economics), and Boldin, and talked through all the XIX party conference ideas… The most important thing is that it will go down in history as the first fundamental reconstruction of the political system since World War II; featuring a new concept for the avant-garde role of the party; “All power to the Soviets!;” a legal state; and the national question (“All the doors and windows are banging, and stones are drumming on the roof”)—we cannot wait with the national question till the Plenum. The outcomes of perestroika. Self-criticism of the past three years. But it became clear from the speeches of Slyunkov and Sitaryan, there is not even an idea of how to tune the economic mechanism to work on the new principles. It is an alarming situation. Production is falling; the market supply is growing scanty. Sugar is sold through food stamps even in Moscow. This is a propos. By the way, M.S. told us (“for you only”) the following in relation to the problem of guaranteeing the irreversibility of perestroika. The people are very worried that the whole thing might be tipped over. The situation has escalated during these three weeks of the standstill (between the publication in Sovetskaia Rossia and the article in Pravda). Here is an example… remember, last week I did not come to work for three days. I had to undergo a medical examination, I’ve been putting it off for a long time. Well, the traffic police stopped my son-in-law (he is a doctor in the municipal hospital No.1), they know his license plate. They asked him directly: “Where is Mikhail Sergeyevich?” My sonin-law didn’t give them a clear answer, and they said: “Don’t try to play around it. Tell us, where is M.S.? We know that his car hasn’t been entering the city in three days! There are rumors that he’s been removed… If that’s true, tell us. The people are wound up, they say that if he’s been removed—they will arm themselves and take to the streets!” Everybody spoke in order; a lot was said. I also spoke. Very loudly, and unlike the others, I was standing, in the heat of the moment. Two of the themes that I discussed should be recorded: 1) Against Ivan’s (Frolov) thesis “on returning from Lenin to Marx.” Yes, it’s true that we do not read enough Marx, that we know him poorly, not substantively, that we got scared by the Western debates over his early works. We need to do something, but not at the expense of Lenin. 2) Against Shakhnazarov’s thesis to “enter the world community, saying that we are the same as everybody else…” On this point I was vehement. Our power is in our difference. Should we say that we want to fit in? We (i.e. Gorbachev) have been saying it to the West for three years already. This is not enough. For Reagan (his last three speeches) we are still a totalitarian government, the breeding ground of communist expansion, we are suppressing our people, etc... It has always been like this and will continue to be like this with Reagan & Co. But the fact that not one West European newspaper published these speeches, and only two American newspapers published it—this is a historical fact in itself. At the meeting with Shultz M.S. openly criticized Reagan's two speeches. But neither Shultz, 18

Nitze, Ridgeway or Powell protested, because they are decent people and they must be embarrassed for their boss, even though their position requires them to defend him. This is also a significant fact. You, Georgy, say that “we are the same...” They will answer this: excuse me, if you are the same as us, tell us—how many personal computers do you have per capita? Oh, 48 times less than we do! Then say goodbye to the place of a superpower. We would treat you as we treat Panama, if you didn't have big rockets... They still mean something for now... And yet. What do we have right now? We have a high-level session of NATO in Brussels on the subject of “How do we stop Gorbachev?” That's how it is. We are not “the same as everybody,” we are a powerhouse of modern world development of morality and justice. This is our strength, and we should foster it. The third theme was that the XIX party conference should be a critical border. But we should not usurp April of 1985. The revolution started then. The conference should be a border in the sense of the things that will be said there: we are finally cutting the umbilical chord from the commandadministrative system and from all the inheritance of Stalinism. It is especially important to say this considering “Ninochka…” [Andreeva] She and others like her need to hear it from the tribune. The word “irreversible” is becoming obsolete. The baby=perestroika has already been born. The prenatal period is over. His further development will depend on the cleanliness of the swaddling clothes and the novelty of his toys. Today I wrote an outline for the international section of the report at the conference. I got together all of “my” experts (Galkin, Veber, Koval’skiy, Ambartsumov, Rybakov, Gusenkov). We went over my ideas; they added many interesting thoughts. I re-wrote the scheme and asked them to share their thoughts in writing by May 1st. Tomorrow I am leaving for Volynskoe-2. The others left today. But I still have Arismendi coming up, the Japanese (CP and SP [Communist Party and Socialist Party (КП и СП)]), and Vogel (SPD). And routine work. Today, for example, I entirely re-wrote the Statement from the Soviet government to Afghanistan, written by Shevardnadze, Chebrikov, Yazov, and Dobrynin… and M.S. accepted my version without a single correction. In the morning, M.S. will receive the Patriarch. Ivan struggled for a long time over what form of address to propose: holy father, Your Holiness [преосвящество] or by his secular name? Yakovlev gave an excellent speech last Friday before the CC apparatus. The thoughts, the words, the passion, the ideology, and the eloquence of his speech! There was pathos--”where were you (we), during the time before Pravda came out and said: ‘It is ok to defend perestroika!’” June 19, 1988. In the end of April I was in Volynskoe-2. We were working on a draft of the theses for the XIX conference, which M.S. re-dictated… I had to insist on, with Shevardnadze’s help, having some selfassessment in the international section. He agreed… this is a historical shift… For the first time we are speaking critically about our foreign policy prior to 1985. For the Conference report I prepared an even more critical version, leading to ideas about the evolution of imperialism… Which, however, Honecker has already noted in the theses and in his circle has expressed his disagreement. Same with Bilyak. In general, our friends are very afraid of perestroika and new thinking. We took a break from Volynskoe-2 due to Reagan’s visit. You can’t say more about it than is already said in our press and theirs. But from my perspective--M.S. guessed what would touch Reagan’s emotions. And he did precisely that… Reagan saw that we are not an “empire of evil,” but normal people, with a rich history at that, and… we are such a giant that you cannot intimidate or dazzle us. And this works. Reagan still keeps telling everyone how he walked around the Red Square and Arbat. He sent M.S. a personal letter, “To Mikhail from Ron.” I prepared a draft response, “To Ron from Mikhail,” but M.S. has been sitting on it for the 19

third day already--either he is too busy or he is thinking it over. Immediately after Reagan we re-located to Novo-Ogarevo (to prepare the party conference).9 M.S. came every morning at 10 and we worked together till 10-11 in the evening. He re-dictated our drafts. When I speak of “we” I mean Yakovlev, Medvedev, Lukyanov, Frolov, Shakhnazarov, Boldin, and myself. Nobody else… The project to re-structure the political system will shock, first and foremost, his colleagues at the PB… He sent out the reports (104 pgs) two days ago. The discussion at the PB will be tomorrow. It will stun them because the majority of them will not have high-level positions in the new system. M.S. hesitated for a long time and thought out loud in front of us: he started the section by saying that he will resign, but offers the following structure (the General Secretary becomes Chairman not of the Presidium but of the USSR Supreme Soviet, i.e. “the President”). And let the conference… or later the Congress of the Soviets (a new institution) decide on this question… He moved away from this thought with the refrain that “I do not need a new burden.” It is true that perestroika will not take place if it is not enforced from the top. The only people who want and can enforce it are M.S. and maybe 2-3 more members of the Politburo, and a part of the CC Secretaries. So this decision will really decide our fate. Nevertheless, even judging by the very critical and skeptical letters and press, everybody understands that perestroika is Gorbachev, and if he disappears, everything will fall through under the current PB. When M.S. was with us, Frolov told an anecdote that his daughter brought from MGU [Moscow State University]: “It is the opening of the XIX party conference. The first person to enter the Presidium is Ivan Susanin, then Gorbachev, and then the rest. Susanin leads Gorbachev to the Chairman’s place, and tells the rest: ‘As for you, we are going to keep walking…’” Everybody laughs, and M.S. even more than everybody else. Truly, this is the voice of the people. In the breaks in Novo-Ogarevo there were meetings with Najibullah and Cardinal Casaroli. Both were significant. Najibullah showed himself to be weak, confused, and incompetent (he asked us to leave Polyanichko--an adviser from the KGB--with him); he offered to organize a joint war: USSRIndia-Afghanistan against Pakistan. He asked us to conduct major operations with the participation of the Soviet troops (although in the third echelon) against the mujahedeen… to lift the moral spirits of the Afghani troops… “And if they run away?”--M.S. rebuffed him pretty bluntly on both counts. The conversation with the Cardinal was philosophical. This man, behind whom stands all the wisdom of millennia of Christianity and all the cunning of a Jesuit, he understood that he was dealing with a man who is opening the door into a new era for humanity. M.S. did not send out a record of his talk with Casaroli around the PB. He doesn’t want to tease the geese--an expression he’s been using for all kinds of occasions lately. Of course, they would not “understand” this conversation. The press is raging about Stalin, Brezhnev, and the present-day epigones. There are unbelievably frank discussions of the theses and of how the apparatus stifled the elections to the party conference. The Moscow party conference discussed the episodes with Afanasiev and Gelman. M.S. defended the latter and “suggested” to Zaikov to remove Afanasiev, whom the raikom failed to elect… Afanasiev paid us back (as M.S. told us in Novo-Ogarevo) by starting an affair with an Italian student, visiting her regularly at the hotel where she lives while she completes her school training and represents the CIA at the same time.
9

Novo-Ogarevo was a state house (dacha) near Moscow where advisers and speechwriters gathered to draft Gorbachev’s speeches and other documents.

20

July 10, 1988. A week has passed since the conference. A great deal has been written about it. The most precise and subtle observations are printed in the serious press. By the way, only today I’ve been able to read my fill of it, and it has calmed me down. They were able to see correctly that M.S. is a great politician who has done the maximum (and even a little more) of what was possible. He likes to say so himself, that politics is the art of the possible. This side of him has been revealed for the participants of the conference, even though they thought they knew him well. But they knew him as an extraordinary personality; an interesting interlocutor; a sincere man who does not have an attitude and does not show off; a person who gets carried away; who is capable of making unexpected moves and brave decisions; who is smart and resourceful, etc. But this time they saw the politician with enormous self-confidence, who wields the art of winning over and subduing, and who knows how to lead. This calmed me down because I, as the majority of the intelligentsia, had a mixed impression from the conference. It was a huge event, a turning point like never before, M.S.’ authority and the people’s love for him are unquestionable and have gone up a notch; his superiority and the people’s trust in him are all encompassing; the decisions (resolutions) are unique… But people’s state of mind is dejected, even alarmed… I even wanted to tell him about this if the opportunity came up… But he was so cheerful and confident in the days after the conference that I just could not. And all this despite Armenia and other troubles. On the other hand, he led the Politburo in a very businesslike manner, talking about the conference very rationally and without any turgidity. He did not hesitate to agree with LigachevZaikov-Vorotnikov that despite the enterprise law (which discredits the entire psychology of a selfsupporting economy) we should leave the former practice of sending citizens to collect the harvest, for the harvest is in danger (as if you can save it by these means!)… And still, for some reason the mood is depressing. Because first of all, this truly historical conference (nothing like this has happened since the 1920s) has hit the press and intelligentsia in the face, i.e. those rushed into perestroika headlong and without whom it would not have started or progressed, without whom this conference would have been impossible. Secondly, Ligachev’s speech was just so clever, skillful, and foul, deceitful, and impudent… Once again, M.S. is saying that the party, the people, and the country achieved perestroika through suffering, to have gone on like this would have been fatal; that perestroika naturally grew out of the crisis, etc. But Ligachev declares that everything depended on an intrigue in the PB; that he, Ligachev, was at the heart of the events; and that together with Chebrikov, Gromyko, and Solomentsev they nominated Gorbachev in March of 1985... But these four, they could have nominated somebody else! He also said that just like he [Ligachev] made Tomskaya oblast’ prosper, he could have done the same for the entire country, if only the talk of freedom, democracy, and glasnost’ weren’t getting in the way. He even quoted Pushkin that “in the wild noises of animosity” he hears the sound of approval… This was in the context of the Western press and the local administrators of perestroika criticizing him, while this same West names Gorbachev “Man of the Year” and keeps admiring him. Ligachev was able to state his position fully, including the fact that he supported Bondarev--a reactionary, obscure speech a la “Nina Andreeva,” and with an anti-Semitic subtext to boot! Plus, the depressive mood is also stemming from this episode: Baklanov10 was driven from the podium, but Bondarev received an ovation. Baklanov did show himself to be a Jewish milksop--he should have left after the first claps and exclamations. That would have been a defiant action. But he G. Baklanov, just as U. Bondarev, is a writer, who in the 1950s started the so-called “truth from the trenches” in prose about the Great Patriotic War. [Footnote in the original] 21
10

really wanted to give a speech, which would have been more fitting at a youth-literary symposium rather than an event like this… and on the heels of Bondarev. By the way, I am sure that the reaction against Baklanov also had an anti-Semitic air. And M.S. should have been above the Ligachev-Yeltsin coflict. Instead, he dedicated a third of his concluding remarks to Yeltsin. By doing that, he practically joined Ligachev, or in any case he “swallowed” his platform and his insults. He has a complex here… By the way, Yakovlev told me that M.S. did not want to talk about Yeltsin. Supposedly, in the back room during the break he spoke with PB members in this vein. But suddenly, Raisa Maksimovna came in and started to berate Yeltsin indignantly, saying that “we can’t leave it like this.” That settled the question. Yakovlev told me another thing: M.S. was very afraid that in one of the speeches Yeltsin (or somebody else) would name Raisa Maksimovna and get a round of applause. Now I understand why he was so angry even when he was leaving the hall, when it became clear that it would be impossible not to allow Yeltsin to speak. Raisa Maksimovna’s influence is also telling in another issue. Before the last day of the conference, M.S. got us all together (after the conference, at 9pm in the presidium room of the Great Kremlin Hall) to talk about his closing remarks. Slyunkov, Boldin, Yakovlev, Frolov, Shakhnazarov, and I were present. Some gave advice, thought out loud, he himself poured out ideas. I also stated my thoughts; by the way, I suggested that we should speak about the lessons of the conference itself, about its plusses and minuses. Particularly that it is impossible to pass by such a “spoonful of tar”11 as Bondarev’s speech--it was reactionary, obscure, anti-perestroika, etc. M.S. stopped me, dismissing my comments with a wave of his arm and saying: “Did you see how the audience reacted to him?” --I saw it! That made it especially embarrassing. That is exactly why we should talk about it. Nobody said anything (even though one on one, quietly, Shakh[nazarov], Ivan, and Yakovlev all expressed their indignation with Bondarev and Ligachev’s support of him). Then again, Shakh told me that when Ligachev for some reason came by the row where we were sitting, Ivan enthusiastically shook his hand and congratulated him with a “brilliant speech.” I did not see this myself. But Shakh assures me that he saw this and now he understands completely “what kind of a person Frolov is,” who constantly brags that he was righteous and principled during the entire period of the stagnation! So, everyone kept quiet. And M.S. cut me off: “I am not going to do what you are proposing!” Now I learn the following… M.S. is going to Poland. Medvedev, the Department of Culture, and Yakovlev prepared a list of the delegation, which included the academician Likhachev (M.S. will have to attend a major meeting with scientists and cultural figures). Sagdeev was also on the list. I doubt that they made the list without consulting M.S. Suddenly, he crosses both of them off the list (already three days after the conference), and suggests… Bondarev. This is despite the fact that both academicians have already packed their suitcases and are very honored by such trust… In response to our words that it would be inappropriate, he firmly insisted. To Medvedev’s merit, he was decisively against Bondarev and did not allow his inclusion, saying that the Poles will not understand… he is an inveterate Russian chauvinist! But the academicians were still removed. I suspect that this is also R.M.’s work, to whom Likhachev is “boss” on the Cultural Fond, and he probably did not please her in something. M.S.’ terrible weakness in this regard (R.M.) is dangerous to his authority. People are saying that he loves Frolov and looks past his impudent idleness and exploitation of his position as an adviser in academic areas because Raisa Maksimovna went to school with Frolov’s wife and they might even have been friends in the past. M.S. is ready to fulfill her smallest whim. He almost fired Gusenkov when during R.M.’ time
11

From the Russian saying “Like a spoonful of tar in a barrel of honey.” 22

together with Nancy Reagan (Gusenkov was in charge of the “women’s program”)12 something seemed not quite right to her in how she was shown on TV. She spoke with Gusenkov in a “raised” voice, reprimanded him and hinted that “perhaps we should part ways.” In a word, she’s going to extremes. This is very bad. Yakovlev saw the danger in this a long time ago. Back then, I thought he was exaggerating. Well, what about myself? Am I satisfied with my work over these months of preparation and carrying out of the conference? Yes, I am. I did a lot of work besides the international section and the theses, the report, and the first resolution. In all three cases M.S. accepted my materials “from the first presentation” and did not re-dictate them, even though he smoothed out some of my overly-critical corners. In a word, the international sections practically did not take away any extra time from M.S. and the Novo-Ogarevo and Volynskoe-2 team. But not only that… Yakovlev, the team leader, gave me all the other sections to edit (except for economics), and twice. The Frolov pieces I just re-wrote (and he did not even write them himself, he got his “white slaves” from The Communist--Latsis and Kolesnikov--to write them). Without batting an eyelid, he presented them as his own, even though he did not know who re-wrote them. He must have thought it was Yakovlev, the team-leader. And during the review of all the texts of the reports and resolutions I intruded more than once, to the annoyance of M.S. (He allows himself to tell me to “resume my seat” rather impolitely, and even though I snap back, he never does this to Frolov--the academician!--and once again, he’s afraid to offend R.M.!) M.S. took me into the first committee, which reviewed the first two major resolutions. And since there was no “apparatus” attached to it (165 people), I was writing down the results of the discussion. And M.S. accepted almost everything, including the famous oath that “the CPSU will never again allow anything like a cult and stagnation.” The entire world noticed it, saying: “The CPSU has reached the pinnacle of the rift from the past.” (Messaggero). In a word, I am happy with my anonymous contribution to the “turning-point event” of our history. About Rust. Back in Novo-Ogarevo somebody brought him up in relation to something. M.S. asked what we should do with him. I put my two-cents in immediately: “We should let him go. Right after the conference we should do this as a demonstration of our humanitarianism, which it will fuel. And God forbid that we do it close to Kohl’s or Genscher’s visit.” Luk’yanov and Yakovlev supported me right away. M.S. decided--let’s let him go! He assigned Boldin to call Chebrikov to prepare the release. But there was no paper on this account. Yesterday, after the meeting with India’s president in the Ekaterinian Hall, I tell him: “Mikhail Sergeyevich, you are leaving for Poland. Right now you will immerse yourself in last-minute preparations. I have some pressing matters.” He says: “Let’s go to the CC right now, we’ll talk there.” I ask him, “What do you mean, ‘go?’” And he said that we’ll walk with our feet. We left the building and went. He told security to “move back” so they “do not flicker before us.” The two of us kept walking. There were tons of people at the Kremlin: sightseers, tourists. The crowd was stupefied at seeing him. Some stopped in confusion and retreated to the walls, while others rushed to shake his hand; the women embraced him. He tried to talk to them, but of course they were speechless. They delightedly exclaimed something and applauded. He approached another group, started a conversation about life, about the conference. Asked people where they were from, reacted to their responses. A group of young Frenchmen appeared, he talked with them. An enormous crowd collected by the Aleksandrovsky cathedral: our people from Khabarovsk to Minsk, plus Bulgarians, Czechs, people from the GDR. Each one wanted to say his name, shake his hand, touch him. When he came up to the French tourists, one of our provincial
12

During Reagan’s visit to Moscow

23

women ran up to him, saying “What about me? What about me?” He gave her a hug, said something, and they kept standing like that, in an embrace, surrounded by elated French tourists who were taking pictures. By the bell he talked with another crowd… and quickly walked toward the Spassky tower. People were running toward him from all directions, from the cannon and the garden. We passed the Spassky gates, and the entire Red Square was astir. I told him: this is where Rust landed. If you remember, you wanted to finish with this business… Yes, yes, he says, it’s good that you reminded me. When we get to the CC I’ll make a phone call. (And he did call Shevardnadze when we got there, since Chebrikov is on vacation, and ordered to have the paperwork delivered “today.”) By the Cathedral of St. Basil the Blessed the queue dispersed. The people ran to the fence. Some Swedes showed up, started embracing him and saying something. One man put his hand on M.S.’ shoulder and said: “Mikhail Sergeyevich, you should work less, take care of yourself. We can see that you are tired.” M.S. also clapped him on the shoulder, saying: “It’s ok, friend. We will endure. This is the time to work, we’ll rest later.” Hundreds of people were yelling from behind the fence of the Cathedral: “Mikhail Sergeyevich, we are with you, be strong. We are always with you. It is good. Thank you.” Then he told me, “let’s walk down Razin street. I want to walk past the ‘Rossia’ hotel. I used to always stop here when I would come over from Stavropol.” We crossed the street to the building of the commissariat. A group of Italians was coming toward us, about 25 people… These guys had no reservations at all and clung to him from every side. And I noticed that every one of the 25-30 people there either shook his hand, or embraced him, or held him at the elbow or waist. They were yelling, inviting him to Italy… That was real enthusiasm. We went down Razina street in front of the amazed pedestrians, and starting from Ipat’evskyi lane it was in front of the amazed CC apparatus, which was at this time moving toward the cafeteria en masse. We reached the entrance and he took me to his office, where he dealt with his routine work. This is when I found out that on August 1st he is going on vacation. And he said to me: “Get ready, we are going together again… and maybe we’ll think something up this time, too…” (He was hinting at the year 1986 when he “thought up” Reykjavik, and 1987 with the book “Perestroika” and the report on the 70th anniversary of the October Revolution.) September 13, 1988. In September M.S. is planning to visit Krasnoyarsk. I am on Michurinskiy avenue, at a hospital with an ailing heart. While I have some free time, I’ll describe what happened in the Crimea. From August 1st till September 4th we were at “Zarya” (near Foros). For the fourth time M.S. takes me along with him for vacation. This is at a wild beach near Tesseli, where I took vacations once, swimming beyond the cliff. But the entire territory to the lighthouse (Sarych) is taken. The presidential palace in “Livadiya” is a barn compared to what is built here. I asked M.S. the day after we arrived whether he likes it here. He said yes… but some of the superfluities are tiresome, such as the escalator to the sea, but it wasn’t built for me (hinting at Brezhnev or Chernenko). But he’s dissembling: the Tesseli-Foros inhabitants say that everything here was built a year and a half ago. What does he need this for? The rumors are not only in Crimea, but in Moscow, too: it cost 189 million or so. There are also rumors that in Messera (near Pizunda) there is another “dacha,” which cost 132 million. It is possible that the numbers are exaggerated… but even if it is half as much, and “Zarya” does not cost less. Plus, there is a whole army of security and servants… what does he need it for? Or is he powerless before the wishes of R.M. in this, as well? With her provincial psychology: if she got to this point… if her husband is so great and does not spare himself for his country!… Under the impression of this “Zarya” for the first time I had major doubts, how does one say it, maybe--doubts of the selfless nature of the heroic deed of perestroika. And it is a heroic deed, I write this word without 24

any quotation marks. Our relationship has also changed. Even in comparison with Pitsunda (there were already signs) last summer. He is still very spontaneous. For example, he got carried away with the shorthand records of the first party congresses after 1917--the VIII, XI, and XII. And when he invited me and Tamara Prokofievna (the stenographer), this time he never invited me alone, he was animated like a young student, reading excerpts out loud, commenting, drawing conclusions for the present day, and making very sharp philosophical remarks about the polemics of those, Lenin’s, congresses… But unlike before, he did not “talk to us” simply, and when I started on a subject that he thought he would disagree with from the first words, he immediately interrupted me and stated his position in a way that let me know that the discussion is closed. I chose a different method, which I use almost everyday in Moscow (but it’s a different matter here [in Moscow], where he has dozens of live interlocutors)… I write or dictate my opinions, evaluations, or suggestions on a separate sheet of paper and send it to him together with other documents that he receives from me. Sometimes he considers them, but I find out about it much later or indirectly. Sometimes he reacts right away and calls me, but only if he accepts them. Sometimes he just ignores them and the girls return my papers without any comments written on them. At times he acts (how does one say this--considering who he is, and who I am) not very respectfully, even though he likes this expression himself and uses it often. For example, Shevardnadze decided to write an article on the year 1939. M.S. calls me late at night in Tesseli (where I lived within a five-minute walking distance from my “workplace” near his palace, but an 11km roundabout drive by car, [which I took] three times a day: in the morning, at lunch, and after work): read this carefully and give me your opinion. I wrote a full review. He agreed with it and added that England and France wanted to incite Hitler against us, while Stalin wanted to incite them against each other. Or: “these kinds of things are not done in two days” (i.e. Hitler sent us the letter on the 20th, and on the 23rd we signed the pact)… In a word he was thinking quite decisively in the spirit of Kulishe’s article in Komsomol‘skaya Pravda, which appeared two days later. And he agreed with me that the Agreement of August 23rd was faulty in principle and brought only troubles and losses. He called Ligachev himself. They agreed that the article would be taken down; saying that next year the 50th anniversary of the war is coming up, new research will be ready, and we will make our official position then. Plus, he asked me to call Ligachev and “explain everything in detail.” And what’s the outcome? One August 1st, an article appears in Pravda with the same signatures as in the first version, with minor corrections. It was stupid, without proofs, and practically freeing Stalin from blame. Of course I did not allow myself to ask him for “explanations” (last year, under different circumstances, I would have asked). I found out from Boldin and Vorontsov what happened, which was the following: Ligachev took M.S.’ opinion for a “dissatisfaction” with the existing text. And he assigned the authors (through Vorontsov) to work on it some more. He sent the new version to M.S., who returned the article without any corrections to Boldin and gave Ligachev the go-ahead! And all this despite the fact, which is clear to him (and I wrote to him about it in my review), that unless he plans on canceling glasnost’, historians will still come to Kulish’s point of view (or something close to that). Why should he connect himself to this flawed concept, which Falin already once imposed on him (though Yakovlev) in the report on the 70th anniversary of the October Revolution (now he swept aside my objections). But since then, a lot of glasnost’-suffused water has flowed under bridge, in this as in many other matters. Of course, the West reacted very clearly to his article as a victory for the Ligachev line in the present moment. On the other hand, Chebrikov sent me a draft of his interview with Pravda about his work in the KGB and perestroika. I marked it up quite unceremoniously, and sent it to M.S. (especially about the “ideological functions” of the KGB and the relations with the market and cooperatives). He not only agreed with all of my comments, but as I saw from the texts in the newspaper, added some too. 25

These are two contrasting examples. What do they indicate? That in relation to me (and maybe not only me) he has already developed an “instrumental” approach: the person does work, and let him; I’ll take what I need and discard what I don’t need. I don’t have time to explain things to him, and why should I? He’ll get over it! Overall, my hurts are ridiculous. He has turned the country upside down. He has given it back a human face. He saved humanity from a catastrophe, which would have inevitably happened if we continued with Brezhnev’s foreign policy. He will truly enter history on the same level as Lenin, whatever perestroika comes to. And who am I? Nobody in particular. That’s right. But… the traits that come through in his relations with me can disfigure him as a statesman of perestroika and new thinking… As in a drop of water, “according to the unforgettable Ponomarev.” When he was taking me south with him, he stated the objectives on which we would work: - prepare materials for a lecture (or a brochure) “on socialism;” - prepare the main speech for Krasnoyarsk; - develop a conception for the reform of the CC and its apparatus. Besides, we had to finish the postscript to the Polish-Soviet book (based on the outcomes of his trip to Poland), which he promised the Polish intellectuals. By the way, there I also offered him to step away from the position on 1939 that he offered in the report on the 70th anniversary of October. But… alas! He condemned the Agreement of September 28th--on the friendship and border with Germany. He did that much. But that is not new… I think the stormy meetings in the Baltics during these days played their role in this. To recognize August 23rd as faulty would mean to put the joining of Latvia, Estonia, and Lithuania in question… Even though he clearly sees and does not deny that the “joining” was an intervention from the very beginning. We came up with quite a bit “on socialism.” He dictated a new part: why do we need this subject right now? Everything is so scattered that nobody knows anymore, what’s socialism, what’s not, and what it means at all. I made a summary of the kinds of evaluations of our pre-perestroika society that have appeared in our press: was it socialism at all, etc. There are four main directions--from Afanasiev to Astafiev. According to preliminary analysis, which I asked Ambartsumov to conduct, plus the book Inogo ne dano [We Do Not Have Another Way], I wrote a 30 page scheme of the evolution of Lenin’s understanding of socialism. On 40 more pages I summarized and unified what Gorbachev himself has said in these three years on this subject--how he imagines socialism. But he did not work on this material, which I handed to him week after week. When we got back on Monday, he got together the advisers, and said that we have this material and that it needs to be turned “from quantity to quality,” and we should use it to prepare for the CC Plenum, at which the reorganization of the political system will be confirmed. This is where we’ll need a “theory of socialism.” “We all need to work--and Ivan Timofeevich will be team leader”--he said, without batting an eyelid. This is the magic of an academic title, a fabricated one, received through a career in bureaucracy… Despite the fact that the XIX conference has already shown that Frolov is incapable of anything besides chattering on the theme… “about man,” and he does not have any real ammunition. Shakhnazarov has a great deal more of it, and I just read more about it, I live it… I have found that I have read and studied more in philosophy than the philosopher-academician Frolov. But what can you do! Anyway, it is completely clear to me in this matter, and I have been “informed” of this before from many sides, that the mystery of M.S.’ benevolence toward Ivan is R.M. This is how he got into Gorbachev’s circles in the first place. Ah, let it be! God forgive my sinner’s soul! M.S. worked on the Krasnoyarsk speech very thoroughly. He dictated it many times, sometimes even at night over the regular phone line in Tesseli. 26

I prepared the international section quickly, went over it with the MFA, with [Marshal] Akhromeev and Kamentsev (foreign economic committee). M.S. approved, accepted, and praised it (which you rarely hear from him); and did not come back to it. But he painstakingly belabored the domestic section. He is very worried by the situation that arose after the party conference. Objectively, it worked out that the party conference added fuel to the fire: the apparatus understood that its days are numbered and at best stopped working, practically turning off the old mechanism of the administrative system (in the worst case it is aiming to show that all of this is Gorbachev’s venture). The new mechanism has not started functioning yet… And there is nothing on the shelves. The word in Moscow is that the times are worse than under Grishin… and they are intensely comparing this time to the two years when Yeltsin was in Moscow. Gorbachev is beginning to be irritated by the intelligentsia, which keeps adding panicky analyses, producing facts claiming that in the years 1927, 1950, and 1968 there was plenty of food on the shelves and everything was available. He asked for numbers and data. He dictated one thing, then another, then crossed it all out. He looked for approaches. But he still brought a “justificatory” and “coaxing” speech to Moscow. Only when he was here he found the right key: the goal we set is a difficult one but we do not have another, we will go forward, and the people who implemented the new approaches are already reaping results. Do not ask me how perestroika is going. I am supposed to be asking you: I gave you full freedom to act how you think is best. So act. Feed, clothe, provide for yourselves, etc. He got the idea for this conception in Sevastopol’, where he decided to go for a tour a day before leaving for Moscow. At the very sea-front he was met by a crowd of many thousands, and he spent the three and a half hours of his “tour” in debate and polemic with the people (as I had warned him would happen). When they pestered him with questions on the Sapun mountain--about the deficit in sugar, housing, subscription, pensions, the failure of the enterprise law, the Crimean atomic power station, (by the way, he never once lost his temper--he knows how to talk to people), he said: am I a Tsar? Or Stalin? Do you want me to go around cities, pointing and saying that you get an apartment, you get a pension, you get a fair salary, and you get order at your factory? No. In two years you had time to judge which people would be good leaders and organizers. And to elect them; to drive out the worthless ones; to organize yourselves and carry out what you would like to see happen. This is the essence of perestroika. It means that you have not understood it entirely, if you keep demanding all the answers from me and keep waiting for directions and charity from Moscow. As the result, the speech for Krasnoyarsk became strong and “optimistic.” I also “complimented” him when he called me on Sunday, the last day before his departure. September 14, 1988. Yesterday I watched M.S.’ speech in Krasnoyarsk on TV. He was superb, especially at the meeting with scientists and economic executives. He was calm, confident, and his reactions and direction of the conversation were knowledgeable. He does not get irritated, but he is sharp and even strongly-worded, but without hurtful and offensive tones. And he sees the person immediately--whether a person should be asked at all, whether it would be meaningful to enter into a polemics with this person. His keen black eyes light up if the person is interesting. And his faces dulls, he averts his gaze, and quiets down if it’s a bureaucrat [чинуша]. In a word, he is a real leader of the country that he is freeing from idiotism, and about whom we hear daily, weekly, and monthly in the newspapers and journals. It is a celebration of common sense. One would think, how easy this is! By the way, in these live conversations he sometimes “blurts out” (or maybe he does it intentionally, in his folk-aristocratic manner) ideas that he is not always ready to present officially. 27

Yesterday, for example, he called the famous state farm director Veprev to the podium (Veprev is a true statesman, unlike many of the ministers at the same podium). Veprev: soon we will have to enter the peasant into the endangered species list, if things go on this way. Family contracts are the only solution. M.S.: Not many people are rushing to make these contracts. Veprev: We have to move away from the gradual approach. It cannot go on like this. M.S.: I will ask you a direct question. Once before in 1929-30, we already conducted a sweeping change. We are still dealing with the aftereffects of that. We should not force people to lease. If we rush, we could compromise a deep change. And that’s M.S.’ evaluation of collectivization. It is final. But he has not said it officially yet; he is probably saving it for the Agricultural Plenum. He is preparing for it; when we were on vacation he kept sharing his thoughts about it. (By the way, I suggested the term “to de-peasant [раскрестьяниваение] the country.” He seized it right away, and now he has used it.) Here is what I am driving at: in Tesseli I asked the intellectuals Galkin and Krasin whether they had looked through the collection “Gorbachev’s visit to Poland?” No, they had not. They said that it’s routine material, banal information that is not really relevant… I told them that they should not dismiss it. The conversations with the Polish people on the streets and with academicians are full of things that M.S. has not yet said officially. Some of the issues, including strictly “ideological questions,” that he brings up in these conversations he has never formulated as clearly before. About his work on the CC apparatus reorganization note (in “Zarya”). He dictated it twice. Both times he asked me to work on the text, to format it and to add to it, “if you come up with something.” The main ideas are: if we hold a congress (of the party) right now, we will not get a “new” CC, because the “new” cadres have not come to light. But we need to work on the fundamental reform of the CC. Also—this needs to be a functioning organ and people need to be appointed not according to their position, but according to their brains and the capability to be perestroika revolutionaries. We need to create CC member committees, which would develop policies. The departments will be their apparatus. About the apparatus itself. It contains almost 3000 people. At first M.S. said: we’ll decrease it by half. I said we should decrease it by two thirds. We agreed on a decrease of a half to two-thirds, but the final version read “by a half or more.” Of course, that is considerable. But it is not the main thing. He is removing almost all the economic-administrational divisions and the industrial departments. He will leave the socio-economic department, but as a theoretical unit, stripping it from any administrative rights (this is a polemic and it’s directed against someone who gave him “considerations.” Later at the PB, I understood that it was [Vladimir] Dolgikh). They will have absolutely no administrative privileges; otherwise everything would slip back to its former ways. From the economic-functional departments he will leave the Department of Agriculture, because the issue is just too sensitive. But this is temporary, until we resolve it… Also the defense industry remains. [Nikolai] Ryzhkov objected to this at the PB: once again, it will control the military-industrial committee of the Soviet of Ministers. M.S. agreed: there should be a conceptual-control department for the General Secretary’s military policies in the capacity of Chairman of the Defense Soviet. When we were in “Zarya” in the summer, I told him that this department is not necessary. When he is the president, he can put together a group of experts to advise him. There will be one International Department instead of three. There will be one Department of Ideology instead of three. There will be a General Department to manage the affairs of the CC. He did not write directly what will happen to our current secretaries. But he dropped a clue in a phrase that says that the apparatus will attend to the PB and the CC secretaries. I asked him as he was dictating: what will happen to the current secretaries who are in charge of 28

departments? You are practically liquidating them with this note and at the same time you are assigning the “Secretariat” to prepare “concrete proposals on how to reform the apparatus along the lines of this note…” He bore though me with his black coals: This is my duty. Let them think about it. And let them think about themselves, too. I am thinking about them… and he softened up. When he got to Moscow he revealed his thoughts at a meeting with advisers. Maybe he did not tell me that time because the stenographer was present. So, what is he “thinking?” He wants to separate [Yegor Kuzmich] Ligachev and [Aleksandr Nikolaevich] Yakovlev and “release” both of them from ideology. (Oh, he is clever!) Yakovlev will be moved to the (consolidated) International Department as a curator. A.N. asked for this himself, in order to get away from daily interaction with E.K… In secret, he said: let him get fools to write his speeches (without a buffer, like A.N.’ Baltic speeches in response to Ligachev’s Chernigov speech). Medvedev will go to the Department of Ideology. M.S. spoke well of him … Said that he knows the economy, and he has worked in the ideological spheres as far back as Leningrad. He is sensible and has character. Sometimes, M.S. said, I want to punch him in the face. At the PB, for example. Sometimes it looks like we finally finished, barely settling everything by compromising, when Medvedev gets up and pushes his line… and he makes his arguments dryly, efficiently, and irrefutably… And I like it. He has his point of view and he doesn't glance over his shoulder when he persistently defends his opinion. Everybody, and especially I, actively agreed and added our own ideas: - [Nikolai] Slyunkov should be transferred to the socio-economic department. - [Vitaly] Vorotnikov should be made the Chairman of the Presidium of the RSFSR Supreme Soviet: where “he can continue to grumble.” We will find a Premier for Russia from the new and brave, and we will make him a candidate member of the PB. - What’s to be done with Ligachev? I thought perhaps he should be sent to the transformed Committee of Party Control. But this would be better for [Boris] Pugo. He is honest and smart. But Latvia did not accept him: he is not “their own.” They already have “their own,” who is making his way up… M.S. named some Latvian last name (how does he remember it all!). - Ligachev should to the Department of Agriculture. He knows this field… We, the advisers, all supported this plan. The legal department will also be a part of the CC. Here he had his fill of talking about the fact that this (i.e. the political system) is the deciding factor in our long revolution. This should always be close by. Somehow I did not catch whether he will put [Anatoly] Lukyanov in charge of this, or whether he wants him in the Supreme Soviet, closer to the president. He praised [Aleksandra] Biryukova. He wants to make her deputy representative of light industry, or chairman of the All-Union Central Soviet of Professional Unions (where she was before). He is leaning toward the first option. She is smart, active, principled, and she has a good grasp of the work… and she is a woman. In regard to Pugo he added: we need to fill the central organs, the PB as well, with people from the republics. I am ready to bring him here right now. But who would replace him? There is nobody, not even on the way to being ready. These are the fruit of cadre politics, if I may say so! He sent the note around the PB and to the secretaries. On October 8 it was discussed at the PB for six hours. Of course, everybody was “for it.” But there were shades of disagreement. The first “concern” was what to do with the people who will lose their jobs. M.S. answered that those who are still “alright” and have the right attitude should be given government work in the mass media, in science, in universities and in diplomacy. But the majority has lost their profession and will have to be let go. Boldin-Kruchin offered a proposal to allow retirement without an age restriction with 29

a pension of 90-95 percent of what it would be if the person retired at 60. The proposal was not accepted. M.S. said that some will see this as an [unfair] privilege, especially since these people were in power during the period of stagnation. We have to think about it. Ryzhkov said: this has to do with the party apparatus and the election organs, but what should we do with the ministers? In a word, this issue was left for later. The question was symptomatic—already now nobody wants do party work; former secretaries of party organizations are refusing to run for elections. In the note, M.S. mentioned a salary increase for party workers. Yesterday in Znamya I read V[ladimir] Tendryakov’s “Okhota” [The Hunt]—the year 1948. It is about [Aleksandr] Fadeev, about cosmopolitanism. Talent comes through in every phrase. The force of action is enormous… The story is a social-moral phenomenon beyond comparison… Especially the fact that it is written by a Russian person. Emka Mandel’ (Korzhavin) is published there. I though back to the time when I knew him. One particular episode comes to mind. I was coming home from work in a tram; I was still living on Kutuzov street. It was late, the tram was empty. At a kiosk at work I bought a little book—a collection of his poems. I was flipping through it when I saw the poem “From Nekrasov:” Nekrasov writes: He will stop a horse in mid-gallop He will go into a burning house. Korzhavin continues: And the horses still gallop and gallop, And the houses still burn and burn. I was chocked with tears. Right there, in the tram. From that time whenever I remember this poem, I cry. I looked through two issues of Kommunist (12th and 13th). The subjects are: private property, bureaucracy, socialism, professional unions. Bukharin. The history of morality after 1917. Darwinism. Religion and nationalism. Kommunist is now the leader of progressive thought. In Izvestiya there is a stupid article by [Georgy] Arbatov. He made a laughingstock of himself, revealing his ignorance in scholarship and in theory. He stuck his head out because he cannot gracefully accept the fact that he is no longer at the center. He should have stuck to his reputation as an expert on the U.S. He was still alright in that position. I think he will destroy the last credit of M.S.’ trust, while all of society will laugh at him. Recently I had a rather rude argument with him: he came in “without permission,” even though I asked him not to come over because I needed every minute of my time (before Krasnoyarsk). He still came in and started his whining: that the respectable scholars are turning away from M.S.; writers are leaving the struggle because he did not support the foremen of perestroika; prices, stores, etc. I blew up. Said a heap of rude things. Then we apologized to each other over the phone. September 15, 1988. From the conversation in the Crimea. M.S. can’t stop admiring Bukharin, he is reading him. I offered him some more brochures and articles from the years 1925-27. I think that last year’s acquaintance with Bukharin had a strong effect on his evaluation of the “era of the cult” and his readiness for rehabilitation. He picked up a great deal from getting to know the situation with the party and around Lenin. He was especially interested in the relations between Lenin and Bukharin, about whom he said: “What a talent! What a mind! He got carried away, did not think things through. He was in a hurry! But he was always thinking… developing Lenin’s ideas. Not a single encounter with Lenin passed by without a result: he knew how 30

to learn and to correct himself.” I should write about about M.S.’ reaction to Ligachev’s speech from Gorky. I read all kinds of things in the newspapers and journals and it makes me want to go back to the source: to read Besy [The Devils, by Dostoyevsky], Idiot [The Idiot, by Dostoyevsky], Tolstoy, Chekhov… It turns out there is a great deal that I did not understand when I read them. Maybe I should come back to the many works that I once read superficially, with eyes that did not yet see the depth? And in general, I read more Western books than Russian classics. [Fyodor] Burlatskiy published in Literaturnaya Gazeta from September 14, an article called “Brezhnev and the breakdown of [Khrushchev’s] Thaw.” This article is an event and an action, despite all of Fyodor’s vain eccentricities. And it is a very useful action for everybody, including M.S. (I think he will like the article’s spirit, even though he might express himself in his usual manner on certain passages.) But to come back to Ligachev. Tesseli. The TV program Vremya just finished. M.S. calls me: Did you see what Yegor just said (in Gorky)? I reply: I saw it. M.S.: What do you think? I don’t remember exactly what I said, but I remember that it was rough and along the lines of: “it is an attack on the foundations of the new thinking. And even though I told you before that I agree that this happens because of his lack of understanding, because even your closest colleagues are incapable of reading what you say publicly and what they signed in official documents of perestroika; now (including Ye.K.’s speech at the XIX party conference) I am convinced that this is a program. It might be hastily constructed, but it is consciously driven and opposed to you. And behind it are not only cadres, but entire structures as well… And if anything adds confusion (that Ligachev mentioned) it is that this demonstration of an alternative to new thinking goes ‘unpunished.’” He listened to me without interrupting. M.S.: Alright, you are generalizing as always. Tomorrow, write down your thoughts on this for me … about the international part of his speech. But make it brief, for a conversation (with whom?). In the morning I did this, but I could not resist adding evaluations of the entire speech and the speaker’s pretensions. Specifically, I referred to the fact that in other PB members’ and secretaries’ public speeches after the XIX party conference, nobody touched the subject of international affairs. But this guy, rather than addressing some burning international question that a member of the Soviet government cannot leave uncommented, he tackled the theoretical essence—the class nature of international development. M.S. received it, but—not a word. He also did not say anything about Yakovlev’s speeches in Riga and Vilnus, which followed immediately after Ligachev’s speech. I tried to start a conversation about this, since A.N. gives a direct response to Ligachev. I asked him whether he had read Yakovlev’s speeches in “Soviet Latvia” or “Soviet Lithuania?” He answered curtly: No. I understood that he does not want to involve me in a conflict between two PB members. This means that he does not trust me to keep his thoughts to myself. Three or four days later I asked Shishlin to send me from Moscow articles from English, French, and American journals about this episode with Yegor Kuzmich and Yakovlev. This theme was already all over the radio intercepts. M.S. noticed this. For some reason during a telephone conversation with me he froze up in surprise: “they understood it all…” I gave him the articles. The one in The Economist is particularly strong and intelligent, it provides a comprehensive breakdown of the relations between Ligachev and Gorbachev in the given situation. He kept them. I already know what that means: he added them to his “archive.” Otherwise, when he does not think the material is important, he sends it back without commentary. 31

We came back to Moscow. On Monday the 5th, he got together the advisers. When he started speaking frankly about how and where he would like to appoint his colleagues [in the scheme of staff reform], the problem of Ligachev came up. Shakhnazarov and Ivan expressed themselves sharply. Ivan offered the example of a letter that some Moscow engineer sent to Ye. K. He wrote that he is upset by the TV show “5oe Koleso” [The fifth wheel] (or “Vzglyad” [Look]) in which unattractive young people of Jewish decent impose their questionable views on the Soviet audience. Ye. K. sent this letter around the Secretariat and assigned his minions [Pyotr] Slezko (deputy director of the Department of Propaganda) and Zaitsev (deputy director of the Department of Culture) to “look into it and take measures.” This is the resolution on the letter. Ivan: Is this politics? Is this politics? How is this possible!... M.S. heard him out, but did not react. Later on in the conversation he started to shield Ligachev again: I’ve known him for many years. I’ve seen a lot. He is an honest guy. He’s just lacking culture… it’s his level. What can one do. At this point I commented: Mikhail Sergeyevich, in his position, ignorance and a lack of culture are political problems. It is a danger for our entire cause. Later he notified us that he is sending him to the Department of Agriculture, and he’ll “divorce” him from ideology. Overall, he has subtle tactics. We expressed our sympathy that he has to do this. We can understand him on a human level: [it is difficult] to remove people with whom everyday, every week at the PB you worked on the same cause… And now he has to remove [Andrey] Gromyko, [Mikhail] Solomentsev—“that’s a decided matter” (M.S.), to move around or distance others… while he is moving to a position superior to all, the position practically of the president. Yes, it is for the good of the party and the country. And we do not have an alternative if we want perestroika to succeed. But one can understand him. He is sure that the country needs him precisely in that capacity; that the current PB does not do its part and has become a hindrance; and that the majority will “not have a job in the PB,” as he described it himself. He has done the maximum to make the ousting look like the result of an “objective” process of perestroika of the political system, rather than the result of his personal “sympathies and antipathies” and his “personal” staff politics. One can understand his caution and tact. Plus, when he got up to answer the phone at another table, he commented: “do not forget that we could have a vote at the PB, too…” September 20, 1988. M.S. came back to work yesterday after Krasnoyarsk. He got carried away telling about the trip; he said he was walking on the edge and came to some sharp realizations. The problem is in the staff. They do not know how to work, they are behind, and they are incapable. But. he said, “I spoke against hongweibingism [хунвейбинство]13, against “firing at the headquarters,” I made it pretty dramatic...” You cannot make people join perestroika through a new 1937. There are some smart people. But it is all so un-coordinated, un-organized, they don’t know how… And the party active is falling back into its well-worn path “under Yegor’s direction and protection.” (!) (He decided to show me some of his secret thoughts and plans). I “complimented” him on the impromptu speech in Shushensky (on the new thinking as related to Lenin, who in Shushensky for the first time had the idea that humankind takes precedence over classes). Suddenly he came out with a tirade against Frolov. “His only excuse is that he is a philosopher.” M.S. got the common-mankind idea when he was flipping through the pages of a book in the room where Lenin lived. And he used it right away. In a word, he is satisfied, even though the workload was hellish. He said many timely and
13

A reference to the Chinese Red Guard, Youth Squadrons that “enforced” the Cultural Revolution in the 1960s.

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necessary things, such as that difficulties are inevitable because it is a time of change. That we are going through a great school; and those who have already started “studying” the subjects of perestroika are seeing results. Regarding materials for the talk with [Hassan] Sharq, the Afghani Prime Minister M.S. sees the situation as follows: Sharq and [Mohammad] Najibullah have made an arrangement. They probably want to remove the NDPA [National Democratic Party of Afghanistan] from power, or to fundamentally transform it. Both of them, together and separately, are doing things against the Politburo and all the Ministries. They are ones of the few who understood that we will really leave, and on time! Therefore they are betting on a real coalition rather than a screen for the NDPA. M.S. believes that we should let them do this. Our main goal is to avoid any bloody conflicts when we leave. Nobody would forgive us that, neither in the third world, nor in the most obscure liberal circles in the West, which for 10 years have been railing at us for the occupation. The conversation had major subtexts in this vein. I tried to reflect this in the report. I sent it to M.S. (I do this rarely, but this time the material is too delicate). He either did not see it among his other papers, or he decided that it is better to keep the subtexts: “let everyone guess and draw conclusions.” I don’t know how he will react tomorrow, when he sees it in the paper. September 25, 1988. It has been a week since I left the hospital. Mostly I’ve been busy with routine work. From things that might have political significance: Shevardnadze asked me to comment on his draft for the speech at the UN General Assembly. I advised him not to play up [педалировать]14 the role of the Security Council, even though it is mentioned at the congress and later. [As the result of the] serious objective process in world politics, it is nowadays not “fashionable” to elevate the role of the superpowers. India “openly” dislikes this, same as the FRG and Japan. I don’t know whether he’ll accept my suggestions. Yakovlev asked me about what happened in the Crimea, whether M.S. if finally planning to get rid of “his most devoted perestroika-guy” (Ye. K.). I told him the same idea I have been suggesting to everyone: that M.S. is not a simpleton, he does not want people to think that he is removing only the people he does not like. He wants to arrange it so that “objectively” in the course of political reform there just would not be place for some people. Vaksberg published an article about Aliev in Literaturnaia Gazeta with a condemnation that most likely nothing will follow. M.S. does not want reprisals, even if they are deserved; he does not way to play up to the people who favor “1937 in reverse.” What I have read this week: besides Tendryakov, I read Evgenia Ginzburg’s (Aksenov’s mother) novel Krutoi Marshrut [“Journey into the Whirlwind”] in Yunost’. Talented writing, which once again makes you terrified for state in which we, and I personally, lived. As for us, the excellent elite 1st pilot Gorky school, we did not see much of it, even though Nina Gegechkori was taken from our class, and some of our fathers were taken away [into Soviet prisons and camps]. I distinctly remember that we sympathized with her and helped her as we children could, and then accepted her back with compassion, but without hatred toward those that did this to her... We saw politics as some kind of higher, elemental force, to which normal human criteria did not apply. I edited the discussion at the XIX conference, the discussion of the resolutions. It's time to publish the transcript of the party conference. The PB made the decision not to publish the speeches
14

Chernyaev uses a slang term, педалировать, which is derived from the word “to pedal” and means to increase something by pedaling, such as the speed of a bicycle or the sound of a piano. [Efremova’s Electronic Dictionary. педалировать. May 19, 2008. http://edu.prometey.org/dictionary/d1/73342.html]

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made after the end of the conference. Mostly, this decision was taken in order not to publish Yuriy Afanasiev, even though he already printed his speech in Pravda in the end of June, with certain circumstances. September 27, 1988. During these two days M.S. has been clearing up the Politburo and the Secretariat. Yesterday morning he called people to his office one by one, starting with Gromyko. Today he conducted the Politburo. So far we know the following results: Chebrikov—secretary of the CC. Yakovlev—international affairs. Medvedev—member of the PB on ideology. Vorotnikov—chairman of the RSFSR Supreme Soviet instead of Orlov, i.e. moved to a less powerful position. Dolgikh—retirement. Demichev—retirement. Lukyanov—candidate member of the PB and first deputy of the chairman of the Supreme Soviet. Gromyko—retirement. Dobrynin—retirement (but M.S. promised to later make him a personal adviser “of the president”). Biryukova—candidate member of the PB and deputy representative of the USSR Council of Ministers. Talyzin—replaces Antonov in CMEA [Council for Mutual Economic Assistance]. Solomentsev—retirement. It's strange that he did not promote Boldin to a secretary. He is in a hurry because there has already been a leak about his note on the reorganization of the party apparatus, “and nobody is doing anything.” I visited the International Department today, everybody was glad to see me. One guy said: “Anatoly Sergeyevich, nobody is working right now, people just smoke in the hallways and moan. They are afraid of retirement...” On the 30th M.S. wants to conduct a Plenum to “consolidate everything” and quickly reorganize and reduce the apparatus. In the evening he called me about a trifle: the schedule for [Ciriaco] de Mita (Italian prime minister). M.S.: You probably heard? Me: I heard something... M.S.: Don't downplay it... Anyway, send me a program (for de Mita) to my house. I'm under emotional distress right now. I don't envy him during these times. He has to say something to everyone... and then show them out, after having built perestroika with them for three years. It's true that they weren't very good, but they tried. Dobrynin called me after the PB. Well, he said, my secretary-days are over. And he said it briskly, like he usually talks. Of course it's sad, he's still energetic and his mind is still sharp. That's why he wasn't thrilled to hear the word “retirement.” I have to grant it to him--he did not whine or complain. I sympathized with him and pretended that I didn't know anything, saying that this is the first time I hear about it and I am very surprised! He did not do very well as a secretary, but he is a good guy and would have been useful to me as an expert on America. The reason I went to the International Department was to visit [Boris Nikolaevich] Ponomarev. 34

He asked me very pitifully to come over, saying that it was “work related, nothing personal...” This is what he had to tell me: he was on vacation in Bulgaria (in a regular sanatorium, after the personal dachas!), where he met with vacationers from our fraternal parties. They told him that the negativism in our press is undermining their positions. So B.N. teaches me that we should have some positive material on our achievements. I ask him, what positive material? -Well, about the victories of socialism, that we do not have unemployment, that our healthcare and education are free, etc. I got wound up: first of all, we already have unemployment and it's likely to stay, and our healthcare and education are in such a state that it's embarrassing even to mention them. The vacation norm in the West is 5 weeks, here it’s two. People can't survive on our pensions. The quality of life is 23 times below the West. Should we write about these virtues? Should we slip back into demagoguery? They didn't believe us then, and they definitely will not believe us now. Our friends are used to being dependent on us and living in illusions. When we left them one on one with the reality, they found themselves in low water. No thanks, B.N. He is pathetic and ludicrous. He gave me a note to give to M.S., advising him that he needs to give some attention to the youth. Thanks! M.S. would never have guessed. B.N. asked me to find a place for him at some project, writing the history of the CPSU... I saw that even though he spends hours in the International Department in his dim little room, he doesn’t reach much and knows very little of what is written about perestroika. And he definitely does not understand anything. October 3, 1988. M.S. carried out his plan. The Plenum was on the 30th, the session of the Supreme Soviet was on Saturday, October 1st. He emerged from it as the chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet. Back in the summer I was against it, but my complaints were met with a disapproving, piercing glance. Plus, someone needs to carry out the reform, and we can’t try to use the party again—we would be going against our stated logic. But the post is tarnished by Podgorny, Brezhnev, and in general [by everybody] after Kalinin... The intelligentsia met the developments as one would expect: “We've seen this before...” Recently he called me about a minor question. I congratulated him (without epithets), and sympathized about how on a human level it was difficult for him to do this. I said that overall it worked out like an objective political process, rather than [the pursuit of] personal considerations. I told him what was going around Moscow as soon as people found out about the Plenum: that M.S. decided to damn it all and resign, since the people do not want to do anything for themselves. He laughed. He said that the French were the first to guess that it's all happening according to Gorbachev's premeditated plan. Then I said something about the fact that everything converges on him now and it will be impossible for anybody to blame the hindrances of the PB anymore. “Yes,” he said, “the responsibility is greater. On the one hand it's easier, I won't have to waste time and effort on diplomacy and listening to endless talks, on the other hand—I have to act in a way that would soon produce results...” October 9, 1988. On Monday M.S. called me and Shakhnazarov to his office. He kissed Shakhnazarov—it was his birthday, he turned 64. We put together a schedule of M.S.' meetings and visits. He has made the final decision to go to the UN on December 7-8, from there to Cuba, and on the way back to make a stopover in London to talk with Thatcher. While we were at it, we removed [Uliy] Kvitsinsky from the 35

post of deputy of the International Department. M.S. lost his patience in regard to Nagorno-Karabakh. He stood opposite to us and started talking: “I want it to be done humanely; I don't want blood, I want for us to start talking with each other. The corrupted public is having an effect. [Stepan] Demirchan (first secretary of Armenia's CP) is organizing his own group of people. They are egging on the public. The intellectuals have gone bankrupt; they cannot offer anything that would lead to a solution. But I do not know a solution either. If I knew what the solution is, nothing could stop me, I would break all the conventions to get it done. But I don't know it!” He unexpectedly mentioned Alievshchina (Aliev is already retired). We dug into this matter, and the affair that we are unearthing might be bigger than Rashid's. I used the opportunity and told him what Shatrov passed on to me: during a break in the Plenum, [Mikhail] Zimyanin and Yu. Zhukov came up to Chakovsky and said: “You bastard, you'll regret printing that about Aliev!” (The night before, Literaturnaya Gazeta published Vaksberg's article on Aliev's affairs under Brezhnev with quotes from his speeches about Brezhnev, mentioning the gifts, the palaces, and the bribes). At 1p.m. M.S. got together Yakovlev, Medvedev, Luk'yanov, Frolov, Shakhnazarov, and me to discuss ideas for the forthcoming political events. We discussed it for a long time, until Luk'yanov reminded us about the resolutions of the XIX party conference. Then everything fell in place quickly: at the November Plenum there will be a brief message from Ryzhkov on the progress of RER and the socio-economic program until the year 2005. At the session on the next day there will be a report on election law and amendments to the Constitution. Gorbachev's major report on the nature of socialism and the final political reorganization will take place at the Congress of People's Deputies in April of 1989. (At the Plenum before the Congress we should state his ideas). Additionally, the Agricultural Plenum is in February, where the questions of economic relations in the village and of private property will be resolved. This will be integrated into the themes of the Congress. We spent three hours there, sometimes digressing from the subject. By the way, M.S. criticized the article in Literaturnaya Gazeta about Stalin's poisoning of Bekhterev because Bekhterev diagnosed him with paranoia. ... “Why do we bother then, if Stalin was just crazy? Why do we need history, theory, etc.? It's all so easy.” He also mentioned that we should not rule out the possibility to remove of editors if they are “harmful” and “do not listen to arguments.” Medvedev started to object. ... It was just our luck that the next day it became known that Yegor Yakovlev (Moskovskie Novosti) was resigning in protest against the firing of his deputy Bandura by the administration of the Novosti Press Agency. He was fired because he did not follow the order not to portray Churbanov’s trial as a political process against Brezhnev (“a criminal trial”). When I found out, I tried to talk to Yegor (saying that it’s not about personal matters at such a moment in history). I asked Falin what happened. But he took the bit between his teeth and wouldn’t back down; he’s in an administrative rage, [insisting that] a breach of discipline must result in punishment. In a word, Falin brought his 1937 and his cold war even here, he’s reverting to Ligachev-methods from personal longhair motivations. It’s a normal thing in Russia! Meanwhile, a meeting of the editorial board of Moskovskie novosti took place, which Falin attended. They gave him a hard time there… He called them all a congregation of anarchists and opportunists, and they called him a bureaucrat. Then at the meeting of Moskovskie novosti party organization they even cited M.S. from his last meeting with editors, saying that he supports the repression and wants to confine journalists to the usual cage of control and censorship, even though he had said that everything is allowed (to print!) that is not restricted by law. And overall: “the meeting resulted in the conclusion that we cannot work with this kind of Novosti Press Agency administration.” Falin reported to Medvedev, who said that he sent the note to the CC. 36

I think it will conclude with the expulsion of Yegor Yakovlev according to the Yeltsin formula (voluntary resignation), and… with the bankruptcy of Moskovskie Novosti even without Ligachev’s involvement, who is on vacation right now; brought about by the hands of the perestroika makers, represented by Falin (the administration voted 11 in favor of firing Bandura, 5 in favor of a serious reprimand, but leaving him at his post). Yesterday I was finishing up the materials for Vancio and de Mita. I spoke on the phone twice with M.S. Shevardnadze. Bondarenko complained to him that Chernyaev is setting the General Secretary against interfering in Austria’s joining of the EEC [European Economic Community]. I really did express myself sharply against the superpower approach to the modern meaning of the 1955 State treaty on Austria’s neutrality. October 23, 1988. It looks like today I won’t have to work, unlike the previous two weekends. Yesterday M.S. called me to talk about the materials for Kohl. When we were discussing Kohl himself, I told M.S. that “the country is ready to go very far with us, but he is not.” To which he replied: “It’s the opposite with us—the leadership is ready, and not only with the FRG, but the country is not…” On Friday I forgot that overall the program with Kohl had been coordinated, and decided that besides the one on one meeting, M.S. should not lead the negotiations (as he did with de Mita). Let Ryzhkov do it. Shevardnadze raised a great din about this. He called me and spoke to me in a tone that was unusually rude for him. M.S. called me immediately afterwards and jumped at me: “Who came up with this ridiculous idea?” I told him that I did. And I did it deliberately. After all, there is an order: you are the president, he is a prime minister. It’s a different matter with the Italians because we have such “heartfelt relations” with them. Plus, de Mita never compared you with Goebbels. Not to mention the fact that you are worn out to the limit and it’s time to stop constantly appearing on the TV screen in the Georgievsky and other halls and to fill newspaper pages while the shelves in the stores are empty. He softened up a bit, started to calm down: “What are you saying, it would be a scandal. We can’t do that.” In a word, he restored everything to its former order. The same morning, I had another unpleasant conversation with Shevardnadze about his proposal to appoint deputy Minister Karpov. This time he also had an irritated tone with me, saying that he knows what he is doing and answers for his proposals. Shevardnadze and I haven’t had these kinds of confrontations before. But he should also know that I’m filling his position not only to write post factum communiqués. M.S. gave an interview to Der Spiegel. I had insisted on it for a long time. It came out great: he sat down and had a measured conversation with intelligent German [reporters]. They were blown away. At the PB on Thursday (which I left after the first question) a vehement encounter between Ryzhkov and Ligachev (who had just come back from his vacation, so this was his first PB with the “demotion”) took place, actually over that first question. They were discussing the plan for 1989. Ryzhkov made his report that they added everything up, cleaned everything thoroughly, and were barely able to balance the account, with a deficit; they tried not to tap into the means of the industries and the republics too much; in a word, as much as they could in RER. Of course, they had to freeze or cancel many construction projects; the agro-industrial complex, where small projects have been built for decades, was also affected. And now Ligachev stands up and begins to passionately defend the food program and the people’s interests, looking after the regular people who have nothing to buy at the stores, etc. Maslyukov, Slyunkov, and others tried to dissuade him. Vlasov, the new Premier of Russia, supported him. Ryzhkov blew up: it appears as though you are for the people, and we are just technocrats and 37

do not care about them. And it went on from there… Then Ligachev made the statement that he is appointed to defend the food program for the people, he got a sphere that is collapsing. And while he is here, he is going to fight for the people’s interests. During the discussion M.S. tried to reconcile them in his usual way, but after this statement he said that he has to also make a speech. And he did! (I have it written down). The general idea is: if you want to oppose yourself to the PB, that you alone are for the people and we all are for the devil knows what, it won’t work. When we were leaving, Frolov whispered to me: “His number’s up, at best he’ll be around for a couple months longer.” Then Yakovlev told me about a personal conversation he had with M.S., who cursed Ye.K. left and right… It looks like he is finally convinced that Ligachev is a burden on perestroika, that he hinders the process and will continue to do so. I am exhausted: Vranitzky, de Mita, Sarney, Kohl… and permanent ongoing matters that take up 12-14 hours a day. M.S. asked me: can you handle it? I told him that it does not have “historic significance” whether I can or not. But for him… (this was after he told me that he has a flicker in one of his eyes). He really has so much to do: constitutional affairs; history of the CPSU; the economic program for 1989 and beyond; the cadres; and hundreds of everyday affairs… October 28, 1988. Kohl visited. He met one-on-one with Gorbachev (plus me and Teltschik [assistant to the chancellor]). When you watch this striving “at the highest level” to speak as one human being to another (mutually), you physically feel that we are entering a new world where the determinant is no longer class struggle, ideology, and polarity in general, but something all-human. And you realize how brave and far-sighted M.S. is. He declared the new thinking “without any theoretical preparation,” and began to act according to common sense. After all, his ideas--“freedom of choice,” “mutual respect for each other’s values,” “renunciation of force in politics,” “common European home,” “liquidation of nuclear armaments,” etc., etc.--all of this is by no means new. What is new is that a person who came out of Soviet MarxismLeninism, from a Soviet society conditioned from top to bottom by Stalinism, began to carry out these ideas with all earnestness and sincerity when he became head of state. No wonder the world is stunned and full of admiration. But our public still cannot appreciate that he has already led them from one state to another. Sometimes he is still caught in the old clichés. For example, after the “embrace” with Kohl during the first meeting, Kohl made a speech several hours later in which he again and again spoke about a “unified Germany” and about “Berlin, …” The next morning M.S. consulted as to what sharp words he should say to him at the start of the negotiations. He even made Falin and me write a “page” so that he would not forget the sharpness of everything he wanted to say. But he did not say any of it … Later it was as if he “made excuses,” saying that Kohl needed [to speak] about unity in order to fight off his allies and the overly-enthusiastic public at home! Three days ago I wrote him a note, protesting Vorontsov-Varennikov-Zaitsev’s proposal to organize a pogrom of the mujaheddin with bombs, rockets, and flame-throwers over the entire territory of Afghanistan, in order to make them more compliant with Najibullah. M.S. did not say anything to me. But in his circle, during a session of the Supreme Soviet, “in the back” (off stage, while they were having tea) he said some cutting remarks “to nobody in particular” that there are some people who think that we will succeed with mere talks and persuasions, who want to practically leave Najibullah to his own devices, etc. Yakovlev made a comment along the lines of Najibullah not being important enough to sacrifice the lives of hundreds and thousands of people and to risk our prestige (on following Geneva). At this point M.S. got really wound up (as always happens when he knows that he is not right, and when the conversation turns to Yeltsin and 38

Nagorno-Karabakh). The other members of the PB acquiesced. But it must have touched a chord. Yakovlev got the sense from speaking with [Dmitriy] Yazov that M.S. gave him some orders to “rein him in.” In relation to the beginning of today’s entry, on the destruction of the dogmas and principles with which we lived for two-thirds of the 20th century: Shainis wrote in MEMO [Mirovaia ekonomika i mezhdunarodnye otnosheniya, Journal of World Economics and International Affairs] about socialism; Borko in Kommunist on capitalism; two people in Mezhdunarodnaia Zhizn’ on neocolonialism. There are similar articles in every issue of the serious journals. This is a sweeping destruction of the pillars that held the entire official “Marxism-Leninism,” which was studied at the universities and were the topic of hundreds of dissertations. M.S. sometimes says similar things, for example in the afterword to the Soviet-Polish book, which recently came out in Warsaw in Politizdat. The following episode is also characteristic: Chebrikov tells M.S. about Sakharov’s election to the Academy of Sciences Presidium that “Our Academy is not very mature.” M.S. made fun of that as soon as he put down the phone, by telling Chebrikov that Sakharov should be permitted to travel abroad, he has proved himself a patriot and an honest person. Then he bitterly and venomously told about Chebrikov’s comment to Yakovlev. Chebrikov said to M.S. about Ligachev and Ryzhkov’s confrontation at the PB: “Yakovlev and Ligachev seem to be buddies [дружки]!” M.S. made a master move when he removed Chebrikov from the KGB, thereby leaving him without the levers and the apparatus of power. As a Secretary of the CC he is powerless against perestroika. But there is still Vorotnikov, as well as Ligachev, [Viktor] Nikonov, and the “swampy” ones at the PB. There is also the CC, over half of whose members have been removed or sent into retirement “based on age.” Of course, there are also the officialdom, which is being reduced in all areas right now and is finding itself in low waters… and what is worse, they are finding positions in different places. Sometimes M.S. has minutes when he just wants to talk without planning it ahead of time. When this happens, he turns on his direct line, which he did three days ago. We talked for about five minutes, I don’t remember what about. Then we came across a subject for which we needed Medvedev, so we talked three-ways, interrupting each other. In the course of the conversation M.S. says: I asked Kruchina to calculate how much I cost our people. He counted that in 10 years I cost Moscow 100,000 rubles; while I gave back to the government 850,000 rubles, especially through the royalties from the book Perestroika i novoe myshlenie [Perestroika and the New Thinking]. And this is without the hard currency part of the royalties. Burlatsky published a filthy opus on his role in the politics of the 1950-70 in Novyi Mir. This is all from vanity. Our perestroika officials are so petty against the background of progress! Yakovlev is asking me to intercede with M.S. about publishing his articles and speeches. There is a great deal of personal relations between our politicians. (Maybe, this is good. For it is not based on a conspiracy against our own people, like it was in the ‘30s, ‘40s, ‘50s… all way up until 1985.) November 3, 1988. Politburo. Today is a historical day. After the planned Politburo, M.S. became more serious and, clearly nervous, he began to speak on the subject that he “tried out” during his main talk three days ago with Shevardnadze, Yakovlev, Falin, and Dobrynin. This was about of his trip to the UN in December. M.S: Cdes. Ryzhkov and Maslukov, as well as other colleagues, are asking me a question. This question is also in the letters that I am receiving. Very recently, at a meeting with young Comsomols I once again came across this question: they asked me, why do we need such a big army? People have 39

been troubled by this question for a long time. We approached this theme at the XIX party conference. In the report, in the theses, and in the resolution we said that we need quality, not quantity. Now the moment has come when we need to make a major decision. We are taking little steps, like the agreement to liquidate medium and short-range missiles [INF] and some other things. But that does not change the principal nature of the situation. E.A. comes across this every day… Today Shultz talked about it again. The military doctrine we announced differs from what we are actually doing in military building. If we publish how the matters stand, that we spend over twice as much as the US on military needs, if we let the scope of our expenses be known, all our new thinking and our new foreign policy will go to hell. Not one country in the world spend as much per capita on weapons as we do, except perhaps the developing nations that we are swamping with weapons and getting nothing in return. We said that we are ready to publish data and we are pushing the Americans on this account, but if it really comes to that, what are we going to do? But that is not the main thing. We will not solve the perestroika objectives if we leave the army as it is: the best scientific-technical forces, the best production funds, reliable supplies… The little-Comsomols are right, why do we need such a big army?! Six million people! Somebody told me that they are offering to lower the conscription age to 17. (Maslyukov inserts a comment: Yagodin came to me with this proposal, but I refused to sign it). What are we doing? We are depleting our intellectual resources of their best young forces! Who is going to conduct perestroika? (Yazov: by November 9th I will present a proposal on all these questions… M.S. probably gave him an assignment immediately after the conversation). In the GDR we have [stationed] a powerful group of armored forces, plus pontoon forces. When all this hangs over them, how can they believe that our doctrine is defensive?! There is also the question of reducing (for now reducing) our presence in socialist countries. Today E.A. [Shevardnadze] told me about his talk with Grosz. Right now the issue is not very acute. But it could become severe under a situation like the one in Hungary right now. And then we won’t be leaving voluntarily, we’ll be driven out of there…Dmitriy Timofeevich! (Marshall Yazov) They say your troops are standing on a territory that contains a historical monument of world importance? Yazov: The territory contains a famous church. A reconnaissance battalion and a medical battalion are station there, but we are already moving them. M.S. Thank God! At least the monument is safe! (Laughter) So comrades, we need to think through this issue and discuss it with our friends. I propose that the Defense Council considers everything. Then we will come back to this at the PB. Does anybody have any questions? (Everybody nods) Ryzhkov: (very tensely) I feel responsible to say that if we do not do this we will not achieve the XIII five-year-plan, and there can be no talk of a raise in the quality of life. Whatever government you place here, it will not resolve this problem [without reducing military spending]. M.S.: If we all agree and if we make some major decisions, then I plan to announce this in my speech at the UN. Everybody: Yes, yes… M.S.: This will make a great impression… after the agreement to liquidate middle and shortrange missiles, and after Afghanistan, this action… the world will see that is not empty talk, these are policies. We will advance the entire process. I would put it this way: with all the significance this has for the impression in the world and for the advancement of our policy of peace, the most important aspect is still perestroika. Nikolai Ivanovich (Ryzhkov) is right: we will not succeed with perestroika without this action. There is no question that we should be militarily powerful. But we should achieve our power through scientific advancement, through technology, through qualified cadres and modern organization 40

of our troops. Planes, missiles… but not like Karmal who sucks us dry but doesn’t produce results. We cannot be weak. This is the axiom. But we need to be powerful for security’s sake, not for the purposes of intimidation. M.S. also said that he is talking about unilateral reductions, not about the material that is going into the negotiations with the Americans and the mandate of Vienna meeting. This will be the evidence that I was present at an event that may well take the second place of importance after the April of 1985. Additionally, the PB discussed food supply to Moscow. On this count there was total mess and nonsense, both from Zaikov and Mesyats. We did not reach anything, even M.S. could not think of something. There was also talk of “Memorial…”15 Kapto already started “to act,” he wrote a denunciation. But M.S. took the following approach: it’s your own fault; you decided to create a memorial to the victims of Stalinism and once again nothing got done… So people decided to do it themselves, except now they have exceeded the limits… (Kapto is already charging it with the desire to become an “alternative political structure.” M.S. stifled that idea and said—study it!) We discussed Solzhenitsyn. Frolov, I, and Shakhnazarov write him (Gorbachev) a “protest” against Chebrikov and Medvedev’s note, which says that “we should uphold the decree that strips him of his citizenship as a traitor of the Motherland…” M.S. understood our point of view: yes, he is an enemy, irreconcilable and staunch. But he is an ideological enemy, and we do not try people for their beliefs in a legal state. So “think about it.” The authors of the note sat there, steaming. Chebrikov tried to interject that “he did betray…” (i.e. there was an action). M.S. just hemmed at that. November 9, 1988. Gorbachev called me very late at night yesterday. Said he could not reach anyone. “You family hasn’t disowned you yet?.. Well, since I reached you, let’s talk.” And he started to rapidly tell me what he would like to say to the people on TV on the ethnic question, Estonia is especially worrisome right now. He talked for forty minutes. Afterwards I tried to reproduce it for the stenographer and sent the copy to him. Today I learned from Shakhnazarov that this text is already on his desk, with an assignment to write an introduction. Before the holidays Shevardnadze sent M.S. an outraged note that the military are cheating the policy (as they did 10 years ago with the SS-20). They are creating new weapons systems, locating powerful troops near NATO, provoking the NATO people with their reconnaissance activities, etc. In a word, they are undermining the trust in the new thinking and the defense doctrine. M.S. erupted in an order: a make a report! Today this was the topic at the Defense Council. But the main subject was—what to say at the UN on the unilateral reduction of weapons and armed forces in Europe. Shatrov published a very good interview in Ogonek, it deals with “Leninism” and with Solzhenitsyn. In Izvestiya there was an interview with Glazunov (a popular artist). He really stripped for them. He’s a scoundrel and a bigot… I wonder how M.S. and R.M. took it, since he is a favorite of
15

A non-governmental organization formed in 1987. Memorial was established in order to find information and build a memorial to the victims of Stalinist repressions

41

theirs. And how does Ligachev look now, who opened Glazunov’s exhibition at the Youth House on Komsomol’sky Avenue this summer, and then got him TV, newspapers, and other publicity. Korolenko. Letter to Lunacharsky from 1920. This is in the vein of Shatrov’s thesis on removing the robes of holiness from our revolution… But if it ceases being a legend and heroism, why do we need it? It was more terrible than the French revolution. But 200 years after their revolution, they still keep it covered with blankets of romanticism, even the people ideologically opposed to it—the reactionaries! November 13, 1988. I spent the last few days preparing materials for M.S.’s trip to India. Of course, there were “initial” materials from the MFA, Kamentsev, and the International Department. But I am shocked by the level of these drafts, it’s as though the people were not reading Gorbachev’s speeches, as if they didn’t know his philosophy, his way of thinking and his manner of speech. What’s worse is that the MFA is handing us positions which do not agree with the official positions of the Politburo. Every day brings new information on almost every relevant issue. But the drafts they offer the General Secretary look as though they had been written months ago. Plus, the speeches they write are dozens of pages long, as though Brezhnev and Chernenko were still in their places and were going to read these texts “into the face” of their interlocutor. Every time I have to rework this crap into something decent so it’s not embarrassing to show it to M.S., who has very little time to “master” the material. And that’s exactly what he does, he masters the material before every foreign meeting. Friday in the afternoon after some internal meeting he calls me and says: “Tolya! We need an international piece for the speech in Orel (he is going there for two days, to promote perestroika in that part of Russia). What should we tell them? (It will be a meeting of the obkom secretaries). We started discussing it, and in the evening I sent him a text. But I did it like this: I called Veber and Ermonsky, told them what M.S. and I had come up with. Three hours later they sent me a text. In two hours I rewrote it and sent it to M.S. There is no reaction from him, which means he accepted it. He wants to talk about the material with which he will go to the UN and to Thatcher. Yesterday I presented the Indian materials. In Novyi Mir there is Lebedev’s article on our entertainment industry… The way things are moving, our public opinion (and press) will perceive, evaluate, and illuminated socialism in a Soviet state the same way as, for example, the mass media in England evaluates its own society. That is, not partisan, but “free” to think whatever it wants, rather than what is allowed. Today I was at the Manezh at an exhibition of young artists, dedicated to the 70th anniversary of All-union Leninist Young Communist League. All the art is professionally weak. But it presents such a powerful picture of the agitation of spirit in the country, the liberation of calling, talent, abilities, and preferences for creative energy! November 15, 1988. M.S. is back from Orel. He is happy, and why shouldn’t he be! He saw the first fruit of perestroika in the main criteria—in food, housing, in the villages. And what people! But the meeting with Medvedev, Slyunkov, and Chebrikov, who just came back from Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia, dumped three buckets of cold water on his good mood. As people say, all three of them were “horrified.” Daily and nightly they were picketed with slogans such as: “Russians get out of here!” “KGB, MIA [Ministry of Internal Affairs], Soviet army—to Moscow!” “Do away with the dictatorship from Moscow!” “Immediate withdrawal from the Union!” “Full Sovereignty!” etc. Fanaticism and hysteria have already obliterated reason. During talks the intelligentsia say one 42

thing, and at meetings—with the same Medvedev, Slyunkov, and Chebrikov present—they say the exact opposite. They have a full national consensus. Chebrikov tells about a beauty contest, where a girl in a bikini was asked what she would say to Chebrikov if she met him on the street... “otherwise he spends all his time hanging around here.” She hesitated, stroking her breast, and said: “Leave us alone!” In a word, Czechoslovakia of 1968 or Finland of 1918 is drawing near... M.S. has to make a decision. Both are very dangerous. But the first would be the death of perestroika and the new thinking. While Russian chauvinism plus conservatism in the second option can be withstood, if other oblasts follow Orel's example. November 27, 1988. M.S. televised at the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet, they were discussing Estonia. The speeches were shabby, he shouldn't have organized this public appearance. Our guys don't know how to lead “parliamentary debates.” They know how to criticize while acquiescing to what they think their assignment will be; even if the assignment is not given, as happens right now in the perestroika era. And M.S. couldn't find the arguments to convincingly show the unfoundedness of the Estonians. He went into economic calculations: how much we are giving the republic and how much it is giving us. But they don't need, and they never needed what we have been “giving” them for 40 years. As for the “isolation” of “subsistence farming,” this is really not a threat for them. As soon as they leave, the Finns, Swedes, Norwegians, Danes, the FRG and the US will take them under their wing and in a year and a half or two Estonia will turn into a “candy” sweeter than Finland. There is not way out except for renew the treaty between the republics, which really means to start from the same place as Lenin did when he spoke against Stalin's “autonomization.” For some reason I am sure that if we gave them complete freedom to choose, without imposing anything on them, they, as well as Latvia and Lithuania, would vote for the Union, but for independent existence within it. And that would be good! M.S. says himself that each republic should have the standard of living that it can earn for itself, as any self-supporting organization. No. I am too Russian to condemn the Estonians. On Friday Yakovlev stopped by. He told me about an episode that took place in the “Walnut Room” before the PB session. This PB was scheduled to discuss Estonia, amendments to the Constitution, the events in Azerbaijan where they are already burning the infantry combat vehicles, the armored carriers, and even tanks, military trucks. Three Russian soldiers were killed there. In Baku people are walking around with green flags and with Khomeini's portraits, calling for an all-round repetition of Sumgait for Armenians. So in this heated atmosphere Ligachev once again pushed his line: I said back in February that we should use force, restore order, show all of them! How long are we going to stand this? We've let it all go, everything is coming loose, the country is falling aparts, etc. At first, M.S. listened to him ironically, egging him on. But then he blew up: why are you always trying to scare me, Yegor?! Why do you always thrust it under my nose—“see what your perestroika is leading to! Where are we going! What is happening!” Well, I was and I will be for perestroika. I am not afraid of the things that are unfolding. If you (he addresses the members of the PB) think that we cannot go on like this, that I am doing something wrong, then please let's go to the next room (points to the PB conference room) and I will submit my resignation. On the spot, without a word of grievance or protest. Elect whomever you like and let him conduct affairs as he can. But while I am in this seat, I am conducting my line and I won't back down! ...The conversation ended there, and we went to the meeting. But E.K was not the instigator at the start of the conversation, it was Vorotnikov. Ligachev only joined in. In the evening after the Politburo M.S. summoned Yakovlev. He was upset, even though he cannot get “distracted” right now. In the morning he was at the National Economy Achievement 43

Exhibition—mechanization from the defense sector for agricultural purposes; then he had a meeting with Mitterrand, then a Presidium on Estonia and on the day before the session, then Mitterrand again, followed by the preparation of the Plenum report (which is tomorrow) and preparation for the sessions of the Supreme Soviet (December 29-31). M.S. and Yakovlev talked. Yakovlev said: I told you Mikhail Sergeyevich! A resentful person cannot be an adviser, especially if he is an opponent of perestroika at heart! It has only been a week since we returned from India, but it feels like it was months ago. He hasn't started preparing for the UN, Cuba, and Thatcher yet. Though, at a PB we did discuss unilateral reduction of armed forces (clearly not enough!), “human rights”--to release all political prisoners, write off the debt of third-world countries. The MFA an draft about these three points, the text is long and florid, in the style of Tolya Kovalyov and Petrovsky. E.A. approved it and it was sent to M.S. on Monday. As for the “philosophical” part of it—it is full of beautiful words, they want to substitute wordiness substance. Before the trip to India I asked Veber and Ermonsky to think about something. I told them of my intention to advance the new thinking through our ideological canons. They came up with some material. I built a text around that (including some specific topics proposed by the MFA). I like what I wrote, it is 27 pages. I sent it to him last night. I had been writing it all week, neglecting operational preparation for New York and London, and for this I got a dressing down from Raisa Maksimovna the other day. I barely restrained myself from saying a couple of strong words, which would ensure my retirement the next day. Her women's games, pretensions of a president's wife! Maybe they are wellfounded. But why me? There are entire departments in the MFA, in the embassies! Dozens of people whose job it is to do these things. And she is well aware of what my job is and how busy I am to delve into protocols! But her sense of tact must have atrophied together with the perception of real life. December 4, 1988. The day after tomorrow we are flying to New York (UN) – Cuba – London. The workload will be nightmarish—14 hour workdays with no weekends. The speech for the UN is 30 pages; M.S. read my draft the day before yesterday and yesterday I edited it according to his idea. He liked the text (the ideas and form), but he didn't like the structure... and I had to clean it of Yakovlev's additions, which M.S. had initially encouraged him to make. Now I have to make excuses with A.N. Even though I changed the additions, they still looked high-flown and created repetitions. What's new? 1) Advancement in new thinking, moving farther away from “Marxism-Leninsm;” 2) On human rights—release of political prisoners and “refuseniks” ["отказников"] 3) Writing off the third-world debt 4) Unilateral reduction of troops in the GDR, CzSSR, and the People's Republic of Hungary. There will be a sensation. Additionally, there are numerous drafts for his speeches in New York and materials (and references) for his talks, including the talks with Reagan and Bush. And all of this is either done by me or through me. Meanwhile, the Baltic states are storming; in Armenia and Azerbaijan there were around 50 murders this week; there is outright violence between the ethnic groups; there are 50,000 refugees, children are out in the cold, the houses and apartments are plundered, there are strikes everywhere, sabotage of public transportation, etc. M.S. led the session of the Supreme Soviet his way. He was once again magnificent. And every time after his impromptu additions to his speeches he called to “brag” that he won once again. (He said: to praise yourself is to give yourself moral support.) His workload is superhuman and it's hard to imagine how he manages. 44

He made major concessions to the Estonians and others like them, removing provocative (ambiguous) amendments to the Constitution and brought the situation with the republics out of the crisis by promising second-stage political reforms. And despite the fact that at the PB (and especially at the Plenum) nobody objected, the majority “purse their lips” and do not approve of his liberalism. They can sense that he is ready to go very far along the path of “federalization” of the Union. It's not for no reason that he leaves [.......] the most general concepts: the October Revolution, socialism, fidelity to Lenin's decisions. His idea is that in everything else we'll find a way to compromise. But he is often worried about the reaction of the Russian part of the empire. Several times in our one on one conversations he alluded to the fact that the “superpower” potential is rumbling menacingly. (I personally think that “united and indivisible” is not the main theme in Russian nationalism right now. The current nationalism is of the kind that says: all these Estonians and Armenians can go to hell!) It seems the people really don't care. It is the anti-perestroika crowd that is spreading the idea that M.S. is splitting the Soviet Union—our great achievement. M.S. asked me, and I found out that he asked Shakhnazarov and Yakovlev as well, whether the Balts really want to leave. I answered him: it looks like they do. And the matter is far along if the People's Artist of the USSR Via Artmane publicly speaks about the “40-year occupation of Latvia.” I don't know whether M.S. is playing dumb or whether he truly thinks so, but he responded that the countries would “perish” if they separate from the rest of the Union. The hijacking of a bus with 30 children in Ordzhenikidze, the flight to Tel-Aviv, the conduct of the Jews has been impeccable. The whole world will appreciate this. But our programs on TV haven't said a word of gratitude. This thing [antisemitism] is still somewhere in our system! Nina Berberova is published in October. What style and what precise information! This is because she is dealing with form of high artistic merit, writing about Gorky, Pasternak, Merezhovsky, Bunin, Romain Rolland and the entire Soviet “society” from that perspective. December 17, 1988. M.S. is sick. He caught a cold, or more likely some infection, in Armenia. He says the infection is “seeding” right now, he has chills and feels dizzy. He hasn't come to the CC in a week. Meanwhile, I can record what happened at the UN. We flew into New York on the 6th. The welcome was more than humble, it did not promise any triumph to come. To “have some fun” M.S. scheduled a meeting with our team (the so-called press group), which came in advance to prepare the Americans for Gorbachev's arrival. There was tea for 40 people, including everybody from Mark Zakharov to Lisovolik. Arbatov, Zorin, and Shishlin were showing off. Dobrynin's conversation was smart. Pozner was brief. M.S. seated Banionis, Vasiliev, Abduladze, and Mark Zakharov across the table from himself. Somebody was telling about a world-famous artist, a man from Lithuania who lived in Israel, who is pro-Soviet and wanted to write M.S.' portrait. He replied: when we start making portraits and handing out medals, it will be the end of perestroika. At this moment I was looking at Zakharov, who, as it turns out, said at a press conference the day before that the opponents of perestroika in the USSR are the majority. ...Zorin bragged about how he “washed off” this comment from the press-group. After the reception was over, M.S. left 10 people with him to go over the program for tomorrow. I could feel that he did not want “unnecessary” public speeches and interviews. In the morning I showed him a short and unintelligible telegram about the earthquake. Neither he, nor I gave it much thought. Then the UN... in the hallways groups of officials met him with applause... I was sure that the speech would make an impression. But I was expecting anything like this. For over an hour nobody stirred. And then the audience erupted in ovations, and they would not let 45

M.S. go for a long time. He even had to get up and bow as if he were on stage. Directly from there we went to Governor's island. There streets were still fairly empty... In the car he spoke on the telephone with Ryzhkov and found out that the earthquake in Armenia was terrible. December 21, 1988. America. I probably should not give too much detail, since it's all in the papers. But the Gorbachev phenomenon is truly the most critical movement in history... To discover its simple human meaning is possible already in our time (at least for us, but also for “them”). And it works out so simply—like an everyday thing—with him. In the airplane [on the way to New York] for example, he called me, Shevardnadze and Yakovlev, and started “digging” in phrases and paragraphs... it would seem like it's a regular thing. But he was “straightening out” a historic action. Or how he made the decision to cut short his trip because of Armenia. He called his advisers and the delegation—8 people after [Peréz] Cuéllar's reception. He was sitting in a shirt without a jacket, Raisa Maksimovna at his side. He asked for vodka and a full dinner. With the first glass he thanked everybody (but he gave me a meaningful look) for the help in preparing the speech. He already understood that it was bigger than a sensation... a triumph which did not die down even after the earthquake. Then he called Plekhanov (“9”) and said: “Tomorrow we are going home! Eduard Ambrosievich, please invite some correspondents and explain our reasons... You and you (to me and Shakh)--sent telegrams to Thatcher and Castro, telling them that we will not be visiting...” Then several times he came back to it, saying: “This is the right decision!... I can't do otherwise. I would never forgive myself!” Which means he had doubts and was seeking our support. This was also a historic decision. He still wasn't sure whether he would fly to Armenia when we were in the airplane on the way back. He came out of his room to join us. Talked about some things. But when we landed at Vnukovo, as soon as he met with the PB he made the decision. As he was saying goodbye he said “I have to go!” And this was a historic action, which was not overshadowed by the selfless Ryzhkov, who had been there for two weeks, seen his share of horrors and fixed things “with his own hands.” M.S. is still sick after Armenia. I am communicating with him through notes, reminders about telegrams and over the phone, when he calls me. I sent him the “outcomes of New York” for the Politburo (it will take place on 12.27), and then everyday some matters came up. − Bezymensky found in the GDR's MFA new facts about the protocol for August 23 of 1939. He wrote me a note that it's time to admit to things. − The note by Ukrainian seismologists, who had been predicting earthquakes for many years, and predicted the one in Armenia, which they presented at a seminar in Tomsk in June of 1988. − Yakovlev's speech in Perm with a very brave movement in the course of new thinking, with his commentary. − A note written together with Shakhnazarov about the countries with a “socialist orientation,” which are a millstone around our neck and which accept neither perestroika, not the new thinking. M.S. wrote “good” across the top and assigned us to prepare a conception for the PB at the end of April. − Note on Cuba, that we should not go there at all and that it's time to tell “the Beard” that aren't even thinking about it, and that it's time to stop being a revolutionary at the expense of 1/5 of the growth of the Soviet national income. M.S. reacted to this: “If I go there, it won't be before December” (clearly sarcastic!) − Ponomarev's vile request to leave him the dacha. − Because of my vacation M.S. assigned Dobrynin to prepare the material for the meeting with the “Trilateral Commission” (Nakasone, Giscard, Rockefeller, Kissinger, Brzezinski) on February 18th. But he called me right afterwards because he had doubts that Dobrynin will manage the task (“he's 46

forgotten how to think a long time ago”) and asked to add Zagliadin to this project, and for me to lead a “three-way” meeting for the three of us. − A schedule of his meetings and trips for the first half of 1988 [sic]. He leaves a minimum. But a lot will be added on later. I will oppose as much as I can: he can't turn into a constant interviewee [проходной собеседник], and everybody wants an interview with him. It became a status-symbol: what's your significance at home and in international politics if you haven't had a meeting with Gorbachev! − I protested against Razumovsky's and Boldin's imposing of “their” structure on the CC International Department (M.S. supported me in this). Some of my friends are telling me that people are railing against Gorbachev, and especially against Raisa. Nobody believes anything. This is coming form the academic circles. If that's the case, then our so-called intelligentsia is worthless. Some of this reaches M.S., especially about the empty shelves in the stores. This is reflected in the conversations about perestroika. On the third day after he got sick we had the following conversation on the phone. He asked me for what I thought about the reaction to the UN [speech]. I said something like “the very course of history” and that more and more people feel this. He said: “Yes, I am sure that I made the right choice (I understood that he was talking about the internal perestroika). If I felt that I made a mistake I would immediately submit my resignation. But I am sure that there is no other way, we chose the right way! But it's going to be so hard, Tolya!” I haven't noted another one of my undertakings. Under the impression the his success and “resounding fame” from the speech at the UN I once again thought that our educated public does not seem to notice the evolution in the “new thinking.” This evolution happens in almost every M.S.' major speech. People did not notice it in his appearance before the Polish intellectuals in Warsaw, etc. But the West German, English, French, and even American newspapers noticed that he is progressively moving away from Marxism-Leninism. And all ours can write about are the initiatives! I told Falin that we should assign Veber & Co. to write a big article for Kommunist in which they would trace the evolution of the new thinking after the XXVII congress. At the same time they should analyze how some have rushed to the “openings” that M.S. created, such as our scientists—the leaders in different scientific journals, first and foremost the MEMO, in the journal Rabochii klass i mezhdunarodnaia politika [The Working class and International Politics], and in the literary thick journals, in Yu. Afanas'ev's book, etc. In some places there is foolishness, but in others it's the real emancipation of thought. Falin tells me: I am all for it, but Medvedev is jealous about any encroachment on his sphere. “I'll take the responsibility for it” I said impudently and smugly. But seriously: while I can, I will take it on; during the era of glasnost' even the small steps become irreversible. December 31, 1988. It is the last day of a great and dramatic year. Truly, without fools and demagoguery, it is a turning-point year. Starting on the 24th of December I was supposed to be at a branch of Barvikha near Domodedovo. In reality I was there for only three days. Yakovlev called there, told me about the PB that discussed New York. He advised me to be “alert” to the possibility that the election method “from the party” might bring the gang of Bondarev, Ivanov, Alekseev, etc. to the Congress of Soviets. He sent me a philosophical congratulatory note and two bottles of Bulgarian [wine]. He is drawn towards me for some reason. Anya (my daughter) organized a return match for Ruby (member of the Italian parliament). He 47

came with his wife Vera, who is a former Soviet citizen. She is smart and sharp. In the age of Eurocommunism, here she was considered to be most maliciously anti-Soviet. Popov (translator from the Italian) was also here with his Natasha. We had an interesting conversation: talked about perestroika, about our recent past with PCICPSU, about Gorbachev, Berlinguer. I raised the question of what will happen to the world revolutionary process when we, the USSR, cease being a superpower? Indeed. Right now the West is euphoric about us because Gorbachev had the courage to refuse this status and remove “the Soviet threat.” But without this, in everything else, why would the developed West need us? What could be their interest in us, as compared to, say, Latin America or China? Curiosity? Yes... after all there are Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky, and others, on whom the world myths about us are built. A problem. It's ok if it's a world issue. But what if it's a provincial one, only ours? Ruby brought a request to meet with M.S. from Occhetto (General Secretary of PCI). I suggested this to M.S. before. He said: “It's not clear!” Now, after the conversation with Ruby, I wrote him a long note yesterday, suggesting January 13th. We'll see what he says. In the newspapers, journals, and TV there is total discord (on the outcomes of the year and regarding the New Year) of our entire 70 year-long system. None of the terminology is shunned anymore—down even to totalitarianism. The “kolkhoz and sovkhoz” have been declared to be a mistake “from the start.” Almost all the émigrés are now good, “and we, their Motherland, are guilty.” Now those émigrés are presented as our only wealth, our “spiritual potential,” which has mostly been scattered or destroyed over these 70 years. On the TV you now often see metropolitans and bishops, whom the participants of the conversation, including little boys and girls, are calling “my lord” [владыко]. Gavriil Popov (yesterday on TV) is right when he said that in 1989 nothing noticeable will happen in “the state of life,” even though new trends will appear. But it looks like this is his internal plan, or maybe an objective logic that Gorbachev started (and he does not want to resist it, even though he still says words of “restraint”), that the regime which was constructed over 70 years has to break down, only then our society will begin to rebuild itself anew, “out of the instinct of self-preservation.” And no dogmas of the past are accepted, even if they are “Lenin's!” Popov is right in term of the economy. But from the perspective of further disintegration of the regime, the year 1989 will bring major events. This is the “uncontrollable” tempo that has started! 1988. Outcome and Significance. The year 1988 became a turning-point, and not in the best direction. Gorbachev's stated intentions and his actions were not able to give perestroika stability. During this year Gorbachev formulated (of course, in continuation of previously outlined objectives) what we could call a strategy of changes and took some more-or-less decisive measures to ensure their irreversibility. His implacability in regard to attempts and demands from his colleagues to rein in glasnost' and to check the growth of groups and organizations independent from the CPSU helped to turn glasnost' into real freedom of speech. Gorbachev firmly and finally disassociated himself from the nostalgia for Stalinism and irrevocably condemned it, taking advantage of the “Nina Andreeva affair.” This position was most conclusively reflected in the spring, during his meetings with three groups of first secretaries of CPSU obkoms—the Generalship of the party. He prepared the XIX all-Union party conference according to him own plan, and started the real separation of the party from state power. In this context, he conducted a major re-organization of the central party apparatus and removed from the Politburo and 48

the CC Secretariat people who had been the inheritance of the Brezhnev era. The response to this was the formation of a “party” opposition to Gorbachev-style perestroika, his personal authority, and his power. Gorbachev did not serious measures to neutralize or suppress this opposition. He did not do it out of moral considerations and because it contradicted the principles of his reform ideas and his democratization purposes. But this left room for the destructive activities from the side of his opponents, as well as from his ultra-radical supporters. As a result, he did not succeed in replacing the power of the party with a civil government of the Soviets. During the trip to the Krasnoyarsk region, Gorbachev saw first hand that in the fourth year of perestroika there was nobody who could continuing the work. There were no cadres capable and sincerely devoted to carrying out fundamental reforms, or even working in a new way “under democratic conditions.” On top of this came the unexpectedly rapid growth of ethnic problems and contradictions. Gorbachev saw the danger in them already at that point, but he delayed forming a new national-federal policy (which, as the development of the events has shown, would still not have saved the country from dissolution). The mechanism of the State began to unravel. The year 1988 revealed the inadequacy of the initiated market reforms (and in essence their general impossibility in the USSR). The innovations Gorbachev initiated and the departure from the Soviet state-planned economy abruptly worsened the economic situation along with the psychological atmosphere in the country. In these circumstances the “pluralism of opinion” adopted by the intelligentsia and the offended apparatchiki enabled them to make use of the mass dissatisfaction with the policy of perestroika and the nature of Gorbachev's leadership. In turn, this provided the impetus to turn the criticism of the “deformation of socialism” and “deviation from Lenin” into a total debunking of Marxism-Leninism as an ideology and a theory, and the rejection of a socialist regime in general. But the year 1988 is also a critical point at which Gorbachev himself movies away from Marxist-Leninist approaches to the evaluation of the domestic, and especially the international situation. The brightest, and one could say historical, event in this sense is his speech at the UN General Assembly. The policy of “new thinking” was confirmed in practice by the withdrawal (even though belated) form Afghanistan. The decision to move out the troops in itself was a significant event. No less significant was the lengthy discussion of the “Afghan question,” which was absolutely uncharacteristic for the Soviet leadership. It meant that everywhere from now on, in principle the expansionist element was removed from the USSR's international operations. From the records in this volume we can see that the author continues to admire Gorbachev's historical deed, even as he believes less and less in the possibility of his plan's success. In the relationship between the adviser and his hero, what becomes evident is the author's different evaluation of Gorbachev's great statesmanship, and his personal ability to resist the temptation of power in everyday life and in his relations with people. If we rightfully speak about the tragic nature of Gorbachev's fate (in the grand, Shakespearean sense), it is during 1988 that not only his adviser, but Gorbachev himself felt this tragedy. For many, the sign from above of this tragic nature was the terrible earthquake in Armenia, which seemed to close the year. Translated by Anna Melyakova and edited by Svetlana Savranskaya for the National Security Archive

49

1989 January 1, 1989. The New Year has come. M.S.’1 speech was rather boring. The most important thing is that he did not make any sweet promises; but he could have given a more interesting analysis of the year. There was an open letter to Gorbachev from Ulyanov, Baklanov, Gelman, Klimov, Sagdeev, and Granin in the Moskovskie Novosti [Moscow News]. It is a new genre. We already know about the letters to Stalin, Dear Nikita Sergeyevich and Leonid Ilyich. But this letter has a position and voices demands. By the way, they remind him that back in the day, anybody at any leadership position who conducted the Party line sloppily, against personal convictions, and strained to make the bare minimum effort would be removed, if not shot. During the perestroika, however, we allow the vast majority to operate like this.

January 15, 1989. Today the list of candidates for the CPSU People’s Deputies was published in newspapers. My last name is on the list. It was a great surprise to me to see my name among the “suggestions” that were handed out at registration to the CC Plenum participants. I am the only one of the General Secretary’s assistants who is among that hundred of guaranteed candidates. People noticed this. Moreover, I am the only one from the CC apparatus. This is a present from M.S., an encouragement, a recognition… or whatever it is. In essence, how can I fulfill this position? I have neither an electorate, nor a constituency to whom I would be responsible, nor a platform for my voters. In practice, a deputy’s responsibilities coincide with the responsibilities of a passive CC member or even of a regular communist. But M.S. imparts it with significance. He congratulated me twice. While I was in his office he was telling Raisa Maksimovna2 on the phone that “we made Anatoly Sergeyevich a candidate today… Here he is standing in front of me.” It did not even occur to me to thank him and I sincerely do not understand why I need this. I do not feel anything about this except for a vague discomfort, which is amplified by the sense that “100” Plenum-appointed deputies is a vestige of the past, and my appointment even more so. I was called back from my vacation and for several days I applied all my strength and energy to the treatise for M.S.’ meeting with the trilateral commission (Kissinger, Giscard, Nakasone, Rockefeller), 40 pages plus references. I like it. I wonder how he will use this…

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Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev 1

Recently I had an almost two-hour one-on-one discussion with M.S. He clearly wanted to just chat. He asks me: “Have you read Solzhenitsyn’s Lenin in Zurich?” “No!” “I just read it. It’s very powerful. Spiteful, but talented.” What he did afterwards is impossible to convey on paper. He walked around his office, stopped, gesticulated, sat in a chair, stooped and hunched over, portraying Solzhenitsyn’s Lenin. “Forty-seven years old… and still nothing is accomplished! He was nervous, bilious… He split with everyone. Did not allow anyone close to him. Inessa… Listen, his true love is depicted… from the year 1908 until 1920. Not a joke! Remember Ulyanov in Shatrov’s And Farther, Farther? as he clings to her bosom? Then it seemed like blasphemy. But now I read it… What to make of it? It’s human… It’s possible to show any hero or great man as a regular person… But this is not a caricature. You recognize Lenin…” “Even though,” (here I interrupted) “you can show the same thing in a positive or a negative light.” “Yes, yes,” M.S. agreed. “It turns out that something we understood to be textbook truth could be shown from another angle. And it would not be lying. It is a powerful work! But Lenin is portrayed as a destroyer… And alone against all.” M.S. “portrayed” him for a long time, he was emotional and artistic. It was clear that it has touched him deeply. I later tried to analyze this. Here is what I think. Even before, he did not iconize Lenin while he admired him, appealed to him and kept him handy. He saw Lenin’s main attribute in the fact that he was ready to disregard every dogma for the sake of the mission, for the sake of the real, concrete revolution. Now he saw another one of Lenin’s qualities: his disregard for Russia. It was merely the same kind of testing ground for “the mission” as Germany, the USA (where, out of desperation, Lenin was considering to move) and Switzerland, where in 1916 he was trying to stir up a revolution among his Swiss assistants, not taking into account the absurdity of the very idea of a revolution on Switzerland. It was not an accident that M.S. brought up the speculations about Lenin’s Jewish ancestors that started spreading at one point (and Shaginyan3 “in her innocence” took up this matter).
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Raisa Maksimovna Gorbacheva Marietta Shaginyan, prominent Soviet writer. 2

Solzhenitsyn writes that Lenin was only a quarter Russian! “When I found out about this,” M.S. said, “I requested all this ‘data’ and hid it away under a secure lock. It has a very strong impact on people…” Several times he repeated the fact that “he was only a quarter Russian” and started to think about Lenin’s Jewish-Swedish and Kalmyk bloodlines. It looks like herein lies his lenience toward Belov, Astaf’ev, Alekseev, Rasputin, Proskurin, and Bondarev, these rigid Black Hundredists.4 They “root for” the Russian muzhik and are appalled at the ruin of the Russian people and Russia. (And they know Solzhenitsyn by heart!) From here stems the blame they are laying on Stalin’s dispossession of the kulaks, the mass terror of the civil war, the massacre of the Antonovtsy5 and the Kronstadt6. They cite Trotsky, Sverdlov and other “Jews”… and they have raised a tail at Lenin! M.S. is constantly oscillating between the class nature of the October Revolution and “Russia.” A recent episode: in the list of candidates for the People’s Deputies that was sent around the PB [Politburo] there were over 300 names. The PB chose 100. Among the three hundred were both Baklanov and Bondarev. M.S. is benevolent towards Baklanov and wanted to keep him in the 100. (Yakovlev told me this as I was on vacation. And, it seems, the matter was decided in the “chestnut room.”) But he was warned: during the secret ballot at the CC Plenum Baklanov would not make it. At that point M.S. removed Baklanov and Bondarev. Yesterday I stopped by Yakovlev’s. M.S. ordered us to make a schedule of his visits to foreign countries for the year 1989 (this is a separate issue). A[lexander].N[ikolayevich Yakovlev].: Yesterday I stayed on after you and Ivan (Frolov) left after meeting with M.S. He said to me: “Oh, those gossipers… They have it coming. I’m going to deal with them during elections.” I: Whom did he have in mind? A.N.: Who do you think? Everybody knows, his “closest” colleagues! At the same time he left “the 100” up to a secret ballot. After all, not only Zaikov or Yakovlev could have been hit, but M.S. himself. Sixty to seventy percent of the Plenum consists of people against perestroika and those who have a bone to pick. On Friday evening Yakovlev, Frolov, and I had a discussion with M.S. about his schedule. He started by reading us a ciphered telegram from the KGB in Prague: they hate with a passion your
The Black Hundreds was a conservative pro-monarchy and ultra-nationalist movement in Russia active in the first decade of the 20th century. 5 Participants of a 1919-1921 peasant rebellion, also known as the Tambov rebellion, against the confiscation of grain by the Bolshevik authorities. 6 Participants of the 1921 Kronstadt rebellion against the Bolsheviks. 3
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perestroika and the whole group who took power in 1968 and was treated nicely by Brezhnev & Co. They forecast total chaos and failure for us. And Jakes is a milksop (First Secretary of the CzCP CC). Recently he visited Castro, who railed against our perestroika, calling it the betrayal of Marxism-Leninism, of revolution, socialism, “friends;” opportunism and revisionism of the worst kind… He said that Marxism-Leninism has its last sanctuary in Cuba, and that they will follow this path to the end. (I wonder how, if we cut off the 5 billion [rubles] per year in support?) M.S. raised the question of whether he should go to Cuba (the visit scheduled for immediately after the UN did not take place because of the earthquake in Armenia). I gave a “speech” along the lines of: “The Beard” [Fidel Castro] wasted the revolution and now he is ruining the country, which is spiraling towards a total mess. It’s true that he will not stop in his demagoguery about orthodox Marxism-Leninism and going “to the end;” since this is the last thing he can use to preserve his “revolutionary halo.” But this halo is already a myth… Nobody reckons with Cuba in South America, it is no longer setting any kind of example. The Cuban factor has waned. A break in relations? But we are not the ones who are causing it. It Castro breaks it, then it will not be like the Chinese scenario. Quite the opposite--he is only going to harm himself. We will only win, and save 5 billion doing it. Are people going to grumble about this? Yes, some will: the dogmatists and dissenters from the “revolutionary camp” and the Communist Parties that are becoming extinct, whose time has passed. Your visit could delay the break. But it will not change anything, because we cannot give them 10, 20 billion, which is what they want from us. Since we cannot provide, it means that we are revisionists and traitors, in a conspiracy with imperialism. … In general, in politics it is best not to put something off in hopes that it will figure itself out, when it is clear that this is objectively impossible. This is what happened with Afghanistan: a year and a half ago it was clear that the outcome will be exactly what it is right now. But we waited, wasting billions of rubles, thousands of Afghan lives and hundreds of the lives of our boys. Why?! At this point M.S. really became angry… Frolov started to echo him, referring to Metropolitan Pitirim (an acquaintance of his) who “teaches us to be patient.” Quite a joke! M.S.: “You are wrong, Anatoly. I should go to Cuba. We cannot afford to open another front against us, you see what is happening in Czechoslovakia! And what about Romania, Kim Il-sung, and Honecker!” I continued to grumble, but he counted the dates and set February 29 for his visit to Cuba.
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January 20, 1989. M.S. brilliantly conducted the “Trilateral Commission” meeting, he practically did not use my notes. On the evening before, on the 17th, he asked me to stay after a meeting with the advisers and again (as he alternated between gesticulating and moving around the office and sitting in front of me on the back of a reclining chair) expounded his idea for the new book about the year 1988--the turning point year. At the meeting he stated his intention to have a “personal” election campaign (Ukraine, Moscow State University, Zvyozdnyi Gorodok7--about the Scientific-Technical Revolution) and divided up assignments to prepare his speeches. To return to the “Trilateral Commission.” He interpreted the idea of coexistence as the adaptation of capitalism and socialism to each other, not only as a realistic approach to international politics at the state level. This is something new! During these days the following episode took place. Yakovlev called me and asked whether I had seen the special folder with Shevardnadze’s proposal after his trip to Afghanistan. I: “No.” A.N.: “You should request to see it… I don’t know what to do. Do I again have to go against E.[duard] A[mvrosiyevich Shevardnadze] and M.S.? I’ve already had my ears boxed a couple of times… But my conscience is heavy.” I: “Why?” A.N.: “You see, Najibullah proposed a plan for us to send a brigade (3000-5000) from Turkestan to break the Kandahar blockade and secure the passage of caravans with weapons…” I: “Is E.A. crazy, or does he not understand that Najibullah is setting a trap so we can’t leave, in order to cause us to clash with the Americans and with the rest of the world? Or is he so weakwilled that he cannot stand up against his requests? A.N.: “I don’t even know what to do…” I: “Sasha, we need to tell M.S. We have to prevent one more crime! This would take even more of our boys’ lives… for a lost cause. For whom and for what? We came to the same point we knew we would come to a year ago, even a year and a half! Najibullah (and in essence we are saving his skin, since the regime cannot be saved) is not worth even ten of our boys, and it looks like this operation would take the lives of a hundred, if not more.”

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A closed military training facility in the Moscow Oblast, where Soviet cosmonauts were trained since the 1960s. 5

As soon as we finished the conversation I received some papers from the top--the Special Folder. I immediately wrote a note to M.S. along the lines of “What are we doing?! In terms of casualties as well as the hopelessness of the situation? We are withdrawing and Najibullah is not worth violating the Geneva agreements.” And I added, “It looks like E.A. either succumbed to emotions, or he was personally tied up with Najibullah and decided to deal with dozens more of our boys’ lives.” I sent the note right away. A couple minutes later M.S. called me, I don’t even remember regarding what particular question. I did not know the answer, so he connected Yakovlev to the conversation. The issue was quickly resolved and Sashka8 said: “Mikhail Sergeyevich, I can’t bring myself to initial the document regarding the 56th storm brigade.” M.S.: “What brigade?” I interrupt: “Mikhail Sergeyevich, I just wrote you a note about this. It is inconceivable to agree with this action.” M.S.: “Hold on, hold on. What brigade are you speaking about?” Yakovlev and I vied with each other in explaining that E.A. send a Special Folder around the PB, in which he agrees with Najibullah’s plan… M.S.: “He was telling me something, asking for permission to send it around, but there was no word of a brigade…” He connected Shevardnadze to the intercom and right away a Yakovlev-ShevardnadzeChernyaev argument broke out. M.S. listened to us and made comments, which were more and more in my and Yakvolev’s favor. From Shevardnadze’s side we heard childish prattling, and he increasingly blamed the military men. I interrupted him rather rudely, saying that the military provided technical implementation for a political plan that you agreed with. And this plan goes against all our policies and general common sense, not to speak of the sacrifice you are condemning our boys to once again. E.A. got angry: “You were not there! Do you know what we’ve done there in 10 years?!” I: “Why would we want to aggravate our crimes? What’s the logic? We will not save Najibullah in any case…” E.A.: “He says that if he lasts one year after our withdrawal, he will last for a long time…” I: “And you believe that? Based on that you are ready to throw our men into battle and break

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The familiar version of the name Alexander 6

the word we gave in Geneva?!” M.S. Started to break up the argument and reasoned with me, saying that we should not create the impression of running away, “the third world” is watching us closely, etc. M.S.: “Alright. I am disconnecting you for now. I will speak with Kabul (Kryuchkov is there).” [He called Moiseyev, the Head of the General Staff, but he was not in his office. When Moiseyev got back he called me. I explained to him why the General Secretary was looking for him. We exchanged opinions and I understood that the new head of the General Staff is against this venture.] The next day M.S. said nothing to me and Yakovlev. E.A. left for Vienna. M.S. led the “Trilateral Commission” and then had a Defense Council meeting until late at night. Today I read a ciphered telegram from Kabul: Kryuchkov, Zaikov, and Vorontsov report directly to M.S. that “a method to help Kandahar without a storm brigade was found.” So that’s that. It’s likely that E.A. will see this as a slap in his face. And it serves him right! If he is such a humanist in Vienna and the UN he should think twice when “asked” to sacrifice human lives. Oh, it is so deeply ingrained in our consciousness that politicians have the “right” to decide such questions without a second thought! M.S. already said that I will be going with him to Georgia (to Pitsunda) on February 25, for two weeks. He said we’ll think about the new book in our spare time.

January 21, 1989. I notified M.S. (in written form, as he is at the Moscow conference) that the editorial board of “Pravda” condemned their editor-in-chief Afanasiev for his personal action of printing the authors Alekseev, Belov, Proskurin & Co. in defense of Bondarev. Astafiev stated that his signature was affixed without his knowledge! A denunciation that is handy for perestroika! Sakharov, Bonner & Co. presented a thorough report of their visit to Armenia. I asked them to forward it to M.S.

January 22, 1989. I read Lenin in Zurich for myself. What can one say, the author is fairly objective, if you consider his hatred for Lenin’s mission. Lenin’s personality is recognizable. It is another matter that many of the “Bolshevist values” are now devalued. Subsequent experience has turned them into their opposites, according to universal human values.
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February 19, 1989. Yesterday I wrote a note for M.S. on the state of ideology (impressed by his meeting with the working class on February 14, and Pravda’s editorial on the meeting’s outcome). I criticized the Department of Ideology, Medvedev as well as Frolov. But later I removed the part about Frolov because it will look like a denunciation, even though his behavior of late is unbearable. Then M.S. dictated three or four times the main ideas for the agrarian plenum. He is pretty determined, especially in light of the latest tricks from Ligachev (in Kharkov) about consolidating kolkhozes and sovkhozes9--to spite the General Secretary. Later, he was happy about a little thing: I took a trip to Moscow for a few hours (on the 6th) to pick up my notebooks with the PB session records and started preparing material for the book “Perestroika: The Test of Life.” He came up with that title. Initially he wanted to title his second book “1988: The Turning-point Year.” I took up the idea and sent it to Serebryanyi Bor ahead of Veber, Ermonsky & Co. Tomorrow I will join them and by the end of the month we should have the foundation of the book. At Pitsunda M.S. got worked up because of Sakharov (as the result of an interview in Figaro). I tried to tell him that he should not make a persistent problem out of Sakharov… but he lashed out at me, and angrily… He dictated to Izvestiya how to put Sakharov in his place. But in the end, he was on the losing end, even though nobody knows that he started this. He is impressionable, impulsive. It is not permissible in his position. A similar episode took place with one American senior official, who chased his secretary around the desk, after which the Senate did not want to appoint him. This guy had also said something like “we need to pressure Gorbachev.” M.S. made me incorporate a rebuke to him into the Kiev speech. I objected, but he insisted. Only in Moscow I persuaded him to remove this passage: it is not appropriate at his level to enter into arguments with various anti-soviets. If Bush had changed his policies, it would be a different matter. I read a great deal during my evenings at Pitsunda. There is such a wealth of thought and talent in Russia when there is freedom! This in itself is a great victory which will enter the annals of history, even if perestroika itself does not work out. M.S. thinks about this. He does not rule out the possibility of failure, even though he is very passionate about his work. His speech at the meeting with the workers was at the level of our Great Revolution. His oratory skill is equal to Lenin’s. But who stands next to him! Everybody can see this [inadequacy]. At the meeting, one Moscow milling-machine operator openly said: “What is

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Kolkhoz is a collective farm; a sovkhoz is a state farm. 8

happening, Mikhail Sergeyevich! You are carrying the entire burden, the successes and the failures of perestroika. What about the others? Are they going to lie low until we read in the newspapers that due to old age and ailing health [you can no longer hold office]…” The presidium of the meeting was quite embarrassed. M.S. blushed, but found a way out of the situation. In print, this episode was only alluded to with the words: “the workers asked some really tough questions.” Yesterday I spent the whole day at work. I edited M.S.’ dictation for the book’s introduction, made a few more entries. I heard that Najibullah called him and asked to restore the air-bridge to Kabul and send weapons, and to conduct bombing air raids from Soviet territory. I don’t know what M.S. promised him. Later I heard from the MFA that he assigned Varennikov to “delve into the question.” The MFA (Ivanov, E.A.’s adviser) asked me how to the write the paper. I told them that it is their business. But I, as the General Secretary’s adviser, will resolutely protest this matter.

March 8, 1989. I spent most of this week at Serebryanyi Bor. Yesterday we almost finished “Perestroika: The Test of Life.” Gorbachev’s second book is composed 95 percent of his own words, phrases, and thoughts expressed at the PB, one on one with me, in narrow circles and at closed meetings. Here he “bares himself” almost completely. And if he does not remove the most charged and colorful parts, this book will make an even bigger impression in the world than the first one. My team was composed of Veber, Ermonsky, Antyasov, Ivanchenko, and, for a few days, Ambartsumov. Also three women. The operational procedure was as follows: I dictate from my notebooks (I had already dictated a great deal at Pitsunda), together we divide the material into themes, each person edits his section for consistency and literariness (I watched carefully that they do not slip into using their own words or stylize too much). Then I finalize the order, come up with marginalia and subheadings, edit the entire piece, mostly reproducing his manner in places where they guys hesitated to do it. It is already 400 pages. Yesterday I spent some time on the conclusion. I think we will finish tomorrow. A colleague from the Department of Party Organizational Work called. He asked me if I was planning to make any speeches, since they are summing up the results of the CPSU candidates’ participation in election campaigns, and according to their records I have not made any appearances. I said that I was not planning on it. He replied that in this case, it might have to be mentioned at the Plenum. I am probably the only one. I did not even assign authorized representatives for myself. I do not want to succumb to these formalities. I see my candidacy as a “reward” from Gorbachev
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personally and I don’t want to play Deputy, because it would be absurd in my position. On March 2 there was a PB in preparation for the Plenum on agrarian issues. The invited members of the CC Agrarian Commission (about 40 people) made M.S. furious (led by Nikonov and Ligachev). He gave a fight to the “kolkhozniki.” Ryzhkov got personal against Ligachev and Nikonov. The situation was on the brink of scandal or a split. M.S. twice asked the “rhetorical question:” maybe we should cancel the Plenum completely, maybe we are not ready for new agrarian policies?

March 11, 1989. Today I finished working on the greeting that will be videotaped for the XVIII Congress of the Italian Communist Party. It turned out beautifully… in my opinion. All these days M.S. has been at Novo-Ogarevo with Yakovlev, Medvedev, and Boldin, preparing the report for the agrarian Plenum (after that PB). I read it today. It is powerful. But the historical part--saying goodbye to the past and to collectivization--is stronger than the part on the new agrarian policy. The substance is not lacking, it is revolutionary. But the expression is weak: wordiness, lack of intensity. The kind of intensity that is present in the historical part, which he practically dictated to us himself, and started back in Pitsunda. In the second part you feel the gibberish of ready-made apparatus phrases. Tomorrow he is holding a PB to hear comments on his text. I tried to dissuade him, why does he need this? He has observed the formalities, the PB on March 2nd already discussed the Plenum draft and framework of the report. All he has to do is prepare the report “taking the discussion into consideration.” Why should he sit through more groaning… and agreement through clenched teeth? “No!” he said, “later they will say that I operated single-handedly…” Well, he does as he sees fit. He called me this morning. He personally compares the significance of this Plenum to the discussions of 1927-28, when “the choice was being made”… I think he is right. Also, Najibullah is crying out for help. He’s saying that Jalalabad is under siege and will fall any minute, opening the road to Kabul. He is demanding that we conduct bombing air-raids from the Soviet territory. (Bombing air-raids!) Otherwise, he says, any day now everything will collapse. The humanist and liberal Shevardnadze is supporting Najibullah very strongly and with Georgian-style passion, and he is pulling Kryuchkov and Yazov after him. Although Yazov is holding a general’s position, along the lines of: there is no sense in these bombing air-raids from a
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military point of view, we will not be able to conceal them from the world, but if there is a political decision--I’m a military man! In response to two panicky telegrams from Kabul, last night M.S. held a PB in NovoOgarevo at 6 o‘clock. I was not invited, it was a narrow circle. I am recording it from Yakovlev’s “colorful” description. First M.S. asked Yazov to speak. The latter stated the above mentioned position without enthusiasm. Then E.A. started to furiously argue that “we cannot act otherwise, it would be a betrayal, we promised, we are forsaking our friends… what will the third word say, Mengistu… if Najibullah can last two more months he might be able to stay for good,” etc. Kryuchkov supported him (in about 75 percent). “Who else wants to speak?” M.S. asked. Silence… Chebrikov got up, started talking, mostly in the right direction, and buying time, trying to guess what the General Secretary is thinking (A.N.’s evaluation). Afterwards there again was silence. M.S. asked Yakovlev if he wanted to speak. According to A.N., he did not mince his words. “From a military point of view it is a waste of time. Moreover, where is that army of 200,000 plus the [national] guard and the rest that Najibullah, as well as Shevardnadze and Kryuchkov, told us about? I’ve forgotten the war (A.N. is a veteran) but I remember that a ratio of one to three is enough for defense. So what do we have? The Mujahedeen have 15,000 and where is the regime’s army? They don’t want to fight… So why should we again put our boys forward for this lost cause? The Pakistanis can shoot down our planes from F-16s without leaving their airspace.” E.A. threw out a comment that Pakistan is brazenly violating the Geneva agreements. A.N.: “But we are not Pakistan. It took us so much work to win international confidence and we are beginning to reach something as a result of New Thinking. Are we going to flush it down the drain by this single action? And for what?! Our people are just beginning to slowly recover from Afghanistan. We greeted [General] Gromov at the border together with the last soldiers who fought on Afghan soil… and what are we doing?! To top it off, this is the middle of an election campaign. Or do we not give a damn about our public opinion, about our people?!” M.S.: “Anybody else?” Slyunkov: “I completely support what Alexander Nikolayevich has said.” Nikonov spoke in more general terms, but also against the air-raids. Medvedev spoke calmly, but repeated Yakovlev’s arguments.
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Maslyukov--the same. He provided some technical arguments why the air-raids would be pointless from a military aspect. Ryzhkov was not there, he is in Siberia. Ligachev is in Prague. Finally, M.S. spoke. He was all red and angry: “I am totally against all these bombing airraids or anything like them. And while I am General Secretary I will not allow anyone to trample on the word we gave before the whole world. Did we not know what we were doing when we decided to withdraw troops? Were we certain that Najibullah would be able to stay? Or did we count on it, even for ourselves, as a condition for what we signed in Geneva?” Etc. Yakovlev said that he cannot coherently convey all the arguments M.S. gave because it was an emotional explosion, from which followed that there can be no other answer to Najibullah except a total rejection of the air-raids. This was immediately sent to Kabul. Today I was already reading Najibullah’s lamentations to Vorontsov. Besides saying that he will not leave Kabul and will die there, etc., he said in a lower timbre that if the regime crashes it would be a hit to Gorbachev’s prestige, once again--what will the third world say. But most importantly: if you (Russians) had not come in then, in 1979, the matter would have been resolved quickly. One of the sides would have won, and there might have been a hundred casualties. But you did come in, and the Afghan problem became international. We are not the only ones responsible, you share the burden. And now you are washing your hands of us. He is right. But why should our nation and the entire new management of our country pay for something that was done 10 years ago by Gromyko, Ustinov, and Andropov? Boldin called right now, he is reminding me that I am the only CPSU Deputy candidate who has not made any speeches and that a question might be raised at the Plenum. I don’t care. The book “Perestroika: The Test of Life” is completed. 400 pages. I sent it to M.S. on March 9th. He has not said anything. Of course, he does not have time to devote to the book right now; but we should publish it before the Congress of Soviets. Plus, the year it is devoted to is receding… New events are coming up and taking over. The dacha in Serebryanyi Bor is closed.

April 3, 1989. The plane to London did not leave on schedule because of a severe thunderstorm. I returned home. In issue No. 5 of The Communist I read an article by a certain Panarin, titled “Dialectics of Humanism.” This is the rejection of Marxism-Leninism as an ideology! The seeds of M.S.’ New Thinking have grown deep and are already bearing their own fruit. I should make M.S. read this
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article carefully. I have not been recording some very important things because of fatigue. This last week I’ve been feeling particularly unwell. Yakovlev on his conversation with M.S. regarding Zaikov’s and Yeltsin’s “provocations”… I also had a conversation with M.S. about this when I was working through materials for England. M.S.: “He is a good person, honest, concerned, not looking out for his personal interests… but it is not his thing!” I: “He is not a politician.” M.S.: “Not only that. One can become a politician. But there has to be a foundation… a vessel. The contents will come with experience, but the vessel comes from God. Take me, for example. Have I changed much since childhood? Not really. In essence I am the same as I always was…” Shakhnazarov spoke with him, saying that it is time to get a new team. “Look at us,” he said, “me, Chernyaev, others. We’ve spent our entire lives writing; we might have been able to get something done if we had been given access to the decision-making process in due time. Mikhail Sergeyevich, don’t let the moment pass. Get fresh forces, there are plenty of them. Anatoly and I are getting old, we have only a little bit of time left, it is too late to make ‘politicians’ out of us.” He has a conversation with Grosz (Hungarian General Secretary) left; which in its own right, in essence, is the end of the Brezhnev doctrine. Grosz said: “I will disband the PB and let the people choose a new one, the kind that the country needs.” Shakhnazarov jokingly suggested that we should follow his example… M.S. objected, saying that we cannot do that with the present CC. This Central Committee will not produce the necessary Politburo. The Western and our press are all saying in unison: Gorbachev consciously “set up” the party bureaucracy to take a hit from the voters. By the way, Solovyov was overtly saying this at the PB on election outcomes. He said that the Leningrad party members are complaining that the CC left them to their own devices. Ligachev also supported this “idea” in his speech, during which he incidentally let it be understood that he considers Gorbachev’s agrarian policy “a statement,” rather than a workable proposal. It is unlikely that M.S. was consciously trying to show “who’s who.” But he gave a strong rebuke to Lukyanov at the PB when the latter tried to rally people in support of those who lost the elections. “They,” M.S. spoke bluntly, “are going to sit in their chairs and treat people like scum--we are still getting letters that show us how they deal with people who come to the regional committees
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and executive committees… They do nothing to sort out the problem of food supply… Meanwhile the CC is supposed to support and defend them! This will not happen! Let them draw conclusions from the elections. And let them work better…” M.S. hinted to me and Yakovlev that he is also planning to “draw conclusions” from the elections… especially regarding Moscow and Leningrad. Yesterday when we were seeing Gorbachev off at the airport there was a serious clash between some PB members--at some distance from the foreign ambassadors, who were watching the scene in surprise. The main issue was between Gorbachev and Zaikov. You could see that it was a very heated conversation. When the airplane was taxiing to take off, I found myself in a group with Ryzhkov, Slyunkov, Zaikov, Birukova, and Lukyanov. The Premier was practically shouting at Zaikov for the state he has allowed Moscow to fall into; from his corner, Slyunkov was also adding steam. Zaikov was losing his temper… Overall it looked quite curious! The country’s high-level executives quarrelling over the fact that in one dairy shop you can find only milk, in the other only cream, in the third only kefir. Cabbage rots at open-air markets while you can’t find any of it in stores. I could not follow the conversation very closely. It was clearly a continuation of what had started while M.S. was here. But Nikolai Ivanovich [Ryzhkov] kept repeating like a refrain: you and Ligachev can offer whatever you want. I am going to oppose it, because it is a dead end, a disaster.

April 16, 1989. From April 3rd through the 7th I was in London, my favorite city. For some reason not a single other foreign trip has left such an impression on me as London. It is my fifth time, and I still feel the same. About Gorbachev’s visit itself. The result can be seen in the brochure for Politizdat (on the visit to Great Britain) which I finished editing yesterday, filling in the spaces between the texts of M.S.’ and Thatcher’s speeches. The journalists who were supposed to deliver the reports did a shoddy job… And all their banalities and simply fabricated material, lies, were printed in our newspapers. On the most important: the Madam was magnificent. For three hours I sat across from her in the room where the negotiations with M.S. were conducted. She was aiming to carry him away in conversation. He sensed that and was “playing” the role of a man “who creates an impression.” Publicly Thatcher was liberal with the highest praises and excellent appraisals. She did this confidently, defiant of her own establishment and of other Western leaders, and Bush. She was
14

playing to public policy, to history, to herself. If M.S. succeeds in his plans, then she will be remembered for this. Her “cunning” runs in the channel of New Thinking, which he proposed himself: Russia has no other option left. It has to become like everybody else. If this happens, then the October and Stalin syndromes will disappear from world politics. The world will truly be completely different. I am convinced that she sincerely wishes the best for us. Her pride and ambition coincide with her feminine and human impulse. M.S. is playing careful. Mostly, he is afraid of our people. In the airplane on the way back he said: she does it that way, and we this way (i.e. with reserve)… He looked at me and said: Anatoly disagrees (present were Shevardnadze, Yakovlev, Kamentsev, Frolov and Raisa Maksimovna). I said that of course I disagree. Firstly, it is unfair not to react to kindness. She is doing us good: she raised the plank of perestroika and your prestige so high that Kohl, Mitterrand, and even Bush urgently need to learn how to high-jump. She practically cancelled the wave of negativism that started to roll over our perestroika. You mentioned this wave yourself, maybe even too much. Secondly, she is influencing public policy from our position, i.e. she is doing what you yourself would like to do through your New Thinking. Her position on Namibia is eloquent testimony to that. Nobody helps you to change the international situation so forthrightly. Why should you pretend that you do not appreciate it? Besides, she is a woman… and it is wrong to think of her as a man in a skirt. Her character, even her political manner is feminine. And she is an Englishwoman… If she opens herself so sincerely and is not reciprocated, the pride factor will kick in… and we will lose a great deal. There was an episode at the embassy while we were finishing up work on M.S.’ Guildhall speech. Everybody who came to the residence after the official lunch at Downing street was present (Shevardnadze, Yakovlev, Kamentsev, Falin, Kovalyov, Akhromeev). I first snapped at Kamentsev, who was dabbling in something he does not understand, then at Kovalyev, and finally at Yakovlev, which caused a mini-shock. M.S. diffused the situation, saying: pluralism is in action here, too. It was fine in the end, and, as it turned out, A.N. was right to demand that we take out three polemic pages that would have been inappropriate for the enthusiastic (there is no other word for it) audience of the British establishment in Guildhall. On the airplane I admitted my mistake and asked A.N. to forgive me. He took it in a friendly way. M.S.’ meeting with Vogel is one more step toward liquidating the ICM.10

10

International Communist Movement 15

Recently M.S. read a synopsis of a book by the French author Lilly Marcou titled “Gorbachev’s Challenge.” For 20 minutes on the phone he was in rapture about how she understood him better that his own country has, better than some people in his circle. She has revealed intentions he has had all along. He said he hasn’t seen anything deeper or more insightful (from the dozen or so books on this subject). Let’s write her back. And immediately he started dictating the text; albeit removing the part about “intentions” that she revealed. This is regarding the intentions. When he got back from London two “presents” were waiting for him: the sinking of one of our newest submarines, and the bloody events in Georgia. Well, the submarine is “in the natural order of things” considering our disorderliness and, sadly (!) M.S.’ own inconsistency. If he said “A” (at the UN) he should say “B,” not play around like this. Georgia--this is fate; more precisely a sign from fate. If this Christian nation, beloved by Russians, with whom we have lived on the best of terms for 200 years, with whom we fought together and truly respected each other, if they want to leave the USSR, then what does this mean? This is not the Baltics, where everything is clear. That means there are two choices: occupation, which would mean an “empire” again, or a confederation type of federation. The end-of-June Plenum should decide that. For now M.S. is not ready for such a step, and I don’t know whether he is personally not ready or if he thinks that “they will not let him.” But he decided to empty the CC of 83 elderly (and such) members on April 25. About 5 people know about this right now… This move will have an enormous moral impact (it is not a question of this dead weight being able to stall any initiative or even “abolish” M.S.--they are not capable of that anymore). The point is that he will show who is in charge of the situation. In a month he will become “President.” Then it will be time to start following those intentions: to make Russia a normal country, even if not quite so centralized. My personal affairs. I feel that I am getting worn out. The workload is not lightening. But I think I am still managing it. I feel like there is a certain element of uncertainty in the relationship with M.S. Maybe it is because he is used to me that there is no sign of “recognition of services.” I have never been vain, which I remember I wrote in my war diary in 1943. But nothing else is left by way of motivation. I earn less than a miner or a bus driver. He is still confidential with me. Sometimes he says unexpected things, for example about the Georgian leadership, “which wet its pants and set the troops against the people.” They cannot imagine another kind of leadership, he said. However, after expressing his sympathies about the women who died in the clash, he immediately said: “Every cloud has a silver lining!” It is a mystery
16

to me what he meant. He has more self-confidence, but at the same time he does not lose his healthy sober-ironic approach to things. For example, about ciphered telegrams. “I know their worth,” he said, “they see what they are supposed to do (in the sense that the KGB writes about policing problems, the diplomats about their own ambitions, the army men about their concerns) and they do not analyze the whole picture, it is as though they want to intimidate us. Well, to each his own. It serves its own purpose--so we here in Moscow keep our eyes open and don’t sleep.” By the way, Ligachev was not at the PB and there was a totally different atmosphere. Yakovlev and I were talking about it: it is not that people are afraid of him; it is just unpleasant to say what you think openly and sincerely when you see in front of you a person who considers you a traitor and an enemy. The dismantling of Leninism, or at least Marxism-Leninism, has unfurled at full speed since Tsipko’s famous articles (he is an adviser at the CC International Department, by the way). Only Lenin’s period from 1921-23 is steadily withstanding [scrutiny]. Under Diligensky’s leadership, the journal “World Economics and International Relations” is systematically and openly demolishing the theory of imperialism and the orthodox revolutionary process. Now Primakov and Martynov’s book is also adding to the process, it has gotten high reviews in Pravda the other day. M.S. does not have the time to seriously follow this process, but when he finally looks around, he will see that the playing field is completely clear for the “new theory” or for a complete rejection of theory in the ideological sense.

April 23, 1989. A week has passed, marked by a PB session, which discussed Shevardnadze’s report on his “business trip” to Georgia and the April 9th events in Tbilisi. In general, wherever you look… the country is in torment. The country is unwell. And glasnost is like a sick person’s feverish delirium. As of yet, there are no signs of improvement… What Georgia reminded us about, the address of the people’s Deputies from the Baltic states formulated in words: Russia must cease being an empire. Then what, and how, should it become? Who can lead it into another state (in this sense)? Nedelya published material by Voronskoy (a famous literary critic and the editor of an influential journal in the 1920s, a Trotskyite, was repressed). Ogonyok printed Radek’ and Trotsky’s articles on Lenin, and earlier it had an article by Bukharin about Lenin. You read all of this, written during Lenin’s lifetime, and in every line you recognize Gorbachev… except he is a notch lower
17

(the level of education is not the same), but his mentality, his spirit, the methodology of political action, the principle is the same as theirs--everything stems from life. If theory does not correspond to life, then so much the worse for the theory. They are similar in ethical habits, in the way they treat people. It is amazing! After all, Gorbachev is not trying act like Lenin, this is his own nature!

April 30, 1989. The CC Plenum was truly unprecedented. CC member Gellert, a German woman from Kazakhstan who is a tractor operator, described what her colleagues were talking about before the Plenum: “they are planning to overthrow Gorbachev. What should we do?” At the Plenum itself people’s tongues were loose. The local bosses sensed (after the elections) that it’s time to mobilize. Their speeches were impudent, unduly familiar, even contained some offensive allusions to M.S. He immediately found his bearings and ordered that every single word of the proceedings be published, so people can see who stands for what! But he did not really put up a fight, even though he did not back down on any issue, including the mass media, regarding which he wavers. No one of his real supporters entered into polemics straight off. Why? I think for these reasons: a) They have no experience… b) They were oppressed by the negative “facts” which the other side wielded… c) They could not be sure that they would get unequivocal support from M.S. Yesterday he said that the speeches sounded somehow “coordinated,” as if they spoke from notes and repeated the same thing… Immediately after the Plenum he called me. He was curious how I saw it. I told him that “Nina Andreyeva” ran the show and that even if these people support perestroika, their level of awareness is not above Nina’s, and naturally there will be no perestroika with such cadres heading the oblast’ committees [obkoms]. He railed against a number of people (Bobovik, Melnikov from Komi) but he was not trying to show off. He even said: well, should we follow the example of Egorychev11 in 1967--he was gone the next day! I think it would do some good. People would understand--if we are waging a revolution then democratic measures are not always appropriate.
11

M.S. is referring to a CC Plenum episode during the Brezhnev era. First Secretary of the Moscow City Committee, Egorychev, under an impression from the Arab-Israeli war, ventured to give a careful criticism of the state of Moscow’s anti-aircraft defense. He was immediately removed from his position. [Footnote in the original] 18

Afterwards I wrote him a “treatise” on the Plenum. He used some of it on Thursday for the PB on the Plenum’s outcomes. My specific proposals are: to reduce the CC to 100 members; to do away with the “representative” principle; to raise the intellectual level of the CC, moving it closer to Lenin’s model from 1918-22. And I suggested that something has to be done with the Leningrad organization, with Solovyov. The PB was indecisive because people are afraid to appear to be ignoring criticism from below, especially from the CC. Which means that they were under the pressure of the same negative outcomes as the Plenum members had been, these perestroika men. Shevardnadze came close to exposing the “[Nina] Andreyeva” nature of the Plenum. Yakovlev and Medvedev were very careful. Others (even Ryzhkov) generally took the “spontaneous” course of self-criticism, saying that we need to draw serious conclusions… and they came down hard on the mass media and neo-dissidents. So the only positive result of the Plenum was the removal of the “old men,” the retirees. This is positive not because they were a hindrance to perestroika--they are already beyond politics and (despite unjustified fears) matters could not have come to a vote of no confidence for removing the PB. The positive is in the signal it sends: M.S. has the power to do the same against active opponents if they go against his policies. Last night (on Saturday) he called Ryzhkov, Yakovlev, Medvedev, Maslyukov, Boldin, Lukyanov and the advisers to meet in order to make decisions about preparations for the Congress of People’s Deputies. The neo-dissidents on Trubnaya Square have already stated their time-frame and program, the gist of which is presented in G. Popov’s article in Ogonyok. It is clearly juxtaposed to the “apparatus” time-frame and Lukyanov’s projects, which, admittedly, have some gaps. The most important objective of the meeting was to decide what should be said in the leader of the country’s address. The discussion lasted for 6 hours. One entire hour was consumed by Frolov’s smug idle talk. Nevertheless, M.S. referred to him the most, even attributed some of my ideas to him. Here at work is the magic of the title of Academician (provincialism), plus the fact that he is Raisa Maksimovna’s favorite. M.S.’ attitude towards Shakhnazarov, who has already done a great deal to prepare the report, was user-ironic. I think two factors are playing into this: M.S. doesn’t like the fact that Shakh[nazarov] keeps offering options similar to what is in Ogonyok and in Moskovskie novosti [Moscow news]; but most importantly, Shakh has not been too polite in responding to “requests” and “suggestions” from R.M. Alas! I think this is the reason M.S. made Shakhnazarov partner up with Ostroumov, who will be working on socialist countries. Thus, a very difficult month is ahead of us, especially since on the 5th there is a meeting with
19

[Sosuke] Uno from Japan and then Baker.

May 2, 1989. I am finishing reading Marienhof’s Cynics. Magnificent prose. We lost so much after Socialist Realism did away with such writers, dozens like him. My main impression is that back then, talented and perceptive people could see, they knew that nothing would come of socialism in Russia. It was not without reason that Lenin exiled all the Berdyaevs and Shestovs abroad… Although by doing that he also ended Marxism, because around 1920-23 he realized that the kind of Marxism that started the Revolution could not exist in Russia, and something new was needed, like the true Leninism of 1923. However, the party did not understand and accept this and tried to quickly cover it up with glorification and a cult image. Overall I am anxious and troubled. I feel a sense of crisis of the Gorbachev period. He is ready to go far, but what does that mean? His favorite word is unpredictability. What is most likely is a breakdown of the country and something akin to chaos. He cannot go far because he feels like he has lost the levers of power… completely. He is holding on to the familiar methods, but in velvet gloves. There is no conception of what we are moving toward. The invocations of “socialist values” and “the ideals of October”… as soon as he starts reciting them they sound ironic in knowing ears--there is no substance behind them. Now the “socialist security.” What do we have now, when 22 million people earn less than 60 rubles?! And so forth. He is fighting off demagogues who are destroying our “values” unaware (or aware) of the fact that this will bring us back to what we walked away from in 1917, i.e. capitalism. In reality, we did not walk away, or rather--we walked into nowhere and now we don’t know what kind of society we live in. At that meeting with M.S. (April 29) we discussed Yemelyanov. We gave M.S. a record of what Yemelyanov, who is a professor at Moscow State University, was telling his students when he was already a Deputy. Specifically, he said that perestroika is already four years old, it is clearly a failure and its leaders have run out of steam. M.S.: “So what should we do with him?” Medvedev, Lukyanov, Yakovlev: Work with him… When I was coming back from dacha yesterday (May 1) in the car on radio Mayak I heard an interview with Yemelyanov (on the occasion of May 1). Here is almost literally what he said: “Perestroika is truly a revolution. But it is a textbook truth of Marxism-Leninism that a revolution raises the question of power. The same now: there will be talk about power at the Congress of People’s Deputies. We know that the ruling elite never voluntarily gives up its power, which means
20

that we have to take it. This is what the Congress is for.” So people like Yemelyanov, G. Popov and such will be taking the power from Gorbachev. But since it is true that he will not give it up voluntarily, they will create an obstruction--he will have to use force…and here we go again: another dissolution of the Constituent Assembly?12

May 9, 1989. On May 7th I was preparing materials for M.S.’ meeting with Baker. Naturally, I did not use the instructions and drafts from the MFA, which are so outdated they could have been used a year ago for Shultz-Reagan. The absence of an imagination and the bureaucratic inertia is simply staggering. They have no comprehension or philosophy of the current situation. M.S. had appeared to get ready to meet with journalists to “talk” about his personal life. When he finished the meeting with Uno from Japan he asked me and Shevardnadze to stay for a consultation. He mentioned that rumors are multiplying, R.M. is upset, he has nothing to hide and is ready to speak openly about everything. I suggested that he should do this after the Congress, when he becomes President. It would look more natural. If he does it right now, it will look like ingratiation with the philistine public opinion. Neither he nor E.A. agreed with me. He was preparing to go ahead, but then… he did not invite the journalists. I don’t know, maybe he remembered my advice and changed his mind. On the 3rd there was a meeting in Mossovet13 with the Deputies. [Gorbachev] once again charmed… the Gdlyan issue. Scum. There is already a poster on Arbat: “Yeltsin, Georgia, Gdlyan… who’s next?” On the 8th I wrote the international section for M.S. for the Congress. It was difficult, everything seems to have been said already. I decided to use a polemic against the CC Plenum (Bobovikov & Co.).

May 13, 1989. Baker was here the day before yesterday. The American idea is that we, the USSR, have nowhere to go, the situation is moving toward collapse, therefore the Secretary of State came empty handed… M.S. outshone him on all counts. He dealt a blow to NATO’s sore point… Let them figure it out. After all, New Thinking is already working in the sense that it is clear that nobody is going to

12

A reference to the events of 1918, in which the Bolsheviks took power in the government. 21

attack us and we can conduct our work with perestroika and reduce the army as much as we want, reduce the military-industrial complex, withdraw from Eastern Europe… Gorbachev has unraveled everywhere the irreversible processes of “collapse” which had been held in place or covered up by: - the arms race; - fear of war; - myths about the ICM, about the “socialist commonwealth,” the “worldwide revolutionary process,” and “proletarian internationalism.” … Socialism is disappearing in Eastern Europe. … Communist parties are falling apart in Western Europe, where they did not manage to get a foothold as even the smallest national power… Everything that has been long-ripe in reality has now spilled over onto the surface and taken its natural form… And it turned out that nothing was like what was imagined and portrayed. But the most important is the dissolution of myths and unnatural life-forms of our society: - the economy is falling apart; - the image of socialism is disintegrating; there is no ideology proper; - the federation, the empire, is collapsing. - the Party is crumbling, having lost its position of the ruling and, overall, repressive, punishing force; - the leadership is shaky to a critical point… And no alternative leadership has formed yet… The first sprouts of chaos have come up, since no one is capable of enforcing the grave laws intended to maintain discipline; and our people can be accustomed to order only through force. The main focus before the Congress is the nationalities question. The day before yesterday the PB was examining the situation in the Baltic states. Six members of the PB presented a note after all the committees and dispatches. The note is progrom-like, panicky: everything is collapsing, the people’s fronts are taking power. In this atmosphere the three First Secretaries Vaino, Brazauskas, and Vargis were criticized. But they did not allow themselves to be torn apart. They held a dignified manner and shot back with irrefutable arguments. I sat and worried about what M.S. would do. Once again he came up several grades above his colleagues (I later “complimented” him and admired his closing speech).

13

Moscow City Soviet 22

The main ideas were: - We have to trust the First Secretaries. It could not be otherwise. - We cannot identify the popular fronts, which have the support of 90 percent of the population in the republics, with extremists. We need to communicate with them. - If we announce referendums then no one, not even Lithuania, will leave. - We must involve the popular front leaders into national and government leadership, give them positions where they can show how good they are connecting words and deeds. - Overall we need to think as hard as we can on how to practically transform the federation. Otherwise, it really will fall apart. - The use of force is out of the question. If we eliminated it in foreign policy then so much the more we have to eliminate it with our own people. - We need to elevate the level of analysis of the processes. In this regard, we need to improve the Document of “the six.” We have to be more careful with all kinds of “qualifications” and “labels.” This is the nationalities question. - State planning should not assume a mentoring position. Do the utmost to meet them halfway. - Etc. And the second thing… the Leningrad reelections are tomorrow. For several days 34 candidates from one district where the March 26 elections fell through, shone on the Leningrad TVs with flaming demagoguery. It was like a competition in who will surpass in abusing the local and Moscow leadership. One worker had the following to say. (Oh! This myth about the working class!) - Gorbachev is lying to us. - Let us do away with the 750 Deputies from the CPSU and social organizations for the Congress. Let us give these places to the workers. - The working class has never been so exploited as during perestroika. - How much longer are we going to see empty store shelves?! It’s a mockery! - The working class has not seen any democracy. The bureaucrats rule everything, and they have kept their privileges. - The working class is ready to take to the streets with weapons. - Do away with the Moscow mafia! And more of the same. Nobody objected. Nobody stopped this man or corrected him, including the TV-show host. There are suspicions that this has been purposefully organized against Gorbachev in revenge for
23

March 26 (since he betrayed the apparatus he can have a taste of his own glasnost medicine). M.S. says to Jaruzelski that one should not be afraid or get mad at the people (this is in regard to the April Plenum). But who is--the people? Who is speaking in the name of the people? For now it is the mob, and the Leningrad worker was a representative. Today somebody on TV recalled the words of the anarchist prince Kropotkin: freedom is not democratic, it is aristocratic. How deep this is!

May 21, 1989. The Plenum is tomorrow. I found out from Ivan (Frolov) about M.S.’ comment: “we need to go farther, farther”… (he must have remembered Shatrov). Judging by the gravity with which it was said, Ivan decided that he was referring to “firing” someone else from the PB. The Congress is in a few days. I am uneasy. Baglai wrote rightly in Izvestiya that we are behaving as if we have 100 years of stable democracy behind us, which can easily process any extremism, etc. What are we doing? On TV there was a broadcast of an anti-Semitic meeting headed by Yevseev and an “interview” with five drunk anti-Semites from Pamyat’, who declared that Jews have come to power with the PB’s help: Shatrov, Baklanov, Pozner, Zakharov, Borovik, Korotich. And the “response” was an ironic reaction from the young TV journalists who conducted the interview, who, by the way, offered to have a discussion between the six named Jews and their interviewees. Pryakhin, who called himself a worker Deputy candidate, at a meeting with constituents declared on TV for the entire Soviet Union to hear that Gorbachev is lying to the people with his programs, which carry no trace of real bread or meat. There was a decision to put Gdlyan and Ivanov in their place. TV is broadcasting the “universal indignation of the people.” But at the same time a meeting is scheduled in Moscow, organized by a “strike committee” in defense of Gdlyan. They not only accused Ligachev, Solomentsev, and Romanov of corruption (in front of the entire Soviet Union), but also hinted at Gorbachev. Today in Luzhniki 100,000 people are gathering at a meeting organized by Memorial and the People’s front of Moscow. Formally it is in support of perestroika. But what form might it take? Yesterday Karyakin visited me (he is currently the chairman of Memorial). He said that he does not exclude the possibility that the meeting might demand the resolution (from the Deputies, there are going to be around 40 present) to nominate Yeltsin for presidency.
24

I asked him about the chances of this happening. He said: “Why not… they might accept and put forward a proposal at the Congress… you never know.” I: “But this would be the ruin of all our work…” Karyakin: “We will fight… Yeltsin and Sakharov went to Tbilisi. Now they are spreading rumors that not only Chebrikov, Yazov, and Ligachev are to blame for the ‘bloody Sunday’ but also Gorbachev…” I: “Stop sticking these allegations on him, he was not even in Moscow.” I explained to Karyakin what really happened. He said: “I believe you, but…” and he made a gesture in reference to the rest of the people. So, matters are pretty gloomy. Yesterday and the day before M.S. called me a couple times. He has come to himself after the trip to China. He sounds cheerful and confident… he made jokes. I asked him if he planned to expound his report at the Congress. M.S.: “Definitely not! They will start up the nonsense again, like at the April Plenum… This time at the Plenum we will only have the procedural’ Congress issues.” Nobody except the PB members know whom he is moving into the key posts in the Supreme Soviet (the speakers, the committee leaders, etc). At this point, there is no certainty that these nominations will go through… In fact, there is no guarantee that the Congress order designed by Lukyanov will be adopted. And it is very doubtful that Ryzhkov will be Premier. It is difficult for me to say whether it would be good or bad if people like Gavrila Popov or Shmelev would take key positions. But if I were M.S. I would not try to resist: let them demonstrate whether their word can turn into action. We are not getting much from the familiar and controllable officials in Lukyanov’s and Chebrikov-Pavlov’s Departments. This was demonstrated by last months’ notorious laws, which were blamed for everything. One can see the PB’s incompetence. Sometimes I get ashamed sitting and listening to the discussion. M.S. rises high above everyone else, but he cannot go deeply into everything… He cannot organize the preparation of all drafts in every detail, considering all aspects. Lukyanov is a good official, he is competent, but he is covering his totalitarian ideology with faithfulness to the law. And for now he is the one writing the laws; the drafts, at least. M.S.’ speech in Peking before scholars and public officials is another step in New Thinking. Unlike the UN speech, the world has not yet taken notice of this one, of its essence. (He wrote it with Shakhnazarov).
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Medvedev (the team-leader in preparing M.S.’ speech for the Congress) is keeping me in suspense about my international section. I took his main suggestions into consideration (to distance New Thinking from the principals of foreign policy, so as not to force the Parliament to confirm philosophy). What after that? Darkness… Yakovlev did not get involved. He said it appeared to be suitable. However, if it they take out the polemic implications against the April Plenum--these morons who applauded Bebel--the international section “will not resound.” I finally finished reading Marienhof’s book. The wisdom of high prose: a fusion content (the epoch) and form, free of any tinsel and external emotions, and consequently starkly impressive. Towards evening I walked to the Kremlin to register my Deputy status. I ran into Vaino Valjas in the stairwell. I commended him on his courage and his speech at the PB. He asked me to tell M.S. that he will support the Union to the end, to the “last second.” The procedure [of registering] is simple. They gave me 400 rubles. I saw yesterday on TV that an American congressman has 18 employees and a budget of 670,000 dollars per year. But even if I had that much, what would I do, what could I do? I cannot imagine myself in the role of a Deputy. Maybe I am just tired; plus, I was never made for active public work. I always avoided it… Because I did not know how. I am a private person. My place in politics is “behind the scenes.” I wrote for M.S. a scorching response-commentary to the nationalities question theses that were prepared in Chebrikov’s team as a platform for discussion before the end-of-July Plenum on nationalities issues. This is based on the principle: change without changing. I don’t know how he will react. By the way, we need to finally speak openly about Russia’s and the Russian people’s special role in the Union; we need to frankly explain why a Russian basis predominates in the life and political processes of the country. And whoever does not want to stay with the Russians can “get lost”… At the same time, the Russians need to bear their burden adequately, on the level of internationalist respect. … How much chauvinist narrow-mindedness is still left in us! Not pride, as here: We understand all--the sharp Gallic wit, As well’s the gloomy Germanic genius.14 We need a people of high culture to carry the burden of the Russian person in the Union, the federation. Not ideology, but culture. There are portraits of Nikolai II on Arbat. For the second time, Ogonyok is publishing large articles on the execution in Yekaterinburg. On TV there are photos (and very interesting ones) of the

14

Aleksandr Blok, “The Scythians.” 26

coronation in 1896. That is all to say: the October is an episode in Russian history and that is exactly how we should treat it… Now we go to France. M.S.’ speech at the Sorbonne. Zagladin composed an analogy between 1789-1917. No! This is outdated! Even his refined and educated mind does not sense the era and Gorbachev’s intentions. I found the same in the Bessmertnykh’s (Shevardnadze’s first deputy) corrections in the text of the international section for the Congress--it is the MFA’s understanding of New Thinking (only as a concept, not a new philosophy that rejects ideology). When I was putting away yet another diary notebook I decided to leaf through some of my old diaries, from 40 years ago… immediately after the war: my God! I managed to read so much serious, completely un-Marxist, very philosophical literature! I wrote down a ton of excerpts. This was at the peak of the cult of personality, and it seems I totally did not care about it deep inside. I lived separately from the external ideological environment. Neither before, nor during, nor after the war did the cult of Stalinism make an imprint on my spiritual development. Curiously enough, I developed the dullness of mind and consciousness after the XX Congress, during Khrushchev’s retreat from the Congress and my work for the CC Department of Sciences--work that was stultifying and degrading to my spirit. But then there was the journal Problems of Peace and Socialism [PPS],15 which saved me. And while I am not inclined to share in the enthusiasm about A.M. Rumyantsev (I always thought he was a bit dull and ignorant) he did play a role in my life. He remembered about me after his appointment as editor-in-chief of PPS and invited me to come to Prague from the CC, and Kirillin (head of the Department of Sciences) was glad to let me go. When M.S. says that we are all children of our time (in the sense that we all need to scrape the past off ourselves)… and he enlists me in that company, I do not join. After all, I lived primarily by the rules of Russian intelligentsia. I never hated the Whites; I never considered anyone, including Trotsky, “an enemy of the people;” I never admired Stalin and always noted his spiritual poverty; I never professed the official, i.e. Stalin’s, version of Marxism-Leninism. I remember my behavior at the lectures on historical materialism and dialectical materialism at Moscow State University, when I put Koval’zon and Kelle into awkward situations by asking them questions to which they knew the answers, but could not utter them. I could see that they agreed, but they tried to train me. If God had given me a more capable mind and a more disciplined personality I might have been able to leave something behind… Then again--what could I leave? Zagladin, for example, has written a combined total of

15

World Marxist Review in its English-language version. 27

probably over a thousand printed pages. But who needs them? Will anyone ever read them? I am glad I stopped publishing my pieces in the 1970s. Not only because I am lazy, but also because I could not write in a way that would not make me ashamed later in life. Remembering what I wrote in the 1960s, I would agree with professor Yerusalismky that my article in the journal New and Contemporary History, written immediately upon returning from Prague, was the most outstanding and honest. Professor Yerusalimsky said that it quadrupled the circulation of that issue. I recall my report at the academic conference at the International Department. It was published in a collection with a tiny printing run (for those days) of 3000 copies in 1968. Burlatsy called me then and said: you are lucky, Tolya, to be sitting behind the thick walls of the CC CPSU. We, mere mortals, would get our Party ticket revoked for this kind of article. So, Mikhail Sergeyevich, we are not all children of our times. Some of us are children of the XIX century. And if I go to the very root of it, I owe this to my mother, one of the former generation. M.S. ended up not calling me to Volynskoe-2, where he, Yakovlev, and Medvedev were finishing up the Congress report today. I am particularly worried about my international section, although M.S. should not yield anything substantial from his New Thinking.

May 28, 1989. What did the three days of Congress show? First and foremost that the PB is isolated from the affairs of state, which arise through the work of the Congress. At the Congress itself, Ligachev & Co. sat in a corner where the apparatchiks would normally sit. They looked like observers and were the target for angry, malicious mockery. Gorbachev is isolated from the Party leadership and in a sense he is separated from it. The “grey masses” (as defined by Yu. Afanas’ev) is an aggressively-submissive majority that strongly confines the “intellectuals,” but at the same time managed to push back Yeltsin. Suleimenov (a Kazakh poet) used the following true image in his speech: the more you row with the left oar, the more the boat will drift to the right. He carefully noted a serious danger. The PB could ask M.S.-where did you bring us?! Isn’t it time for you to clear off? And without you, we will restrain this public (the intellectuals) in no time. Both the grey masses and the intellectuals reject M.S.’ internal policies, especially the economic aspect. The former because of the empty shelves in stores and the cooperative prices, the latter because of its incompetence. Afanas’ev & Co. are typical Mensheviks, who wallow in their intellectual superiority over
28

the grey masses and the leadership, including Gorbachev. They impudently demonstrate this. And I think they will lose, just like their predecessors in 1917. They do not take into account that we (and they!) have the kind of people that we do… But who will play the role of the Bolsheviks? Who will say: there is such a Party! Who will want to take power? The provincials, who are showing energy and willingness to speak out, and most importantly--hatred of Moscow in general? Who will be the Kornilovtsy? Ligachev, Voroshilov & Co.? Gorbachev is handling the matter at the limit of what is possible. But even he cannot overcome the consequences of his trust in the apparatus methods in preparing and conducting the Congress. He is leaning toward “the familiar,” as Nikita (Khrushchev) had done once, though he has a larger coefficient of intelligence. M.S. is making one mistake after another in tactics. His improvisations are not always successful. The decision to start a discussion on Afanas’ev was probably advantageous, but the discussion itself revealed, among other things, that he is beginning to lose the edge of intellectual superiority over the audience. The attempt to craftily slip Lukyanov into the position of First Deputy Chairman of the Supreme Soviet, and at the same time in an open vote--that was a discrediting failure. He also underestimated the possible repercussions of Karabakh, Tbilisi and the Gdlyan affair. Once again he relied on old methods, decided that nobody would dare to blame him. On the one hand, he underestimate the moral potential of people like Zaslavksiy and Starovoitova, who would burn at the stake for truth; on the other hand the dishonorableness of people like Afanas’ev, Popov & Co., whom he personally brought to the forefront, and who were the first to attack him. I think Yeltsin is history. It looks like in this case he did most of the work himself--his imbecility became more evident at the meetings and at the Congress. Possibly the people who were creating a myth and using his imbecility realized that they won’t get very far with him once real work and responsibility become necessary. M.S.’ “dacha Achilles” heel has revealed itself. I had expressed my bewilderment about it on these pages back in September.16 If he wants to have something befitting a president of a superpower, then he should behave like a president, i.e. with a growing accent on authoritarianism. Only then would the people shut up and recognize his right to live in palace. If he continues to play the democrat along the lines of “I am the same as everybody else,” then the “dacha” will discredit

16

Referring to my surprise and dislike when I saw the palace in “Zarya” (Foros, Crimea). [Footnote in the original] 29

him and weaken his authority. (Under “dacha” I mean all of Raisa Maksimovna’s regalia and ambitions.) The failure with Lukyanov, which could easily happen, could start a chain reaction that would lead to the collapse of the PB as such, as body that is effectively heard in the regions and departments. Ryzhkov’s position is at risk. Is M.S. thinking of alternatives? If the Congress rejects Lukyanov and Ryzhkov, they will not allow Maslyukov as a Premier, nor even Shakhnazarov to replace Lukyanov. Then again, why not Shakh. Albakin should be made Premier. In general, though, all of this is terribly strange--to watch such familiar sources of authority fall apart. Is M.S. himself ready for this? After all, on the eve of the Congress he again convened the obkom secretaries and instructed them, gave them to understand that they are the foundation. But this foundation was skinned at the Soviet of Nationalities polls, only three obkom secretaries made it in. If this is not a sign for the party apparatus! Their choices are either to leave, or to bristle up, their time is running out at the speed of a mountain torrent. Today Gorbachev is at Volynskoe-2. Together with him are Maslyukov, Boldin, and Yakovlev. Once again they are discussing the economy, most likely influenced by what was said at the Congress. He probably has not even looked at my international section. The subject of international relations has been largely unmentioned at the Congress. It is too bad that he keeps only Yakovlev and sometimes Medvedev close by. Shakhnazarov makes a fuss about this: why doesn’t he depend on us more… we are just as smart, and most importantly we can speak our minds. Why does he shut himself up with Yakovlev, cut off from his colleagues? Yakovlev himself is confused right now. This Congress has brought one more innovation: at the CC Plenums, not to mention the XIX Party Conference last year, people stood up and even applauded when Gorbachev entered the room. Of course, not like they used to under Brezhnev or Chernenko, but still… Lenin’s custom of not having people stand was not reinstated. Now it happened for a different reason. At the Conference nobody even stirred when Gorbachev appeared at the same corner entrance from which the entire PB used to emerge headed by the General Secretary, and moved to the center of the Presidium table. This is a change in psychology, which is significant. During breaks, Gorbachev often walks around the auditorium or the hallways and a crowd of a couple dozen people gathers around him. The majority of the people, however, continue to walk around talking amongst each other or sitting in their places--they are not interested in the conversation the General Secretary and President is having with the people.
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Will he have enough substantial authority to command respect after the external authority is gone (after all, this is Russia!). Our people are ungrateful and forgetful. Right now, in the era of collapse of every norm, foundation, and formality, there is danger in this new phenomenon. I have one more observation regarding the spectrum from the Baltics to Central Asia, to Siberia. In the auditorium, the delegations are even “territorially” separated at different ends of the room (to my left are the rightists, and to my right are the leftists). But I am speaking about a different spectrum: from culture to barbarity. One side chatters in Latin phrases (about laws and norms), the other, when they don’t like something, drown out the speaker or someone jumps up and (without a microphone) starts yelling something very rude.

September 11, 1989. Today we had Suharto. It was very untimely, but what can we do? We cannot shut down our foreign policy because the country is a mess… It would be worse, people would say that M.S. is completely giving up, even neglecting the protocol. While he has not given up… despite the Baltics and Transcaucasia, the supply failures, the fact that everybody is cursing him--not only the apparatus (which hates him and dreams of life as it was 5-10 years ago), but also millions of regular people. His popularity is falling. He can see that. It is falling on all levels, including among the intelligentsia, which is faithful to perestroika. From August 5th through September 6th I was with M.S. in the Crimea (in the abovementioned palace). Besides routine work, he wore me out with ideas for the Nationalities Plenum. He would say something on the phone or dictate something and give it to me to “play around with it.” I would be left to turn a telephone conversation into a literary text. Later he became angry about Granin’s article in Sovetskaya Kultura [Soviet Culture], where the latter criticized M.S. for manipulating the Congress and the Supreme Soviet. M.S. immediately ordered me to start writing and to organize a whole group in Moscow who would expose those who give “erroneous cues” and confuse the people, the leftists and the rightists, etc. He got ready to make a TV appearance about it and started to dictate the text to us. He almost called the TV crews to Yalta. But then the events of August 23rd in the Baltics were upon us and he made me compose the CC statement. The departments came up with one version, while Shakhnazarov, who was on vacation in “Yuzhnyi,” and I had a different one. I had to combine the two. The final result was nothing to brag about. The Balts are irritated. The Moscow intelligentsia is grumbling. M.S. sees a positive aspect in the fact he made the leaders of the People’s front and Sajudis reveal their cards. But what is it to the Balts? In their civilized manner they could be sailing away from the
31

USSR for years. So far they haven’t smashed anybody’s face or spilled a drop of blood. While in Transcaucasia blood is flowing daily. Baku is protesting for the 6th day in a row. The People’s front of Azerbaijan is demanding to disband the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region [NKAR]. Already Azeri military detachments are preparing for war with the Armenians over Karabakh. Armenians are doing likewise. This morning M.S. spoke with Vezirov (First Secretary of Azerbaijan’s CP). I do not know how it will turn out. I cannot penetrate his secret intentions (if he has any)… When he was dictating material against the left and right he retorted against the fact that they demand stability: “What stability! We are in a revolution… If we create stability, it will be the end of perestroika. Stability is stagnation. A revolution must have instability. Why then does he fill with indignation at the people who stir up trouble?! He is calm--no panic, no nerves. As if deep inside he is certain that we will not sink. He has a dangerous tendency to play up to “Russians” (he met with Bondarev, gave Astaf’ev the Hero of the Soviet Union award, made Kunyaev editor of Literaturnaya Rossiya [Literary Russia]). He repeats over and over again that “if Russia rises up” then things will pick up… But what will pick up? He is dead-set against creating a Communist Party of the RSFSR, against giving RSFSR the full status of a Union republic. At the PB last time he said: “That would be the end of the empire.” In a word, he is holding on to the old levers of power. As Nikita had done in his time… but now, the country has unprecedented free reign and it cannot be held in check or turned back. The same in the economy--he is afraid of the market, free prices, cooperatives; he is afraid to disperse the kolkhoz structure and the departments, even though he can see that the lease system will not progress otherwise. At the last PB he said that the March Plenum is being botched (but his resolutions will not start to work without implementing changes in the nature of property and industrial relations!). Who is botching it? He himself said that it is the kolkhoz chairmen, those Heroes of Socialist Labor… headed by Ligachev, who travels around the country and consolidates the kolkhoz system. The PB is afraid to do away with him. M.S. did not agree with my proposal to convene a special CPSU Congress in November to discuss re-electing the CC. I wrote three pages of arguments for him, explaining why this is necessary. No! Even though he understands that the CC is against him and against perestroika, and that with the current composition it is ruining the Party’s authority (or what is left of it). He was not bewildered even by Ryzhkov’s “betrayal” at the Obkom Secretaries’ Conference in June (practically
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a CC Plenum), he does not want to use his new Presidential power to take drastic measures against his team. When he got back from the south he led a PB on soap and other shortages. People are laughing. He found some scapegoats--threw Gusev, Lakhitn, and Efimov to the crowds, as if anything depended on them (although Efimov, Maslyukov’s deputy, did show a phenomenal helplessness and ignorance at the PB).

September 16, 1989 (Saturday). Today I was at work, preparing materials for Thatcher’s visit, she is arriving on the 23rd, on her way from Tokyo. I was fantasizing on the intimate. M.S. sent me the Plenum report, asked me to read it. I am mostly familiar with it based on work done in the Crimea and Shakhnazarov’s version, which became its foundation. The mountain brought forth a mouse. Half-admissions, half-condemnations, half a break with the past. Half-decisions. Wordiness. And the main cause for this is hesitation to part with the empire. Many of the arguments do not hold water; particularly on the nations’ benefit of being a part of the USSR, especially in light of Stalinism and the current collapse. In the meantime, Ukraine formed a People’s front. Its founding Congress will be held in Kharkov on November 11-12th. The Rukh’s17 final goal, following Latvia and Lithuania, is a “reunited” Ukrainian state! There are 1200 delegates, 500 guests from all over the Soviet Union. The Congress took place with cheers for independence and yellow-white flags. A Congress of Worker’s Committees took place in Chelyabinsk and Sverdlovsk (it will conclude in Leningrad on September 17-18). A United Labor Front will be created. The foundation for this came from the strike committees of the Kuznetsk and Donetsk Basins and Vorkuta miners, whose slogan is--things were better before perestroika, let’s do away with Gorbachev. Yeltsin’s visit to the US: what disgraceful mediocrity! But Bush & Co. are looking at him as an alternative. The Transcaucasia region (Baku and the NKAR area) is on the verge of civil war. The People’s front of Azerbaijan [PFA] has practically taken power in Baku. Vezirov’s name is publicly covered in mud. Whenever it wants to, the PFA declares universal strikes, convenes meetings of hundreds of thousands, and in general runs the show without regard for anyone. Hundreds of trains are stopped in their tracks to prevent them from reaching Armenia.

17

The People’s Movement of Ukraine 33

Sakharov and Starovoitova were in Chelyabinsk at the re-interment of 300,000 victims of the 1930s Gulag. There, Sakharov said the following about Gorbachev: I do not idealize him, he is indecisive and ineffective. He has to finally make up his mind whether he is the leader of perestroika or the nomenclature. The CIA forecasts that Gorbachev will last no more than 6 months. Starovoitova preached to the Latvians that “It is impossible to leave an empire, such cases are unheard of. It is possible to leave a democratic state, which we first need to build.” In a word, everyone is looking to the heart of the matter. We cannot build our country on Leninism.

September 17, 1989. I started reading Shafarevich’s Rusophobia. What he lashes out against (which he does convincingly on an academic level) is his own conception of Russia and it is old, fabricated, a product of mind exercises. We have not found a way out yet and we do not have a real conception of Russia. M.S. stated at the PB that he probably should publish in Kommunist [Communist] on the subject: what is socialism and its renewal. This is last year’s idea. We started it in the Crimea, now Van’ka18 (Frolov) and his aides Latsis and Kolesnikov are finishing up this theme. I am certain that nothing serious will come of it. Because Yu. Afanas’ev is right: we have to step away from the issue of capitalism-socialism. It is antiquated. We cannot look for our future on the dogmatic track of Marxism-Leninism, no matter how much we renovate it. We need a completely free idea and theory that would be based on modern reality. Marxism-Leninism is a product of the XIX century, and it yielded catastrophic results in the XX. Yesterday, when I walked into the art gallery on Krymskaya street, in the lobby I saw sculptures that were placed there a long time ago: a Red Army soldier at his post in a fur coat with a bayonet, Zoya Kosmodem’yanskaya, a shepherd from Dagestan… I was aghast. We are dismantling everything that comprised the ideological atmosphere of our youth. All the signifiers have been reversed. Everything around us was a lie. …Probably, it was always so… I am glad that back then, in the 1930s, I was not into politics, and joined the komsomol19 only right before the war. I read Nietzsche and Schopenhauer, and dozens of books published by Gorky’s Vsemirnaya Literatura [World Literature]; Dostoevsky in the

18

Familiar version of the name Ivan. 34

pre-war, pre-1914 editions; Oscar Wilde and Aldington, Kellerman, Zweig, Roger Martin du Gard, Andre Gide, Romain Rolland, Anatole France, the Goncourt brothers, and Herzen. I read hundreds of books; and I picked the ones that others were not reading--I was being original. As the result, I did not lose something that our “progressive” press is lamenting right now--moral standards and a conscience. Consequently, I was never charmed by Stalin, never considered him great because in my eyes he was not “noble” or an “aristocrat,” not an intellectual, i.e. a person of culture. My mother’s hopeless attempts to hold on to the impossible--to raise me in the traditions of Russian nobility, the canons of that pre-revolutionary era in which she grew up herself (with piano, French and German lessons with the governess Kseniya Petrovna), they did not pass in vain. Even though I cannot truly play the piano or speak these languages, I have always been internally free. The only period in my life when this freedom was called in question was when I worked in the CC CPSU Scientific Department, in the late 1950s. At that time I had to do some vile functions for work, even though I tried to resist and to somehow neutralize this department’s blows to the “children of the XX Congress.” Looks like I’ve started daydreaming… What is going to happen to us now? Gorbachev is losing the country’s levers of power. Maybe Sakharov (who borrowed this idea from Afanas’ev) is right that it is time to decide whether he will be the leader of perestroika or the nomenclature. His attempts to take leave of the past and of some colleagues have been too timid. At the same time, he knows what his colleagues are worth and with me he speaks frankly about them. The day before yesterday he sent Talyzin (from State Planning) and Shcherbitsky into retirement, and Nikonov is next in line. But Talyzin and Nikonov have long been dead souls in the PB, and Shcherbitsky’s retirement will now be interpreted as the dictate of the opposition, i.e. once again as lagging behind and loss of initiative. And overall… what is the PB right now? Most likely it is a place where Mikhail Sergeyevich can speak at length and frankly.

September 23, 1989. Thatcher was here yesterday. She was beautiful, extraordinary, feminine. It is not true that she is a woman with balls, or a man in a skirt. She is a woman through and through, and what a woman! She praised Gorbachev. Yesterday our television gave her almost an hour to do that. M.S. is

19

Communist Youth League 35

favorably disposed toward her. Probably because she correctly understood his intentions, that he does not care about communist ideology, that he wants to make his country a normal, civilized state. If it wasn’t for the catastrophic situation with national welfare, the country would have reached that goal already. He had lunch with her at the Schechtel mansion on Alexei Tolstoy Street. The day before yesterday Gorbachev hosted Georges Marchais and spent around five hours with his guests. M.S. was in good shape, cheerful, charming, made jokes, and amazed the Frenchmen with his lively intellect. Compared to M.S., they seemed like outdated provincials. Georges puffed up incredibly. But with all his effrontery and the French high horse, he could not hide his confusion and feeling of inferiority compared to Gorbachev. M.S. added a measure of “brotherly” confidentiality to the conversation, but did not yield one iota, did not give the slightest reason for the Frenchman to conclude that he is playing a game while in essence keeping to the class positions. M.S. won the Plenum… with his impromptu, brilliant concluding speech and one more shakeup of the PB and Secretariat.

October 1, 1989. I am beginning to prepare materials for the visit to Finland, but before that we still have Asad (President of Syria), Brandt and the papal nuncio. With each, there are very delicate issues to discuss: how to stop Syria in Lebanon; how to discipline Brant, since he suddenly started talking about “reunification;” how to deal with the union issue with the Pope (with whom M.S. will soon be meeting at the Vatican): our Orthodox Church is hard set against it! They are quite the Stalinists! This was very evident from the speeches of two metropolitans at a meeting of the International Committee of the People’s Deputies on September 27-29th. The following episode took place at the airport when Gorbachev was departing for Kiev. The people seeing him off flocked together: Zaikov, Yazov, Lukyanov, Primakov, Medvedev, the advisers, Kruchina. Zaikov started telling how the Moscow city committee started to “work” with Yu. Afanas’ev. Shortly before, Afanas’ev spoke at a meeting of Inter-regional Group of People’s Deputies in Leningrad and at the Committee on the year 1939, created within the Supreme Soviet. These speeches put Gorbachev out of temper. Zaikov said he assigned two of his deputies to speak with Afanas’ev. They summoned him to the City Committee and he said to them: “What of my speeches? Yes, I stand for separating the party from the state, for separating the state from the economy. Yes, I would like to do away with
36

democratic centralism and create freedom for different platforms within the party and open discussion. Yes, I am seeking support for my views from the working class. Yes, we should say the entire truth about 1939. The Soviet Union should be renewed on the basis of a new, truly voluntary agreement. Nevertheless, I am going to fight for my party ticket (he pointed to a pocket on the left side of his chest).” At this point Lukyanov commented that he is not going to fight, he does not need the party ticket. He wants to have his own party, with him at the head. Zaikov started to object, but somewhat confusedly. He said his deputies came to speak with him after that conversation and asked him what to do. But he does not know himself…

October 4, 1989. The outcomes of the September Plenum were discussed at the PB today. M.S. said many brave things in the presence of CP Secretaries from all the republics and major obkoms. The outcomes of the post-earthquake rebuilding efforts in Armenia were discussed. The situation is dire. A year has passed but only 28 percent of the planned housing has been constructed, 23 percent of schools and hospitals; in Leninakan only one building has been settled, 150,000 people are homeless; in Kirovokan only three homes have been rented. Azerbaijan is blocking the railways. Over the past four days only one train has been allowed through out of 120 going to Armenia. Rail cars with cement are flooded with water and have to be thrown off tracks together with the solidified cement. Fuel tanks are emptied right on the tracks. This is one of the forms of the ArmenianAzerbaijan war. The last person to speak on this subject was Arutyunyan (First Secretary of Armenia’s CP). During his speech, Sokolov (First Secretary of Byelorussia’s CP) suddenly jumped up and, red in the face, lashed out against the Armenian: “All the republics, the entire country is helping Armenia… and how does Armenia repay the country?” Arutyunyan became confused, and mumbled, not understanding the question: “How can we help right now?” Sokolov pressed on: “My question is how Armenia repaid the country--with Karabakh and all the mess surrounding it?” Gorbachev understood that it is time to intervene, and said: “You can take that tone of discussion out in the hall.” He proceeded to sum up this point of the agenda. “It is such a tragedy! The life of an entire nation has been disrupted. Remember the history of this nation, it is a tragic history. Now the children of Armenia are dispersed throughout the
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country; 700,000 including refugees are homeless… Such a disaster… When you return home, you must all check how matters stand with help for Armenia. It is shameful when relief plans get lowered without permission and we do not deliver on our promises. This is not only a political problem. This concerns our morals and our humanism.” Etc. Everybody listened quietly, glancing at Sokolov as he sat in front of the senior ranks of the party and the newly elected PB and CC Secretariat members, looking like he’d just been dragged through mud. Tremendous Mikhail Sergeyevich. This is how he attempts to teach political culture. The PB discussed national grain balance figures. It turns out that free self-financing led to a 37 million ton shortage of grain in the state granaries, while this year’s harvest yielded 205 million tons. Vorotnikov called for taking the grain with an iron fist. Ryzhkov threatened that we are standing on the edge of an abyss and a catastrophe. Similarly to his previous speeches on the outcomes of the Plenum, there was a note of hysteria in his speech, even though he opened with his usual phrase, “Of course, I am not trying to be dramatic…” M.S. found a Solomonic way out: when our comrades go back home, they should check what else can be done. Those who will sell to the government in excess of the plan will get reimbursed with construction materials, gasoline, vehicles. In the lobby I spoke with Valjas and Brazauskas. They are genuine… But neither Ryzhkov, nor the departments want to listen to them. They see them as nationalists and separatists.

October 5, 1989. Yesterday, the Supreme Soviet published a decree declaring martial law on the roadways in Transcaucasia. It is intended to lift the blockade on Armenia. Today the Azerbaijan Supreme Soviet passed a ruling on their sovereignty, in which it declares complete power over Karabakh; excludes any intervention in its affairs; inviolability of territory; the “Center,” Moscow, keeps only the rights that Baku voluntarily concedes; the right of free succession from the USSR. On the radio is has only been said the blockade of Armenia continues and trains are not given passage. While we were talking with the Balts and scaring ourselves with their “departure,” the Muslims started to collapse the state. If troops go in to free the trains to Armenia tomorrow, a general strike will be declared, followed by armed resistance; if we bring in troops it will be called
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aggression, they will turn to the UN for help, etc. Meanwhile, tomorrow M.S. is flying to the GDR for its 40th anniversary. He really does not want to. He called me twice, said that he polished his speech to the letter, knowing that they will be examining it under a microscope… there is not a word in support of Honecker… but he will support the Republic and revolution. Today in Dresden 20,000 people came out to demonstrate. Yesterday in Leipzig there were even more. We are receiving information that during Gorbachev’s visit they will storm the Wall. There were terrible scenes surrounding a special GDR refugee train passing through Dresden on the way from Prague. The West-German TV recorded this and is showing it in the GDR. The Western press is brimming with articles on the “reunification” of Germany. Tomorrow a Congress of the Hungarian Socialist Workers Party [HSWP] in Budapest will declare the self-liquidation of the “Socialist Hungarian People’s Republic.” Needless to mention Poland: the Polish United Workers Party [PUWP] not only lost power, but it is doubtful whether it will survive till its next Congress in February. In a word, a complete dismantling of socialism as a factor of world development is in process. Maybe this is inevitable and good. For this is a matter of humanity uniting on the basis of common sense. And this process was started by a regular guy from Stavropol. Perhaps Thatcher is right when she admires him precisely because she thinks that “in his heart” he envisioned the self-liquidation of a society that is alien to human nature and the natural order of things. It is another matter… whether Russia needed the year 1917… and once again (!) our great sacrifices so that humanity would come to this conclusion. Tomorrow the Supreme Soviet Parliamentary Committee will begin to examine the Afghan question. Arbatov, who is in charge of the project, stopped by today.

October 8, 1989. Yesterday M.S. got back from the GDR. It appears from the speeches and the TV interviews that he navigated the situation successfully. At the airport, Shakhnazarov and Raisa Maksimovna were describing how it went… As M.S. and Honecker walked together, a continuous roar in the air: “Gorby! Gorby!” emanated from the thousands, or hundreds of thousands of people. Nobody paid attention to Erich. At the meetings there were posters in Russian: “Gorbachev—you are our hope!” Besides Gorbachev, there were around 20 various leaders in attendance (Zhivkov, Ceausescu, Nicaraguan Ortega, etc.), but nobody
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gave them much heed. All the festivity concentrated on Gorbachev’s presence in Berlin. He came back satisfied. The recognition and support he receives “over there” encourages and reassures him, in contrast to the worthless treatment he gets from his own people. Krenz said to Falin: “Our Erich sees everything, but does not want to admit anything.” On October 10, the Socialist Unity Party of Germany will have a Plenum… They might overthrow Erich. Otherwise, it will soon come to a storm on the Wall. In any case, the Prague-Dresden-FRG refugee trains passed through a row of exalted greetings, were showered with flowers, etc. The policemen waved at the Russians… What are my feelings? They are comprised from what I get from the press, the internal ciphers, the reports from the regions to the CC, from notes and various letters. All of it creates the impression of general collapse… Nujkin published an article in Ogonyok. It is an intellectual depravity. Overall, the perestroika intelligentsia has become confused when the time came to do “positive” work. The majority, in any case… In their inertia, they are stuck exposing the past. Ogonyok printed Bazhanov, who was Stalin’s adviser from 1922-28 and afterwards fled abroad. Along with embellished bragging, it contains some unique information, particularly on the role of the leaders’ secretaries and advisers. The system which has survived until the days of Gorbachev was created under Lenin. Some people from the PB and CC Secretariat still look at me according to that tradition, considering me to be “more important” than some PB members or even the PB itself (particularly Biryukova, Baklanov, even Slyunkov, and some ministers). It is amazing how Stalin felt which levers would allow him to control the country, and created those levers… which are relevant to this day. Even M.S. uses them, particularly in the “clerical” (drafting documents) aspect. During the conversation at the airport, N.I. Ryzhkov described the following episode (present were Yakovlev, Shakhnazarov, Frolov): “I called Vezirov (after the Supreme Soviet’s decree on martial law for Transcaucasian roadways) and asked him whether I should be talking to him or the People’s Front? Give me a straight answer, I said, I don’t need an ‘interpreter.’ Do you still have the power, or should I go directly to them? I am giving you 24 hours. If you do not lift the blockade, I will bring in troops with all ensuing consequences… Vezirov replied that he will ‘consult’ with leaders of the People’s Front. At first, 8 out of 16 ‘members of the board’ arrived. They said that they will not make a decision without the quorum. Finally, they assembled a quorum… And said that they will start to slowly let trains go through… They got a bit scared, even though they put on airs,” concluded our Premier.
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So this is the situation. We are saying that the PUWP has been removed from power and reduced to an insignificant size, and the HSWP is next in line. Meanwhile, in our Azerbaijan the same thing is happening as in Lithuania!

October 9, 1989. Today, Oleg Uralov visited me for the second time. He is the producer I found to make the film “Portrait of Gorbachev.” It is M.S.’ idea. About two weeks ago he called me and said to undertake this project… for the visit to Italy. But it should not consist of clichés and banalities. Uralov turned out to be the right person for the job. He is very interested in the project, he is smart, handsome, educated, and, as it turned out, a talented man of considerable culture, with good taste. He interviewed me thoroughly. We talked for about two hours. I tried to show him the characteristics of the portrait. I was quite frank, said some things which I had not told before to any outsiders. In the end, he said that if we are to do this project, it would have to start with a conversation with Gorbachev. It would provide a direction and some content for the script. Plus, there are some practical questions… I sent M.S. a note. He called me when he got back from the Supreme Soviet. He said that it is too early for the kind of portrait Uralov has in mind. It is not the time. Right now, the portrait has to consist of deeds… Then he said he will explain this to Uralov himself, and in an hour and a half, Uralov and I were in M.S.’ office. He charmed the producer in his usual manner. M.S. supported his ideas and plans and explained why right now is not the right time. In a year or two we need to make a breakthrough and bring our society into equilibrium. We have to earn the right for a “portrait” through achievements. Uralov: “But the portrait is needed right now; later it will only have a historical significance.” M.S.: “Yes, you are right. For now… could you make a simple film for the Italians, cut it out from material that is already available… But do not discard the bigger idea, you can get started on it right now. And here… (he pointed at me) all questions go to A.S.” Uralov: “Yes, A.S. and I understand each other well.” M.S.: “I trust him completely… Anatoly and I think alike, and he knows everything. Of course, sometimes he gets carried away and I have to keep him in check (he laughed). But it is good when a man his age can still get carried away…” Uralov: “It seems like you are also the type who gets carried away.”
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M.S.: “Yes, alas. Thus, we found each other…” This is the unexpected “declaration of love” I received.

All of Europe is raving about M.S. in Berlin. And everybody in Europe is whispering in our ear: it is good that the USSR has delicately expressed its stance against German reunification. Zagladin traveled all around France and met with everybody--from Mitterrand to mayors. He has buried Moscow with records of his conversations (with gusto! There is nothing he likes better). They all say in unison--nobody wants a unified Germany. Attali (Mitterrand’s adviser) brought up the possibility of restoring a serious Soviet-French alliance, including military “integration,” but camouflaged as a joint use of armies to fight natural disasters. Thatcher, when she asked to go off record during the conversation with M.S., expressed her views decisively against Germany’s reunification. But, she said this is not something she can openly say at home or in NATO. In short, they want to prevent this with our hands.

October 11, 1989. Today M.S. met with Rakowski (the Polish Premier). I was not present, but read the record of his meeting with Jaruzelski and Rakowski in Berlin. One on one, M.S. said to them and Honecker some things that he probably should not have said. He was playing along, or maybe paying tribute to whatever orthodoxy is left in him when he said that the PUWP and the HSWP have lost, let things get away, receded from the positions of socialism. He did not say this to the Hungarians. As for the Poles, he agrees with them when they say it themselves. Record of conversation with Honecker… when speaking with me and Shakhnazarov, M.S. called him scumbag. M.S. said, “He could have said to his people that he has had 4 operations, he is 78, he does not have the strength to fill his position, so could they please ‘let him go,’ he has done his duty. Then, maybe, he would have remained an esteemed figure in history.” Shakhnazarov and I were doubtful that he would get a place in history if he did this right now. Two-three years ago, maybe. Right now he is already in a position similar to Kadar’s. He has been cursed by the people. The PB in Berlin is meeting for the second day. Krenz asked our ambassador to convey to M.S. that he will raise the question about change. Honecker warned Krenz that should he do this, they will be enemies. But it looks like he did it anyway. What will come of it? The day before yesterday, Kohl tried to speak with M.S over the phone. Yesterday I reminded M.S. about this, but he brushed it aside--he did not want to. Today he called me and said:
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“go ahead, put the call through…” As soon as I reached for the phone, he called again: “Should I? The results of the Berlin PB are not clear yet. And in general…” I told him that he should, otherwise it would be awkward. Plus, I am sure that he is calling to disassociate himself from his statements regarding reunification (in connection to the flight of GDR citizens to the FRG). The conversation lasted 17 minutes. Kohl promised to help in Hungary and Poland, planned a visit to Warsaw, and most importantly--assured M.S. that he will not destabilize the GDR. M.S. replied: “This is a very important statement. I will take it into consideration.” They talked about bilateral economic ties in follow up to M.S.’ visit to Bonn. Shakhnazarov and I led a pogrom against Shevardnadze and Kryuchkov’s note on our country’s politics towards countries with a “socialist orientation.” They offered timid changes. We, on the other hand, are against the very essence of this category of “socialist orientation;” against dividing the third world based on ideology; against exporting weapons, which tempts them and distracts from what they should be doing… In a word, we suggested to radically change this course. The old one, which formed according to ideological motifs and military-strategic concerns of yesterday, did not meet expectations, it became bankrupt, and showed that it is not compatible with New Thinking. M.S. agrees with us, judging by the fact that he sent our memorandum to Shevardnadze and Yakovlev, and told them to rewrite their note. Without realizing what I was doing, I gave Borovik (a renowned international affairs journalist) permission to invite Peres (Israel) to the Soviet Union. Sure, it would be a social, not a political, visit, but he is still the Deputy Prime Minister of a country with which we have no diplomatic relations. Borovik snuck up on me between sessions of the Supreme Soviet International Committee, presented all kinds of arguments and promised that it would be beneficial. I said: if you have the authority, invite him. And now Peres is giving newspaper interviews on what he is planning to do during the visit. Naturally, his plans are not to talk commerce with the Peace Council but to do politics. M.S. and Shevardnadze will find out about this from the interviews. I might get a thrashing for this! On the whole, when I speak with M.S., observe him, see and hear him at the Supreme Soviet sessions, I do not get the feeling that a civil war has broken out in the country. Military trains and escorts through Azerbaijan to Armenia have come under fire, there have already been several “battles” with the use of automatic weapons. I am preparing a “world outlook” material for M.S.’ meeting with Brandt (October 17). We
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are moving toward a renewal of unity, liquidation of the historical split between the Socialdemocratic and Communist movements (if the latter still exists).

October 15, 1989. On Friday, M.S. had another meeting with the leaders of the mass media. I did not go--I am running out of time on Brandt. But Serezha Morozov (now the editor of the Za rubezhom [Abroad] magazine) described the meeting in detail from his notes. I think this event will be compared with the meeting between Khrushchev and Pasternak, or Khrushchev’s meeting with the intelligentsia, which started the open rollback of the Thaw. The day before, on Thursday at the PB, M.S. declared: “I will tell them (!) tomorrow…” (this was a reaction to yet another attack on the press by the republics’ CC Secretaries!) He started with the usual, even excusing himself that he has to repeat the banalities: “Perestroika is going through what is most likely the most difficult period. Everything is under tension. As difficult as it may be, I am going to stay the course. People blame me for sitting on two chairs. No. I am on one chair, the perestroika chair. But what are you doing!” (The entire time he addressed the audience as “you,” i.e. indiscriminately). “Some of you are shouting ‘catastrophe!’, others are threatening us with a coup. Poltoranin writes and broadcasts (at the CC Higher Party School) that regardless of anything, there will be a rebellion. Except, he states, if we go down the path suggested by the Inter-regional Deputies Group (of which he is a part), there will be 5 million victims. But if we keep going down Gorbachev’s path, there will be a 100 million victims. “We have heard this before,” M.S. continued. “Do you recognize it?” Somebody from the audience answered--Mao! “Correct. People are truly agitated, nerves are strained, we are standing wheel-deep in kerosene. Meanwhile, some people are shamelessly playing with matches. Take Zaslavskaya for example. She said on TV that we are inevitably moving toward bread rationing. What happened after that? People rushed to buy up flour. All the milling plants in the country started working 4 shifts. But there is still not enough, everything gets wiped off the shelves. This is what your are doing!” Shevardnadze took Shmelev with him to the US (Shmelev is an economist). (Further I continue quoting Gorbachev). “They had a conversation with Baker, who is Secretary of State right now, but he is also a renowned financial expert, he was Minister of Finance. He said to them: ‘We ran some calculations based on the CIA’s analysis, and we are not as pessimistic about the outlook for the Soviet economy as your economists are (in the USSR).’ Shmelev replied: ‘no, you are wrong, the USSR is moving towards disaster.’ Upon returning to Moscow he published an article in
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Vecherka [Evening news], arguing that Baker is wrong. What have we come to! There are mass attacks on the Party. People say to me that this is a frank analysis of the situation in the CPSU. But I am not naïve and I can differentiate analysis from intentional slander, discrediting, and undermining of the party position before the elections for the republics and regional Soviets. Next in line is the abuse of the leadership and the General Secretary. There are discussions that the leadership does not have a conception, it does not know what to do, it is ruining perestroika through half-measures, it is going to bring about a rebellion. There is a dead end everywhere--in relations with the working class, in national affairs. While a war rages in Transcaucasia, the leadership is imposing meager laws instead of finding the political solutions it always calls for… What is your conclusion? It is as follows: there are alternatives to Gorbachev and his team-Lukyanov, Nenashev, etc. Look how many smart people have shown themselves; there are plenty of fish in the sea. The People’s Deputies receive similar unequal treatment. Some are praised, others humiliated along the lines of: ‘Alekseev is alright, but he is a far shot from Sobchak!’ Even Izvestiya [News] is doing this. Argumenty i fakty [Arguments and facts] has gone so far as to publish a list of names of 100 Deputies, with a ‘sociological’ survey right next to them. Of course, the favorites have the most points. Sakharov leads in popularity, and Shevchenko (a woman from Ukraine) is the last on the list. Is this a study! “In your place,” (he turned toward the editor of Argumenty i fakty, asked whether he is present, and the man stood up) “as a Communist, I would go into retirement after such a publication.” (Actually, M.S. told me the day before that he is going to remove him!) “The Inter-regional Deputies Group has created its own ‘forum’ in Leningrad. They have their own Politburo, ready to replace ours, and their own General Secretary--Yu. Afanas’ev. They have a program: multi-party system, market economy, anyone who wants to can leave the USSR (the Baltic States are first on the list), freedom of the press, etc. I do not know why we allow such people in our party. If Afanas’ev has his own platform, then he should leave the party and follow his own course. We do not need this kind of ‘communists.’ This is a different era (in the sense that he won’t get imprisoned)… but if he disagrees with the party, what is he doing in it? I think that the Inter-regional Deputies Group and the Party Control Committee need to deal with Afanas’ev. We cannot allow such a person to head an institute and to teach our students. This also has to be taken care of.” This was his speech. Again and again he comes back to his favorite toy: consolidation. He
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continued: “There has been enough of scandals and squabbles in front of the entire nation (between journals and newspapers). What kind of glasnost do we have? You pick up a journal and when you see a question in the headlines, you already know what the position is going to be. They give the floor to some people, and stifle the others. I have to say that Ogonyok did recently publish its ‘opponent,’” (he must be referring to Kozhinov), “but immediately gave him an editorial rebuke.” (By the way, I explained to M.S. on several occasions that people are laughing about this requirement of his. The different faces is what separates one journal from another. This has always been the case in Russia and all over the world. If he is pro-glasnost then he cannot insist on conformity of opinion. It is not logical. But he is stubborn…) “And look at what is happening on the television,” M.S. continued, “Irresponsibility and instigation are rampant. People are beginning to turn off their receivers. I was recently listening to Mayak, which was playing songs from the 50s and 60s, when the host announced: ‘And now we are going to play rock-music. Fans of the previous program can turn off their radios--you won’t understand anything anyway!’ Is this necessary? How are you treating people!” M.S. remembered Marinicheva’s article in Komsomolka from a week ago (I also noticed it and almost started crying myself, like she did). The title is: “To the core, but what for?” Plus Svetlov’s “Grenada,” about the ideals on which generations were raised. We cannot trample them just because of Stalin’s blemish. Otherwise we have emptiness and soullessness. I had wanted to send this newspaper issue to M.S., but it turns out he noticed it himself. That’s how it goes! Yesterday morning he called and asked if I had been at the meeting. I: “No, I did not have time. But I know what happened, I was told in detail…” M.S.: “Yes, I decided to go into an attack. As I was later told, they ‘exchanged’ (another favorite word of his) among themselves, saying, ‘It’s true that we (the press) have crossed the line.’ And you know, nobody wanted to speak after me. There was silence. I offered several times. In the end I said: If this is the case, I will see you next time.” He decided not to publish this speech (he spoke for almost two hours). I told him that is a good idea, since he had named names, there will be ripples. The ripples will spread in any case and people are going to attribute things to him, which were not there… “It’s alright,” he said, and we moved on to financial matters. I asked Serezha Morozov if M.S. was agitated at the meeting. He said that overall he was not. He spoke as usual, with passion when speaking without notes. But sometimes he got wound up, his eyes grew dark and you could see that some people had really tried his patience. I thought to myself that he probably (most likely) does not want to go back on glasnost.
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However, he must feel (not without help from hints in Klyamkin and even Aleskseyev’s publications) that it is time he was more authoritarian, before the empire falls to pieces. Yet, while the store shelves are empty and the crime rate high, it is impossible to stop the movement without completely shutting down perestroika. The kinds of actions taken with Afanas’ev and Starkov (from Argumenty i fakty) only discredit him personally. We already went through this with Nikita and we all remember how it ended. It is very important for him to keep the image he developed in the first years of perestroika. If the distinction between him and Ligachev (who is also pro-perestroika) fades, all will be lost. Gorbachev is staggering on his way… I must not forget to describe the “Russian question,” which he brought up very testily at the PB, in connection with Chinese border negotiation directives for Rogachev (deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs).

October 15, 1989. My home phone nearly rang off the hook: M.S. is looking for me. I called him. The entire Finnish program is mangled. Koivisto got mad. M.S. assigned me to prepare several pages for the Defense Council on our foreign policy during perestroika, explaining why we still need to strengthen our defense. This is for tomorrow. But tomorrow I also have to prepare two speeches for Finland and material for a meeting with the papal nuncio, plus something for the Supreme Soviet International Committee on the Afghan question. When am I going to do all of this?! How much longer will this last? It is so simple for him-we (I) are instruments that can do anything, if he needs it.

October 16, 1989. Reaction to the meeting with the press. The participants’ feelings are: if this is how Gorbachev treats us, the praetorians of perestroika, then we will find something else to do. If he puts everyone like Sobchak, Zaslavskaya, and Shmelev into the opposition camp, with whom is he planning to build perestroika? In reality, M.S.’ mass base is the intelligentsia. The working class is for Yeltsin. What does Gorbachev plan to achieve by moving toward Ligachev in his relationship with the intelligentsia? If a “case” is started on Afanas’ev (as it is bound to, because his primary party organization is not going to expel him, which means the Party Control Committee will have to do it, disregarding the democratic process) it would open the gates for a multi-party system. No argument will remain for preserving the CPSU monopoly.
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If Gorbachev is calling for consolidation and in the meanwhile reverting to organizational conclusions, it is the end of glasnost. It means people will act not on their conscience, but with a consideration for conforming to the leadership’s views. Consequently, we could bid farewell to Gorbachev’s own appeals --“let’s do it together.” Now it looks like-- “let’s do it how I want, in a way that suits me.” Yeltsin has convened a meeting, after recovering from the “attempt on his life,” which was actually a drunken fight that started after he hit on somebody’s wife. The theme of this meeting was: Gorbachev has exhausted his potential and has to be immediately removed. Regrettably, it were Afanasiev and Starkov that M.S. proposed to expel from the party and remove from their positions, not Yeltsin (even though an according resolution by the CC Plenum already exists). And now, Yeltsin & Co. together with Afanas’ev & Co., who have nothing to lose since all their bridges are burned, will launch a desperate attack. They say that a demonstration is scheduled on October 25th by the CC building, to demand that three people be removed--Ligachev, Zaikov, and Vorotnikov. For now. Even Ryzhov (director of the Moscow Aviation Institute and now Chairman of the Supreme Soviet Science Commission) spoke on the TV yesterday from Yeltsin’s positions. And he is one of M.S.’ friends. In a word, this “meeting with the press” was a mistake. These steps lead to the path taken by Khrushchev. I spent all day writing a speech that will be presented at the “Finlandia” Hall. Composed some materials for the Defense Council; plus a hundred other small tasks and phone calls. The MFA is once again letting us down. There is still no draft for the speech at Koivisto’s lunch, nor any materials for negotiations with him. Kovalyov is a wind-bag and too petty to be the first deputy of the MFA. I composed a draft for Gorbachev’s letter to Bush, which Primakov will deliver with the Parliamentary Delegation.

October 23, 1989. Drop by drop M.S. gave me his thoughts and edits for the Finland texts, removing some of my compliments addressed to the Finns. He explained that he does not want our Balts to feel jealous of how we treat Finland and imagine that they could also be like Finland, only if… Yesterday I read a heap of Western analyses of our economic situation, and their recommendations. Many of them (except for Pipes and Brzezinski, of course) are interested in
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perestroika’s success. A Thatcher-style success, mostly. But the most serious of them realize that we cannot completely turn into a Western society. There are also some who prognosticate a “Soviet economic miracle,” if… There is a common consensus that Gorbachev needs to finally decide to make a breakthrough; he cannot linger and play on the safe side any longer, he has to step away from halfmeasures, time is working against him. Difficult times for some layers of society are inevitable, but there are worldwide laws of economic recovery and nobody has been able to circumvent them yet. There is another common factor in the Western scholarship--the personification of our reforms. Everybody appeals to the personality. If Gorbachev would do this and that… If would make up his mind so and so… if he would implement the following measures, etc. But the problem is that Gorbachev no longer has the power to do anything decisive, even if he makes up his mind. This is not because, as the West thinks, he is hindered by Ligachev, the apparatus, or the bureaucracy. It is because Gorbachev does not have a mechanism through which he can implement his decisions. There is nobody to enforce them. The Party is no longer recognized as a governing body. The Soviets continue to be helpless. The economic executives are split between two chairs: there are no orders from the top, but at the same time they do not have the freedom to conduct affairs themselves. They do not know whom to turn to in order to make their industries work interdependently with each other, otherwise they will simply stop functioning. The regional apparatus is either demoralized, or is waiting with their arms crossed until everything will fall through. The nomenclature has nothing to lose. Gorbachev’s slogan to “include the regular man” proved to be inapplicable because our regular man became lost without a guide to show him every step of the way. Now the regular man is angry, because he does not have anything and there is no one from whom he can demand, all he can do now is shout abuses. The working class is raising its head dangerously. It is being led by members of professional unions and regional committee party bosses, who understood that the only way for them to save their positions at the upcoming elections is through double-dyed populism and demagoguery aimed at the very top. The meetings of different “workers’ fronts” are conducted under the slogans: “Give us Marxism-Leninism,” and “Perestroika the socialist way, not the capitalist way!” etc. Meanwhile, M.S. continues to play up to people like Yarin (workers’ leader from Kuznetsk Basin). At meetings, people demand that this Yarin be made a part of the PB. Ideology trips up perestroika even here, not only in the economy and glasnost. Yegor Yakovlev called me. He asked for a meeting with M.S. for him, Gelman, Adamovich,
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and Klimov. I wrote Gorbachev a note. On Saturday, for a long time he explained to me over the phone what to say to Yegor. He praised all four of them very highly, gave each one a precise testimonial and promised to meet with them as soon as he can. Right now he does not have a minute to spare, whereas he would like to sit down with them to a serious conversation, especially since Yegor told me that they plan to “open Gorbachev’s eyes” to the real ideological situation in Moscow. In the meantime, M.S. told me to explain to Yegor & Co. that they should not panic and try to understand him: his main task right now is to save the course from the rightists and the leftists. Both are touring the country and instigating people against the General Secretary and perestroika. If they succeed, it will be the end. I think he finally understood the danger of people like Yarin, but he is directing his anger at Yu. Afanas’ev and his company; even though he made a clever move after the meeting with the press and removed another Afanas’ev (Viktor) from his post as editor of Pravda. Today at the Supreme Soviet session Gorbachev once again spoke against electing him President through a nation-wide vote. “We have seen where saviors of the Motherland have brought us,” he declared. I was looking at expressions on the Deputies’ faces as he was speaking. They were derisive and ironic. They no longer take him seriously with his constant calls to “let’s get along” and “most importantly, we are on the right path,” etc. He does not seem to sense this. He still believes in his ability to convince anyone. He still hold a paternalistic air with the Supreme Soviet and other contenders for power. He sermonizes and admonishes, he takes it upon himself to draw “final conclusions” from what others say and discuss.

October 29, 1989. October 25-27th in Finland. Gorbachev’s success is stunning. He combines all the temperaments. The key to this is not only his personal charisma and the ability to almost always find the optimal version of what to say and how to communicate with an individual. The additional factor is his frankness in speaking about ourselves and his freedom from ideology; even though this is less effective now that everyone can see for themselves what is happening in our country. The second impression is that we are hopelessly behind. It is true that some people in the West predict a Soviet economic miracle, if we only finally follow “their path.” Even in this case we would need 10 years. M.S. has let the moment pass while he was being cautious and afraid to lose our socialist values, even though he knew that these values consist of wave-leveling, social egoism, and dependency that is a millstone around the government’s neck. Now all these socialist values are turning against him as the workers’ movement is arising
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with its natural law of trade-unions: “give me what I want, and I could not care less about the rest.” I’ve never been to Japan so I can’t compare, but Finland struck me as a truly modern, civilized society, successful and highly developed; where there is no difference between the capital and a small town like Oulu. The visit took place against the background of political strikes in Vorkuta and a civil war over Karabakh. When they show our soldiers on TV it becomes difficult to understand what is happening: they are shot at, there are armed ambushes against them, the local authorities prevent them from going where they do not want them to go, and there is nothing they can do. Gorbachev is calm, to the surprise of the entire world. They give him credit for that. In Finland he once again developed his New Thinking ideas and continued to expand them in comparison to his UN speech in Strasbourg. My third impression consists of my own personal feelings. I am losing the desire to serve him. Of course, I could always reassure myself by saying I am not serving him, but the cause--the country, the world, preventing war, working for the victory of common sense over militarism and our militaristic psychology, etc. In the end, however, I am serving him. He is a very prominent figure, a world-class politician; he was able to use all means available to irreversibly change the situation at the core. But his thoughts and actions need to be faceted before he steps into the outside world. Sometimes he needs other people’s thoughts. This is my job. I am not always alone. The MFA, the CC International Department, academic institutions and other departments also prepare materials for him. But theirs is a semi-finished product. I am the one who supplies the final versions, I am the one who develops the final form. In these matters, form substantial--each phrase is meaningful. I am the one who composes messages for the press on his meetings with Western leaders. The world judges what took place through these publications. Any one of his meetings only becomes a political action when it is published. In our country, this form, which I invented, replaces the interviews Gorbachev’s foreign interlocutors usually give to the press after the meeting. I do not think that Gorbachev does not understand this. But in the four years that I have worked for him he has never shown it to me, and much less to others. Yesterday I visited Brutents in the hospital on Michurinskiy Avenue. He had a heart attack in Dublin. We talked for about an hour and a half, mostly about what this world is coming to, and what Gorbachev thinks about it. I told him about my belief that M.S. sincerely believes in his formula that “socialism is the creation of the masses.” So let them create, and we’ll see what they come up with. Karen agreed with me, but added that at the same time, someone has to govern. I said to him: how can you govern if there is no governing mechanism? You could create a
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plan, but nowadays people do not want to live by plans, they have had enough. And even if they wanted to, they will not be able to. We have proven convincingly to everybody and to ourselves that a society cannot develop through plans. The government can… until a certain moment when it becomes completely disconnected from society. We also discussed the fact that more and more often M.S. includes personal issues into cadres politics and politics in general. This discredits him. The most dangerous symptoms of this personalized reaction is his treatment of Yu. Afanasiev, Starkov’s work, his praises of Van’ka Frolov and the fact that he appointed his adviser as editor of Pravda. A couple of days before the trip to Finland, A.N. Yakovlev came to visit me. He has the same issue with Gorbachev’s ingratitude. He has not received a single “Thank you” in their five years of working together, not even for what Yakovlev initiated. Sure, he has a friendly relationship and trust (and sometimes a pretence of trust). But not a hint of recognition or reward. Most likely, Gorbachev does not want to identify himself with Yakovlev in front of the PB or CC (where they hate Yakovlev), or society. By identifying himself with Yakovlev he would be disassociating himself from Ligachev once and for all. He is keeping A.N. “for himself,” for when he needs some advice, or to assign him to write something. A.N. complains: during perestroika all the former and current PB members spoke at the November 7 (October revolution anniversary) and the Lenin days. Yakovlev was never assigned to do this. And this time Gorbachev gave the speech to the newly-made PB member Kryuchkov. A.N. is worried about it. For the umpteenth time he is “asking my advice” on whether he should retire. Of course I protest, even though I understand that he just wants to get it out of his system. If he were to actually leave, everybody would clearly see that it is the end of glasnost and Gorbachev is definitely heading down Nikita’s path. When I was walking him to the door, he asked me in a whisper: what is the deal with M.S. bringing up the idea that maybe it is time for him to retire? I answered that I am not surprised. When I went with him on vacation, sometimes I would hear about this on the airplane, when the three of us would be there: myself, M.S., and Raisa Maksimovna. This is her idea. Last January in Pitsunda and this summer in Foros she was arguing almost seriously, in my presence: “It is time, Mikhail Sergeyevich, to leave, to lead a private life and write your memoirs.” One cannot underestimate her influence on him. Once, she directly said: “Mikhail Sergeyevich, you have done your part.” I am re-reading “Gulag” in Novyi Mir [New World] No.9--about 1917-21. It is tendentious about the war, etc. It is not very historical. But… A year ago, M.S. declared that he will not let it be
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published. Now “Gulag” is being printed in both the leftist and rightist journals. Next year a complete works will come out. And most importantly, as V. Astafiev recently said in Komsomolka: this is a blow not only to the October ideology, but to all of history that claims we “really were building a bright future.” This is a blow with the weapon of morality. The power of language. Here it is mighty in its zeal.

November 6, 1989. “Forgive us, as we forgave you.” These are M.S.’ words to Ligachev at the PB. Ligachev, after yet another indignant reaction at the press, made a gesture to signify it is a lost cause and said: “You have put everything up for execution, trampled everything in the mud--the past and the present, there is nothing left.” Regarding one of Ryzhkov’s latest hysterias that the all one can hear from every side are cries about the crisis: “The economy--in crisis, society--in crisis, Party--in crisis, supply--in crisis. Everything!” M.S. pointed out: “But they are only repeating what we said ourselves, at the XIX Party conference among other things… when they start speaking of catastrophe, this is where I disagree.” M.S. must have remembered the note I forwarded him from the academician Goldansky when he said that we should examine anti-Semitism when creating a state committee on the nationalities question within the RSFSR government. Ligachev immediately reacted: well, then we should also examine Russophobia. M.S. stopped short and added: yes, of course, examine Russophobia as well. (Ligachev does not affect him as a personality, but through the layer of our country’s society he represents). Berdyaev’s opus Christianity and Anti-Semitism is relevant to the “Friendship of Nations” issue… We need to crush Pamyat’ with the help of our Russian classics. You cannot get them any other way. Not even them, but the stench with which they are filling society. I am getting tired of Gorbachev. Or rather, of his instrumental attitude to me. He is so sure that if I take up a task it will be done right, that he stopped “talking” with me. He no longer advises with me, only unburdens his mind on rare occasion. And now he almost never formulates ideas ahead of time for the assignments he gives me, as he used to do. This was the case with all the last visits: to England, the FRG, Paris, Strasbourg, Finland. In addition, he started heaping on me the preparation of all kinds of drafts for messages to foreign leaders, salutatory addresses for conferences and anniversaries. There are vast numbers of preliminary authors like the MFA, the Union of Soviet Friendship Societies, the International
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Department, the Peace Council, etc. But what they provide is “cud,” as he expressed himself, and he has stopped reading their precursory versions. If some text of a message or a telegram in his name, some greeting passed me by and goes to the PB, I later revise it overtop many PB members’ signatures. Then M.S. puts his final signature on it, taking my revisions into account and sometimes correcting me, as well. I am paying compliments to myself. I (truly) do not like doing this. I left Ponomarev’s school, where quality was determined by pleasing the superiors. My age does not allow me to engage in this. But this kind of work takes up 60-70 percent of my time and deprives me of the opportunity to think seriously and globally about the long-term outlook; to think substantially about major issues. Or else, I have to do it in a hurry and under pressure. He must think that I have no “personal life” and need no “free time.” That is why he calls me on Saturday, Sunday, late at night, sometimes at midnight. If he cannot reach me, he makes displeased jokes. Yes, of course, he has the CC, the Kremlin, his home, and the dacha with Raisa Maksimovna. All of it! My schedule is similar, but does not exactly coincide with his. I am cheating my real time. But there is barely any leeway for such cheating. He is very worried that the leaders of the regional deputies’ group (G. Popov, Yeltsin, Afanasiev…) have come together with the “workers movement”--Vorkuta, Sverdlovsk, Kuznets Basin, the nationals. They make up the ideological headquarters. The Cooperatives Union, for example, made an agreement to supply materials to the Vorkuta strike committee. They will be providing printing machines, paper, allowances for the strikers. In other words, they are giving the strikers an economic base. All of this is directed against Gorbachev’s perestroika. Askol’dov (the author and producer of the movie “The Commissar,” which spent over 10 years lying on a shelf) described a meeting with Yeltsin, Afanas’ev, and Popov at the Palace of Film. When greeting Yeltsin, the “intelligentsia” gave a standing ovation for several minutes, yelling hysterically… And had the same reaction to all of his and Yu. Afanas’ev’s anti-Gorbachev’s tricks. This is low and disgraceful. This is not a real intelligentsia… It only inherited the superficial traits from the classical Russian intelligentsia which we thrice destroyed, but there is no trace of its essence.

November 10, 1989. The Berlin Wall has fallen. An entire era in the history of the “socialist system” has come to an end.
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Honecker fell after the PUWP and the HSWP; today we got a message that Zhivkov is “leaving.” Only our “best friends” are left: Castro, Ceausescu, and Kim Il-Sung, who hate our guts. The most important, however, is the GDR and the Berlin Wall. This is no longer a matter of socialism, but of a change in the world balance of powers, the end of Yalta, the end of Stalin’s legacy and the defeat of Nazi Germany in the Great War. This is what Gorbachev has done! He is truly a great man because he sensed the footsteps of history and helped it to follow its natural course. A meeting with Bush is approaching. Will we witness a historic conversation? There are two main ideas in the instructions M.S. gave me to prepare materials: the role of two superpowers in leading the world to a civilized state and the balance of interests. But Bush might disregard our arguments… We do not really have anything to show except for our past a the fear that we could return to totalitarianism. It is Slutsky’s 70th anniversary in the Writers House. I knew Slutsky. I used to visit him at home in his truly barracks-like apartment near the airport, back in the days when his wonderful Tanya was still with us.

November 12, 1989. I am under pressure at work. It is time to be preparing for Italy, Malta is approaching rapidly, while I am stuck with routine work: [Roland] Dumas, [Rita] Süssmuth, Kohl (yesterday M.S. spoke with him on the phone). Last night he once again assigned me to write the text for the upcoming speech at a student form (he will be speaking after Medvedev, Ivan Frolov, Yakovlev). I spent all evening and this morning working on it. I am performing my usual task--expressing ideas in literary language. While I’m at it, I took out some stuff, for example more railing against the press. I wonder if he will notice. Yesterday we talked for a long time. He called me from his car. He was affected by my note, in which I wrote about A.N. Yakovlev (regarding the fact that M.S. subordinated him to Medvedev for the preparation of the Party Congress) and what this means in light of the upcoming “dialectical overcoming of Lenin”… He justified himself by saying that what is important is the cause, not ambitions (one of his favorite words). Most importantly, he criticized the intelligentsia, who is criticizing him for coming down hard on the left. He had to do this because the left is provoking the right; they “mobilize” them with their shouts and attacks on Lenin, the October, socialism… They raise a panic without understanding that for me (Gorbachev) the path backwards or to the right is closed. I am doomed to
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go forward and only forward, and if I take a step sideways, both I am my cause will perish. How could they think that I am with Ligachev?! Etc. He cursed. By the way, Yakovlev told me that he witnessed a scene in which Van’ka came into M.S.’ office and said, “M.S., I spent time with some of my friends over the holidays and I have come to the conclusion that I must tell you this (he was shaking as he spoke): you have to get rid of Ligachev. People’s disdain and hatred towards him is boundless. And most importantly--there is a growing sense that you and he are on the same page! That you are only pretending to be a perestroika-man…” I asked A.N. about M.S. reaction. He said M.S. started pacing around the office. He was silent, and finally said: That is quite a dilemma you presented me with… That was the end of the episode.

December 31, 1989. This is the last entry of the passing year. I would like to sum it up in the form of a New Year’s address to Gorbachev.

For you this was a year to create the environment to break out of the crisis. The year 1990 will be a year of decisions. They depend on you (alas, the country holds on to the inertia of the cult of personality). You are falling behind. Some journals are saying that you have already stopped. Gefter from Moskovskie Novosti [Moscow news] wrote: “Gorbachev is stuck because he is not an opponent to himself.” I have been with you for four years. I observed from the inside how you, appealing to Lenin, rejected you own postulates if they were refuted by real life. You still have a great deal of fear that everything will fall apart if we renounce all the old foundations and levers of power. People are tired of your endless references to socialist values, which have long since lost their worth (such as the right to work, social protection, etc). What happened with your rejection to introduce new laws in the fall (1989) to regulate land, property, the republics’ economic independence, the division of power between regions and the center?.. In August, in Crimea you told me about this. Moreover, you had me prepare a speech for TV, in which you would promise this to the country. (It never took place). Now, it was you who made sure that these laws were postponed until 1990. Why? You are afraid of these laws. But it is a step you are going to have to take. For how long did you oppose at the Supreme Soviet the laws granting the Baltic States economic independence?
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Nevertheless, on the night before the decisive session you told me on the phone: I have decided. This is going to be a major step. You started the foolish ordeal with the Constitutional Oversight Committee at the Congress. Everybody could see how unreasonable your stubbornness and lack of argumentation was. Twice, the Congress was shaken up because of this; first when it was put on the agenda, and then while adopting the resolution. But there is still no committee! We only elected the chairman and deputy chairman, and the committee is supposed to (according to the law) start working on January 1st! This is absurd. Why did you do this? Is it a straw--to save the Union from collapse, to rein in the republics? But these reins will become taut and snap at the slightest turn. You fought desperately against abolishing clause 6 of the Constitution. You tried to use the “obedient” majority at the Congress for this. I can understand your apprehension that it will spur “pogroms” against the regional committees and the oblast committees, stripping them of the party property, which they amassed at the nation’s expense. The PB will lose the legal right to be a de facto ruling organ. However, this is inevitable. Why draw it out, thereby increasing hatred among the population toward the party’s monopoly on power? Meanwhile, it cannot even use the power anymore. Look at the PB meetings… they discuss, criticize, hear proposals, and produce the habitual drawn-out resolutions on many sheets. But none of them, with the exception of supplying more weapons to Iraq or Iran, get implemented. “In your heart” you have taken the course to transfer real power from the party to the Supreme Soviet. So what are you afraid of? Ligachev and his cronies at the Plenum? There is a suspicion going around, since he sits next to you at the Plenums and the word is given to each of you in turn (as if he is the “second in command” after you!). You are always communicating with him: joking, laughing, exchanging views, whispering with each other and showing in every way that you and he are in perfect harmony. This is hypocrisy. And it is disorienting people… Are you seriously afraid of him? You think he represents the party? Then the party is really in bad shape. In that case you have to transfer power to the Supreme Soviet as soon as possible and create an executive cabinet under the President. In the course of the Plenum, backstage over tea you decided to “fight” and threatened to resign. Ryzhkov urged you to stay, saying that we started all of this together, etc. Nobody took your threat seriously. But Yakovlev promised to resign if he continues to be treated like a whipping boy at the PB and the Plenums.
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M.S. shared his impressions of the Plenum with me, which he said was worse than the December (12.9) and April ones. I told him that he needs to do away with these kinds of Plenums if he wants to keep the party for perestroika. The majority of this Plenum and the CC do not accept perestroika and despise you. My boys from the International Department--Ostroumov, Yakovlev’s adviser Kosolapov--were sitting next to the generals on the balcony. Similarly to Plenums in the past, they could hear the spiteful commentary the generals exchanged amongst themselves. When at the December Plenum Gorbachev said that he will resign (after Mel’nikov’s speech, in which he declared that Gorbachev’s politics are aimed at pleasing the bourgeoisie and the Pope) the generals said almost in unison: “It’s about time!” At the last Plenum Gorbachev again “banged his fist on the table” in response to the demand to prohibit Sajudis and expel Brazauskas from the party. He said that he will conduct the policies he followed all along, not any other, and he will not allow blood to flow. He has made his choice. Otherwise he will leave. The generals on the balcony reacted to that: “That’s some threat he came up with! Would be great if he left!” A kind of “spot” has formed in the auditorium where the Plenum is held, about 10 by 20 square meters, which holds 150-200 people. Concentrated in this spot are those who hiss and drown out any reasonable idea. When we were discussing the outcomes of the Plenum at the PB, Gorbachev asked why the others, those who support perestroika, are quiet in the auditorium. He asked me that question as well. I told him: they were quiet until you exploded in one of your brilliant impromptu speeches. Until that point they simply did not know how to support you. At the Congress and at the December Plenum you let Ligachev speak before you, and his speech was directed against you and all your philosophy and policies. During a break in the Congress, behind the scenes, you even praised Ligachev for his essentially anti-perestroika speech. You said that he stood up for the Party! At the Plenum Ligachev made a speech that inspired his supporters in “the spot.” They saw that they can put you down. Your report on Lithuania contained both elements. On the one hand you swore that you will never resort to force; on the other hand you gave questionable arguments on what you are going to do to keep Lithuania. People could read the ambiguity in any way they wanted to. Supporters of perestroika (i.e. the CC members who are ready to defend you) were afraid to find themselves in the wrong boat because they could not understand your true intentions. Only when you “banged the table” did Ul’yanov, Zakharov, Ivanova, Novozhilov and others come up to the podium. The Ligachev crowd immediately grew quiet. This is the explanation. The Party is expecting clarity from you. Even Sakharov said: Gorbachev has to finally decide whether he is with the apparatus or with
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the people. While you are publicly embracing Ligachev, whom you despise, there will be no renewal in the party. M.S. knows how to be cunning! Fifteen hundred people signed up to speak at the Congress. Only a few over four hundred got the chance. But Gorbachev made sure to give the podium to Yu. Afanasiev, even though he knew what the latter had to say—he spoke against Ryzhkov’s economic plan. M.S. used Afanasiev in his concluding remarks, as he connected Ryzhkov’s plan with the urgent need to adopt new laws on property, land, regional independence, etc. at the next Supreme Soviet session. He not only created a connection between the two, but hinged the plan’s success on the passage of the laws. I cannot understand whether it is a politician’s intuition or the old fear to break with the “friends” in the PB. Ryzhkov’s plan was confirmed not only at the PB but at the December Plenum as well. My evaluation matched Yakovlev’s. He came to me on the third day after speaking with M.S. I don’t know whether he really said to him what he told me: “Mikhail Sergeyevich, you should have stood up and left at that moment when you exploded and uttered the indignant words against the pogrom-minded crowd (“blood,” “ruled out,” “persecute”). You should have said that you cannot and do not want to work with such a Plenum. This is what I would have done in your place. I assure you that Medvedev, Shevardnadze, Kryuchkov, Slyunkov and maybe even Ryzhkov would have followed you.” To that I added: Over a hundred people would have gotten up and left the auditorium. Split in the party? So what! At some point it has to be done. It is impossible to continue perestroika with this crowd. Either it will ruin you together with perestroika, or you have to cut it off, maybe together with the CPSU in its present nomenclature form. M.S. once asked me over the phone whether I am thinking about the platform for the CC January Plenum, i.e. the discussions before the Congress. I am. I wrote a draft platform. Sent it to him. No response. I am certain that yet another 80-100 pages of nonsense will be composed for the Congress under Medvedev’s guidance. Gorbachev is going to Lithuania. For a while now, I have been advising him to “let it go” like Latvia and Estonia. Shakhnazarov suggested to him to go there not with admonitions and arguments, but with an offer to sign an agreement with the Soviet Union (as many other countries, including Central Asia, they did not sign a treaty of alliance in 1922-4). But once again he will only draw it out and increase the tension, as already happened two years ago with the recognition of the secret Ribbentrop-Molotov pact. Back then, this problem did not have to become the symbol of
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separatism and provoke people to come out with candles and torches to form lines of hundreds of kilometers on August 23. This could have been prevented. He thought it would be fine. But it was not, Mikhail Sergeyevich! Eventually, after Yakovlev’s committee (on the 1939 Pact), the Congress adopted an ever harsher resolution, virtually condemning the Pact, than it would have, had we in due time admitted at least that it was a mistake…

*** Postscript for 1989 I would like to direct the reader’s attention to the last entry—December 31. It contains a summary of the year as I envisioned it at the time. Here, I will describe how the author sees it from the distance of over ten years. During this year, the Soviet state started to crumble. The center of power—the Politburo— lost its authority and the ability to enforce its decisions. It became a place for discussion about the inexorably deteriorating situation in the country. The Politburo virtually divided into two camps: supporters of Gorbachev and Ligachev. But neither of these groups was cohesive. The persistent refusal to split the Party and discard the burden of its reactionary part became more and more dangerous to perestroika. In the regions, the Party rapidly lost its power functions. The Soviets proved to be incapable of assuming power. One can only wonder that the state survived two more years… In most of the country, it must have been primarily due to the inertia of horizontal economic and administrative interdependence developed over decades. The Soviet system and the CPSU were losing their legitimacy. The Center no longer had control over society. The heavy criticism of the Soviet system and Soviet history (practically a denunciation and discrediting) did not meet a serious ideological and political resistance. The intelligentsia did not accept Gorbachev’s attempts to stop this destructive process through arguments and admonitions. Meanwhile, Gorbachev rejected the demands of his colleagues to use force: it would have called into question all his policies and the philosophy of perestroika; it would have been the end of glasnost and of the democratization course. The fall of ideology took out one of the two main pillars that held the stability of Soviet society. The other one—fear and repressions—had been removed by Gorbachev even earlier. A great number of all sorts of political clubs, blocs, unions, societies, associations, “tribunes,” “People’s fronts,” “platforms,” “movements,” etc., sprung up. They did not form a
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united opposition but in general presented a broad anti-Gorbachev and anti-communist position, aimed at taking power. The opposition grew impetuously in correlation with the sharp deterioration of the economic situation (the “empty store shelves”). The Inter-regional Group of People’s Deputies (Yu. Afanasiev, Boris Yeltsin, Gavriil Popov, Anatoly Sobchak and others) emerged as the opposition leader, with a program that was called the “Five Ds:” de-monopolization, decentralization, de-Partization, de-ideologization, and democratization. An opposition movement formed within the Party itself, the “CPSU democratic platform,” which extended its influence to about 40 percent of Party members. The collapse of the planned economy became irreversible, opening the playing field for “shadow merchants” and new “market participants” who in essence acted on the basis of private property. Significant material resources were concentrated in this environment (which was technically a thieves’ operation). People and groups from this milieu also wanted to play political role, at this point mostly from behind the scenes. The “nationalities bomb” exploded. In the Caucasus, a real war broke out between Azerbaijan and Armenia over Karabakh. The Baltic States were de facto no longer under Moscow’s control. The Russian factor, the most dangerous for the integrity of the “empire,” came up. Together with it arose the “Yeltsin factor” and received strong support from the quickly-forming workers and strikers movements (aside from influential political forces). The year’s paradox is that in contrast to the breakdown of the state, 1989 was the year that brought forth the truly historic fruit of Gorbachev’s foreign policy: the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan; the permanent rejection of the expansionist component from USSR’s international activity; the fall of the Berlin Wall and start of German reunification; the Malta Conference, which signified the end of the Cold War; the beginning of Eastern European countries’ exit from the “socialist commonwealth” and the liquidation of “communist” regimes there as the result of Gorbachev’s rejection of the use of force to preserve it. The 1989 entries are saturated with personal feelings and impressions. They include a great deal about Gorbachev as a person and a statesman; critical observations of his behavior in various situations. Sometimes his actions could be contradictory, and they were not always suitable to his level. However, the author of these entries is not inclined to accuse Gorbachev of any grave mistakes. Overall, this is not about mistakes. Long before Gorbachev came to power, the Soviet system exhausted its historic mission in Russia, and was doomed to dissipate. Objectively, perestroika could not have saved it; and as it turned out, this was not one of its goals. Nobody could
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have stopped the flow of events that was spurred by the Russian understanding of “freedom,” granted by Gorbachev. It is no accident that responsible, competent and sufficiently numerous people did not come forth from the Stalinist era cadres to organize the movement to the new quality of society.

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January 1, 1990. To continue last year’s theme: around a month and a half ago, after yet another meeting with a foreign politician, M.S. [Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev] told me, then Shakhnazarov, then Yakovlev: “I have fulfilled my mission!” It is true. But I do not think that he will want to leave. It is more likely that he will have to become “president,” which will bring about another “pause”—people will be looking to see how he will take charge and manage things without the burden of Ligachev, the PB [Politburo], and the CC [Central Committee]. I re-read The History of Pugachev after coming back from the dacha (I was still under the spell of The Squire’s Daughter, which I found on my bed-side table). How simple things were back then! Words meant what they meant, moral norms were indubitable, the Motherland was always right, etc. That is why the language that Pushkin made to correspond with the norms of the time was so clear and simple. January 2, 1990. Glancing at my last diary entry, I realized that there was not a word about M.S.’ visit to Italy, nor the Pope, nor Malta. There is absolutely no time to write and, most importantly, I don’t know how to telegraphically summarize (like in Blok’s diaries!) the essence of my views on current events (although this method leaves a great deal unexplained). So: we were in Italy on November 24-30th, then Malta—on the ship “Maxim Gorky” from November 30th to December 2nd. I am used to such trips and they do not particularly excite me personally. I try to avoid formal events (lunches, banquets), and this time I visited only one--at the Prime Minister’s at Capitoline. I found myself in the company of such talkative women at the reception (they spoke French) that with the accompaniment of wine I allowed myself to use my French to have a hearty conversation. A propos! I lived with M.S. at the “Abimelech,” plus two secretaries. Not a comfortable setup. As usual, there is a lot of work and commotion, no time to think ponder the essence of things and to reflect. Again and again we saw the people’s fantastically sincere sympathy with Gorbachev, at times multiplied by the Italian temperament. This is not just popularity… The talks and the signed documents don’t seem significant: all of this has already been done before with other countries and so far little of it is being turned into action (for us and for them). The heart of the matter is the change of atmosphere in the general political situation.
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I felt this most acutely in Milan. It was some kind of mass hysteria. The cars could barely move through the crowds along the streets. When M.S. stepped out on the La Scala square and started walking to the Municipality, something unbelievable was going on… the crowd was a solid mass, which barely parted to let him take a few steps. Everywhere, in the windows, on the rails, on any protruding surface people were on top of each other. There was a deafening cry of “Gorby! Gorby!” The police was trampled. The security services had a heart attack. Only innate culture prevented people from crushing each other to death. Later, after M.S.’ speech at the Municipality (as he later admitted, he botched the speech because he was in shock and couldn’t find the right words) he came out and a group of women broke through to his car. You could tell by their clothes that they were from the high circles of society, the establishment. Utterly hysterical, with tears in their eyes, they threw themselves at the car windows, when the guards tore them away they tried to run back, etc. What is this? In the past we did not know and could not understand to what terror we subjected Europe with our military might, our 1968, our Afghanistan; and the shock the Europeans felt after we installed the SS-20s. We did not want to know this: we were demonstrating socialism’s power. And now Gorby removed this terror. The country now appears to be normal, even unfortunate. This is it! This is why now Gorbachev is not just the “man of the year” but the “man of the decade.” Again and again: with our revolutions we give more to others than to ourselves. We arrived in Malta at night, and again we were met with a pandemonium by the Palace in honor of Gorby’s visit. About Malta—Gorbachev-Bush. A lot has been written on this “event of the century,” about everything related to it. Arbatov, who hates expenditures on the naval forces, expressed himself in his sarcastically-Jewish manner: I told you that the naval forces are useless, plus the rightness of “Socialist Realism” (this is regarding the fact that we provided the ship “Maxim Gorky.” Initially the plan was to conduct the meetings in turn on the American frigate and our cruiser, but a storm got in the way. We had to conduct the talks on our ship). Now, getting to the point. Despite the sensational nature of the event, I did not for a second hold my breath in excitement. To me (maybe because I am tired, constantly worried not to forget or miss something) it seemed like a regular, normal affair… M.S. acted like he and Bush were old pals—frank and simple, and openly well-intentioned. M.S. knows that the negotiations over how many missiles to we cut back on today or tomorrow are not the deciding matter. The deciding factor is that the USSR and U.S. are no longer enemies. This is the most important thing. Khrushchev also wanted this, but ideology got in his way. He wanted to win the “war” in favor of socialism and to bury capitalism, without starting a war or spilling a drop of blood.
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M.S. does not believe in any ideology. He often says: are we supposed to duel just because we believe in different gods? This is not just a funny metaphor, it is his true conviction. He knows that nobody will start a war against us. There is no real military threat. We need the army for the superpower prestige, and internally because there is nothing we can do with it right now. It has turned into an organic burden on society. There are more marshals and generals in Moscow alone than in the rest of the world combined! This is a political and social problem. It is fine that Arbatov and “Ogonek” are yelping at Yazov and Akhromeev and tearing at their coattails, they’re in a good spot! But what is it like for Gorbachev with this horde and armada! In a word, Gorbachev played up the symbolism so beloved by people in the West to do away with the “Soviet threat.” Truly, it is unlikely that anybody believes in it anymore, except for the most unenlightened… For in reality it does not exist while there is Gorbachev and perestroika. Both of them (M.S. and Bush) truly looked “good” together—and gave hope to all of humanity. I did not fly to Moscow with everybody after Malta, but as agreed beforehand with M.S., I returned to Rome on the invitation of Rubbi-Occhetto and spent the night at our embassy. I spent five days in Italy, walking around the streets and museums, visiting Rubbi and Boffa. More about this later. About the Pope. “For them” it is another great event, but for us it passed almost without notice. It did not even have an impact on the events in Lvov. However, it takes time to evaluate the consequences of such a meeting. History will be its judge. I was not present during the oneon-one meeting with the Pope (unlike the meeting with Bush), but read the transcript. They spoke like two good Christians, but modern and politicized. There was a Politburo scheduled for today. On the 31st I was notified in an unusual manner: “Comrade Gorbachev is inviting you…” (as opposed to the usual “such-and-such a date, at such-and-such an hour”). There was an alarm from Yakovlev and Gusenkov that there would be a final “conversation” on who stands for what and with whom. Shakhnazarov called an hour ago. He was there. Nothing happened. M.S. calmly reviewed the year (like his New Year’s address), there was a bit of discussion; he talked about (Ryzhkov’s) economic program that was approved at the Congress. He said that work should start on day one; stated that 1990 will be the deciding year. If we do not change the situation with supplies for the better, “we have to leave.” He scheduled the Supreme Soviet Presidium for January 4th, and the Supreme Soviet itself for February 15th. But he identified for discussion at the Supreme Soviet only… the tax code! (Again lagging on private property and land).

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Then they discussed the topic for the Congress. Medvedev prepared a platform for discussion—85 pages! M.S. proposed to reduce it to 50, some to 40, and Shakhnazarov called out, “20!” “But,” he added, “I was not heard.” (This means my project is completely sidelined!) Medvedev suggested to develop the theme of “workers private property” for the platform (it is Gorbachev’s device to cover new ideas with old words. This device is sometimes handy, but more often a hindrance). They discussed what to do with Eastern Europe. M.S. proposed to analyze and project; paying particular attention to the fact that Communists have been removed from power, and in some places sentenced to oblivion. The question is what to do with East European Communist parties. He again complained that, “where we are late, there will be an inevitable outbreak,” even in such economically sound countries as the GDR and Czechoslovakia. There was a discussion on when he should go to Lithuania. Someone (Shakhnazarov did not say who) suggested to stall it as long as possible. For this is our last chance. If matters follow the same course, it will be a blow to M.S.’ prestige and perestroika’s authority. Lukyanov added (and he is right): “The new Communist Party of Lithuania will vehemently defend its decisions. This is the only way to get results at the elections. If it budges, it will be obliterated!” In a word, it is better not to go without Shakhnazarov’s idea, without the proposal to make an agreement between “Lithuania and the USSR,” or it will be a total failure. That was it. It seems Yakovlev was keeping quiet. They also talked about Azerbaijan, where the People’s Front practically has the power and where the situation on the Iranian border is becoming more and more dangerous. A breakthrough of women and children is being prepared under the banner of the Great Azerbaijan! No conclusions were reached. In a word, M.S. is again acting his role of unifier, pacifier, and adviser. Dangerous! January 3, 1990. I leaning more and more (with my experience, in which my entire life and politics is turned towards Gorbachev) to the idea that until he throws off the image of “a communist who is true to socialist values,” he will not be able to move perestroika any further. Society has gone too far from this concept, while the “Party” clings on to it in order to pull is back—to socialism without Stalin and repressions, to “that very one” that was “mostly built.” Gusenkov told me that M.S. and the team have set out for Novo-Ogarevo to prepare the Plenum (on the pre-congress Platform), which is scheduled for January 29-30th.
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It seems that the year 1990 will be the last in my political life… What am I saying— “seems.” It is certain: and the final point will be the Party Congress in October. (How many times have I tried to convince M.S. to convene the Congress as soon as possible—an urgent one to replace the CC!). Most likely this is the extent of my physical life. I can’t remember whether I predicted it already in ’89? But now it is more realistic. January 4, 1990. This morning I was reading Marquis de Sade. It’s an interesting read, even though it’s not the first time that I’m turning to these two volumes, bought in Rome 10 years ago. In any case, the enlightenment aspect is obvious and besides it’s a historical era! But the passions are still the same. Voinovich’s Ivankiada is printed in “Druzhba Nadorov” [Friendship of Nations] No. 12. I’m falling behind the events… At least I have time to think. My prediction is that we will be saved when perestroika becomes routine, when the people will become nationalized, under the condition that the food situation in Russian will improve at least a little bit. But the Union will begin to “contract.” The Baltics will become a “negotiated” part of the Union… while Russia will be expanded from within by the Tatars, Bashkir, Yakut, Komi, etc. January 6, 1990. It turns out I needn’t have written my draft of the Platform. At work I mostly caught up on the information I missed during my illness. M.S. is working in the CC but called me only towards the evening. He says: “I read your ‘memo’ to the fellows at Volynskoe (all the teams are there right now to prepare materials for the Plenum and for Lithuania). Everybody liked it… Let them work on it, then we’ll get together in a narrow circle and finish it up before the Plenum.” He was cheerful and animated. Following my suggestion he cancelled all his meetings before the New Year (Modrow, Gyzi, Assad, Kinnock, Abe, Auren, Delors, Walesa, and somebody else). Then all of a sudden yesterday morning Falin tells me that from a car phone he received instructions to prepare a meeting with Abe for January 15th. (I saw it immediately: Yakovlev’s work, he was in Japan recently). I write M.S. a note: what are you doing? How will the others take it when you refuse them? In the evening, when he called me, I started on this subject again. “It’s alright Tolya, he just needs 20 minutes of my time for the TV. You guessed “source” correctly though! (laughing)… As for Kinnock and the others, we’ll be fine without them, as long as perestroika is alive!” (laughing again)

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By the way, some American correspondent managed to get me on the phone last night and persistently kept asking me why M.S. cancelled all the meetings. “Is the internal situation that bad? Or is he ill?!” Today these speculations are already circulating around TASS. It appears the West could not care less that M.S. doesn’t have a moment to catch his breath… he has less time and more on his plate than Bush, Thatcher and Mitterrand, who can afford to appear before the press practically every day. January 21, 1990. Today is the anniversary of Lenin’s death. Unnoticeable. On January 15th there was a meeting between M.S. and Abe… there were broad hints at the possibility of resolving some “difficult questions” (the islands). Japan is buzzing with guesses and discussions. M.S. later told me: “They will have to be disappointed in Gorbachev.” By the way, Yeltsin was recently in Japan and proposed a reasonable plan (his whole “lecture” there was right on the dot, regrettably… he was also calmer regarding Gorbachev, but pointed correctly at the dangers and weaknesses). On January 16th there was a meeting with Perez de Cuellar. It was just… polite empty politeness. No matter how hard we try to squeeze some real universalism from the UN, all we’ve been able to get so far is only symbolic. Together with Petrovsky, the MFA and Zagladin we prepared a speech for M.S. for the forum on ecology-survival. He presented it on January 19th and I heard he was pleased with himself: foreigners from 83 countries created a “euphoria” for him. This stands in contrast to the meeting with the workers, peasants and the engineer-technical personnel at the Kremlin Palace (18-19th), where he recycled the same tired wordage and he was asked trite and shameless questions by the “representatives” of the working class… they heaped him with outraged questions along the lines of “do you have any idea what’s happening in the provinces,” and with production?! Why does he need these “meetings” on TV?.. They only demonstrate the Center’s and his own inability to deal with the economic crisis. Yeltsin predicted that M.S. has enough credit left for less than a year. Yesterday morning the PB held a secret meeting on Azerbaijan. Ivan Frolov later told me that M.S. is leaning towards convening the Congress in June! So it plays out according to Yeltsin: more and more, M.S. listens only to himself. Last summer, Frolov and I tried to convince him that the Congress should have been held in ’89, before the Supreme Soviet, or at least before the Congress of the People’s Deputies. He eventually came to this conclusion himself, but again the moment has passed… And his attempts to keep the party are causing him to lose it, while he is left entangled with Ligachev & Co., the Department of Party

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Organizational Work and other departments, not to mention the obkom [oblast committee] leaders, like the recently expelled Bogomiakov (in Tyumen). I was not at the forum myself, as I had prompted him to give me and Shakhnazarov an assignment to completely rework the Platform, which he is bringing to the Plenum on January 29-30th and to pre-Congress discussion. The one prepared by Medvedev & Co. over the course of four months and then “attuned” under M.S.’ own leadership in Novo-Ogarevo (Yakovlev, Medvedev, Frolov, Boldin and myself) was sickening: 54 pages of muddled soup, with barely discernible thoughts and positions. So: M.S. asked me twice about the impression I got from his trip to Lithuania. I said: you might have made the process of leaving [the Union] a little more civilized, but you didn’t stop it… and the most important thing in this regard is the Plenum—in Lithuania you made public promises about the Platform, saying it would have everything. But they will not see in it what you promised—regarding the federation, socialism, the Party, and about Stalinism (you called the regime totalitarian for the first time)… i.e. you went much further [in Lithuania] than what is in the Novo-Ogarevo 54-page version. Something has to be done about this. He says: yes, we came up with some kind of murky product. You know… why don’t you and Shakhnazarov go to Volynskoe and make a new version before the PB (January 22). Can you do it? And make it concise and programmatic, not drawn out. I’ll be grading you! Shakh and I withdrew ourselves and worked according to the following method: I edited him, he edited me, then I him again and he me. I re-write, he finishes up. In 72 hours we put together a version that was only half as long. On Friday evening I sent it to M.S. There has been no reaction yet; he’s been busy elsewhere… a war has started in Azerbaijan. It’s a state of emergency, people are shooting at soldiers, the soldiers started shooting back, there are hundreds of casualties… the People’s Front of Azerbaijan has turned to the world community—to save the people from genocide by the Russians, etc. M.S. is in endless meetings, yesterday made a solemn speech on TV. But Baku is raging under different flags, despite the curfew and tanks… By now the main motto is—leave the USSR. M.S. does not have a political solution, except for the natural responsibility of protecting the people from pogroms, massacres, having Armenians burned in the streets, and the like. The situation in Lithuania and the events in Azerbaijan have incited demonstrations in Krasnodar, Stavropol, Rostov on the Don, Tuapse, and the Cossack villages and communities in the North Caucasus, where Yazov (the idiot) ordered to call up the reservists. This caused a wave of protests: “No to a new Afghanistan!” “Why must Russian men die because of these Armenians and Azerbaijanis! Let them figure it out themselves, and in the meanwhile they are speculating in our markets!”… etc.

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So, under the influence of all of this I remembered Astaf’ev-Rasputin’s “concept” (plus, I am reading V. Solovyov’s Russkii vopros [The Russian Question]) and started leaning towards the idea that the USSR’s multinational problem can only be solved through the “Russian question”… Let Russia leave the USSR and let the others “do as they please.” Although, if Ukraine leaves too, for a while we will cease being a “great power.” So what, we’ll survive! And we will eventually return this “title” through the revival of Russia. By the way, Yeltsin said that he is running for the RSFSR Supreme Soviet and wants to become its president! I think he will go down this path. As for Gorbachev, he is no longer trusted with this post in Russia. That’s how it plays out: Yeltsin will reap the fruit of a great historical change for which everyone—Russia and the whole world—are indebted to Gorbachev. Yesterday at the CC I was reading up on the events in the world. Eastern Europe is pushing away from us completely and there is nothing we can do… It is becoming more and more evident that the All-European home will get started without us, without the USSR, which for now (!) can exist in its neighborhood! The Communist Movement is crumbling everywhere. A new, totally new era is upon us… We need to move decisively and boldly away from the stereotypes of Leninism, otherwise we will be left on the outskirts of world history. Meanwhile, “fears” from the past still hold Gorbachev by the coattails. It seems that with his instinct and heart he is eager to reach new freedoms, but his reason cannot grasp everything… or he is afraid to “draw conclusions”— political ones. January 28, 1990. On Monday there was PB, discussing the “CPSU Platform” composed by Skakh and me and edited by M.S. The level [of discussion] is hopelessly bad. Although Egor did “quiet down” and was not too aggressive, though he did say that he is strongly opposed to “a multiparty system.” By the way, M.S. picked new secretaries for the PB: Usmanov, Stroev, Girenko, Manaenkov, etc. “Good guys.” But they shouldn’t be above the level of a mid-level oblast committee. Why should they be in the highest echelon? He himself keeps talking about intellectual potential! Nevertheless on Monday M.S. called together Yakovlev, Medvedev, Frolov, Boldin, Shakhnazarov, and me. He “interpreted” the PB’s outcomes, so Shakhnazarov and I would edit our text accordingly.

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We spent the whole day in his office. He did not give up his positions on the multi-party system and private property, but ordered that we make it “more rounded.” He agreed with me that the term “Marxism-Leninism” should not be allowed into the Platform. The next day Shakhnazarov and I went back to Volynskoe—we had three days to work. Although he assigned the social-economic section to Boldin and Petrakov (a corresponding member, his new adviser), we still had to rework what they sent us. The work was boisterous and exciting. We pretty much had to rewrite the main parts of the text; not without some Shakhnazarov-Chernyaev conflicts. But I was compromisingly stubborn and even declared to Zhorka—“then we will offer alternative texts: your version and my version.” M.S. laughed about this… Shakhnazarov has a very strong legalistic, jurisprudential “flux,” which separates him from Soviet realities and goes against Gorbachev’s tactics of introducing new (even purely Western) ideas without provoking the mastodons (this is not always good and proper, but on the whole it was this technique that brought success to democratization and glasnost). Yesterday we presented the material to M.S. He went over it and the new draft was sent out to the PB. Yakovlev appeared at Volynskoe unexpectedly. At first I thought maybe M.S. sent him to manage over us for a bit. Turned out it was “worse…” In strict secrecy he told me that M.S. called him to his office twice, and once even came over to Yakovlev’s office himself. He is frustrated, anxious, and lonely. Asking what to do with Azerbaijan, Lithuania, the economy, “radicals,” “social-democrats”… and people are on the edge. What did Yakovlev say he told M.S. (and the latter listened)? “You have to act. The biggest obstacle to perestroika and your entire politics is the Politburo, then the Plenum. There is no need to convene it so often. If you continue to delay taking power, everything will fall apart. In the next couple of weeks, maybe instead of the Supreme Soviet that is scheduled for the middle of February, you should convene a Congress of People’s Deputies and establish presidential power. Let the Congress elect you president.” (By the way, M.S. agreed with this in principle even in Novo-Ogarevo and the idea was even included in the second draft of the Platform, which was at the PB on January 22nd. But there wasn’t enough resolution to do it immediately, without delaying it till May or the fall). “Thus,” A.N. [Yakovlev] continued, “to concentrate the real, plenipotentiary State power in your hands, removing the Politburo and even the talkative Supreme Soviet from the levers of power.” “In the next few days before the Plenum, which is now scheduled for February 5-6,” Yakovlev continued, “appear on TV and make a direct appeal to the people, accepting full
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responsibility for the truly emergency program according the formula: land to the peasants, factories to the workers, real independence for republics, not a Union state, but a union of states, multi-party system and the practical rejection of CPSU’s monopoly, large loans from the West, military reform—get rid of the generals and replace them with Colonels, recall troops from Eastern Europe, liquidate the Ministries, sharply reduce the apparatus—all forms of it, etc. Plus, special emphasis (in the TV speech) on a series of emergency economic measures (in principle— private enterprise; apparently, Slyunkov, who is in opposition to Ryzhkov-Maslyukov, has a preparatory paper on this)… Furthermore: start the process of replacing Ryzhkov. You cannot make any reforms with a Premier who thinks on the level of a factory director, with State Planning that was raised on the methods of the military-industrial complex.” “And who instead?” M.S. asked Yakovlev. “There are plenty of people, you just have to take them more boldly, that’s what a revolution is for!” Yakovlev did not let me know what M.S. agreed with and what he didn’t. M.S. followed his usual course, telling Yakovlev to “go to Volynskoe, lock the doors there and don’t tell anyone a word. Take a couple trusted people with you who know how to write, and prepare a speech for TV, we’ll go from there.” I responded to Yakovlev: in a word, we are talking about a coup d’Etat here… “Yes,” A.N. agreed. “And we cannot delay.” Yakovlev is also very opposed to rescheduling the Party Congress to June. M.S. agreed to this at the meeting of workers and engineer-technical personnel in the Kremlin on January 1819th. Yakovlev is against it because the apparatus together with the “working class” will send to the Congress the kind of people who will break the necks of both Gorbachev and perestroika too. The Congress will oppose itself to the parliament and we will have chaos… In general, Yakovlev is proposing that the Party is “pushed aside” right now—let it go down the path of the SED and the CPCz, PUWP, i.e. to fall apart or turn into one of the social-democratic parties (Yu. Afanas’ev already created an association of social-democratic parties in Tallinn), etc. A rebellion has indeed started in the party, but as they say, it is ambiguous: the Leningrad affair, Bogomyakov was expelled in Tyumen, in Volgograd it was Kalashnikov. The CC apparatus in Baku expelled Vezirov from the Party. But who is replacing them? Younger and worse people— anti-Gorbachev representatives of the very “working class,” the mythology of which Gorbachev can’t seem to shake. Gorbachev is hesitating… Thus, the coming week (the CC Plenum (5-6th), if it’s not cancelled) could be decisive. It could… but most likely will not be. But we really cannot delay any longer.
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On Thursday (January 25th) M.S. called us from Volynskoe (Yakovlev, me and Shakhnazarov) to the CC—to discuss the German problem. Also present were Ryzhkov, Shevardnadze, Kryuchkov, Falin, Fedorov and Akhromeev. We were there for 4 hours. I proposed to focus on the FRG, since we no longer have any support in the GDR capable of influencing the process. What’s more—to focus particularly on Kohl, not on the SPD, which has turned the whole matter into an object of the election campaign. As for Kohl (he still holds more to the “theory” of unification within the framework of the pan-European process), he is bound by allies and is more faithful in personal relations with M.S. Also, he understands that he will lose to Brandt-Figel [sic]. I am not opposed to inviting Modrow to Moscow (although this is of little importance, the question of his reception was decided long ago). We should deal with Gyzi, why attach ourselves to a party that will soon practically cease to exist! (Others did not agree). And then, convene “the six players”: the US, Great Britain, France, USSR, plus Kohl and Modrow, i.e. the winners and losers of the war. And come to an agreement… because the German unification process cannot be stopped, but we need to make sure that it takes place with us present and not against it. Everyone agreed with the “six players.” But they argued that we should use other channels of influence (Shakh suggested focusing on the SPD, Yakovlev supported him). Shevardnadze mostly supported me. Ryzhkov is against “giving everything to Kohl.” Kryuchkov is, as always, for everything that will be accepted. Although he did confirm that the SED no longer exists and that all the GDR’s government structures have collapsed, it is no longer a real state. Ryzhkov said that the incompatible economies present an obstacle for unification… As for Fedorov, he argued that nobody wants unification, especially in the FRG! This is our chief expert on Germany!! M.S. outlined five points for action to orient ourselves: 1. The FRG: Kohl and the SPD. 2. The “six players.” 3. Modrow and the SED (“it is impossible that of 2.5 million party members there is no one to constitute a real force!”) 4. London, Paris—“I might just fly over there, a day per capital!” 5. Akhromeev is to prepare the withdrawal of troops from the GDR. This is more an internal than external problem. There are 300 thousand troops; 100 thousand of them are officers with families. We have to put them somewhere! February 25, 1990.

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Today is the day of the “February revolution of 1990” as declared by Yu. Afanas’ev and his ilk. Its main manifestation is going to take place on Zubovskyi square; outside my window are trucks with Ministry of the Interior troops, between buildings and in courtyards are crowds of plain-clothes militia. In the last few days they have stirred panic, which probably comes mostly from the law enforcement agencies and the apparatus themselves. All the Jewry is waiting for pogroms and fleeing the country… tens of thousands every month. There is a wave of meetings around the country leading to the “dispersal” of regional and oblast committees and sweeping resignations of leaders of local significance. The Moscow demonstrations are also carrying the slogans of “new deputies” and “do away with the Kremlin mafia.” They even wanted to form a human chain around the Kremlin. For a long time M.S. did not react, but then he understood the danger and off it went: statement by the Supreme Soviet, statement by the CC; statement by the government, mobilization of forces… At the last PB there was a special discussion about the 17 thousand internal security forces, protection of the RC (rocket complexes), etc. Mobile security services for elite buildings… The fact of the matter is that fliers were hung around Arbat with a photo of the building on Plotnikov lane, specifying the apartments of PB members Slyun’kov, Medvedev, Zaikov, Biryukova, Shevardnadze… From the start, the “presidential process” met with resistance from the Supreme Soviet. They barely agreed to include the presidency question on the session’s agenda, but refused to schedule a date for the Congress. Shakhnazarov and I spent a long time preparing a concept of presidential power. Yesterday it was distributed to members of the Supreme Soviet, on Thursday it was discussed at the PB (this requires a special mention). Its discussion by the Supreme Soviet is scheduled for February 27th, at which point they will also schedule a date for the Congress (at the PB M.S. offered March 6-7th). Should the Supreme Soviet not support it, M.S. will be in a position of practically failing. Three ideas are circulating around (in the Supreme Soviet too): A referendum and then election by the whole population. This would mean a long delay. Just renaming Gorbachev from Chairman of the Supreme Soviet to President. This is offered by people who are afraid that someone else might slip in instead of M.S. To elect the president alternatively through a secret ballot at the Congress.

M.S., who just a little while ago didn’t even want to hear the word “president,” is for the third option—as the fairest.

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Judging by the comments in narrow circles and by the call I got from R.M. [Raisa Maksimovna Gorbacheva] I got the feeling that Gorbachev is ready to leave. He has made his great contribution and now the people to whom he gave freedom are deciding their own fate… however they want and are able to. Although, he is being held back by a feeling of responsibility and the hope that it might still be possible to regulate the process. At the PB, all members except Ligachev took the floor and spoke “in favor” of presidency. But when the question of the CC Plenum (according to the Charter) came up, E.K. wanted to toss in a dead cat: with his face pale, he violently demanded that the Plenum be convened before the Congress of People’s Deputies, so the CC, the Party (CC) nominated a president and presented him to the Congress. He made a speech: “The Party is the only thing we have left, the only thing we can rely on to save everything. If we neglect the party—it will be the end!” Ryzhkov supported him. M.S., as always, immediately succumbed to Ligachev; turning red and not understanding the latter’s intentions. He started talking about the “role of the party” and with a calendar in hand tried to figure out when the Plenum could be held (elections are taking place in RSFSR and other republics). Prokofiev (First Secretary of the Moscow City Committee), who was present at the PB, saved the situation (which is strange, judging by the recent anti-Gorbachev Moscow City Committee Plenum). He stood up and said: if the CC Plenum nominates a president—the whole thing will be ruined. The Supreme Soviet will say “so, you cancelled the sixth article of the Constitution but you want to keep everything as it was, retaining the monopoly and the party’s power through the president”… and they will bury it… This sobered people up, including M.S. The Plenum was scheduled for March 11th. But it’s not clear whether the Supreme Soviet will agree to March 6-7th as the date for the Congress. Yakovlev stops by every day, brings me his “reflections,” which he has together with M.S. Judging by A.N.’s conclusions, Gorbachev has made up his mind to detach himself from the PB (once again, too late by a year, if not more) and transfer the center of power “to the presidency.” Then why does he gather the PB every week? To let them discuss papers from which a “death sentence” is staring in the faces of the majority of the members. Yakovlev believes that “they” are already working against him with the army and the KGB. That’s where the panic is coming from, and the pogrom moods (to provoke people to demand an iron fist!) Yakovlev thinks that both Nina Andreeva and the Jew Evseev, who is strung out on anti-Semitism, and Vasiliev (from “Pamiat’) are all paid agents of the KGB (but
13   

not Kryuchkov’s; he is manipulated by a team led by the more-or-less decent Chebrikov). A.N. showed me the protocol of Lubyanka’s core party members—it is a program of a Nina Andreeva-type coup, packaged into traditional phrases (demands to M.S.) and “promises” to restore order. What can M.S. lean on in such a situation? He pushed away the people with empty shelves and disorder; he pushes away perestroika-minded Party members by embracing Ligachev; he pushed away the intelligentsia by clear support for Bondarev, Belov, Rasputin; and he pushed away the nationals by not giving them complete freedom or by saving them from each other. The opportunity has been missed… he should have broken the constitutional norms and convened an emergency Congress of the People’s Deputies immediately after the January Plenum. He should have emphasized the idea that they themselves can decide whether they have gathered in Moscow legally or illegally; and he would have been elected President. Let the left and the right squeal afterwards. But they would have been dealing with the President of the country! I went to a meeting on Smolenskaya and Zubovskaya streets. There was organization, security, clearly paid “carriers” of banners with slogans. Yu. Afanas’ev declared, when the stream of people coming from the direction of the Park of Culture merged with the others, that 500 thousand people showed up. Visually and from my experience with May Day demonstrations in Red Square, I would say there were around 100 thousand… The main themes were against forcing panic and persecution, which is allegedly organized by the authorities to thwart the rallies; and against the presidency. Not a single good word was said about M.S. Someone called on him to step back; a certain Kuznetsov called Gorbachev’s entire policy a crime, and the like. The resolution Yu. Afanas’ev read out was rather “loyal.” The gist of it is to liquidate the “existing order” and replace the people in power. This begs the analogy: Nicholas II and the Manifesto of 1905. He gave freedom but wanted people to use it at his discretion. It resulted in a rebellion. Yes, what Afanase’ev & Co. represent is already a party. A party of overthrowing the existing system, a party of demagoguery that is inevitable in a situation like this—it is impossible to get to power without it. M.S. (to return to my observations at work) is moving things along towards a real multiparty system. Otherwise there couldn’t have appeared a note signed by Kruchina and Pavlov (deputy of the CC’s Legal Department) regarding the inventory of Party property and preparation to return everything that belongs to the Party-State (ciphered information systems and
14   

communications, private phones, the enormous party buildings, security details, services that are excessive for a mere political party, etc). The deadline—two months. Yakovlev keeps asking me when he should send in his resignation from the PB. I tell him: your resignation will be the final answer to the question posed at the meeting, “Who are you with, Mikhail Sergeyevich?” Yakovlev discussed his resignation with M.S., too. At first he was meant to be the vice-president. But even the Supreme Soviet Presidium did not accept this position. This means that the maximum he could be is a member of the president’s cabinet… “I am not going to stay in the Party (i.e. in the apparatus, even the highest echelons),” Yakovlev kept telling me. What else to mention from current events? M.S.’ responses to “Pravda” on the German question. I put them together in one morning. He was looking for me all around town, found me from a car and handed over an assignment. Up until then he wanted to tell “Pravda” only about the troops (195 thousand), but then decided to tell them about the GDR-FRG as well. It was received properly everywhere. As the same S. Kuznetsov said, “he is a fading star, whose light is still somewhat visible in the West.” The PB discussed the CPSU Charter for six hours and finally came to the conclusion that a lot of new wine has been poured into old skins, but the skins are still very perceptible. Frolov spoke against using the word “democratic”… if someone else had said something like this, M.S. would have ignored it. But in this case he immediately paid attention. Well, even Van’ka comes in useful with his impudence. Akhromeev spoke at a meeting in the “Wings of Soviets” Palace of Sports in a row with Nina Andreeva, who was giving a report! What does this mean? The President’s adviser in an embrace with Nina Andreeva!!! Maybe he is also afraid of being exposed?.. Especially if they start on Afghanistan, on SS-20s and such. Nenashev got a dressing down at the PB on Thursday… State funds (although, they are public!) are being spent on TV that disgraces and discredits the government and the party! Everyone was clamoring. Ryzhkov made a scene: he will not allow his wife to be publicly ridiculed on screen! And if this happens again, he doesn’t know what he’ll do! …Nenashev tried to fight back (supported by Medvedev) that TV reflects what goes on in society, it’s the mirror… But they kept telling him: people don’t even want to turn on the “black box” anymore, it shows life to be so terrible and hopeless. And the like. But when it came to figuring out what to do, Frolov’s idea about creating a Party channel was not accepted (this would mean that soon other parties would have to be given
15   

their own channels too). Nenashev’s idea about public channels along with State ones was also rejected. But M.S. first of all forbade the program “7 Days,” where analysts gather whatever negativity took place over the course of the week and impose their personal antipathy to perestroika on society. Secondly, he was relentless about having a “Russian channel” on channel 2, either entirely or partially. “The channel ‘Rossiia,’” he declared, “will be the core, it will set the political and moral tone to everything else.” This is a dangerous idea… It means that Yu. Bondarev + Belov + “Pamyat’” will have their own outlet on TV… No other way about it. I cannot quite understand M.S. in this. Unless this is the “straw.” Or he expects to save Russia, particularly through elections. But the new RSFSR parliament will most likely start by separating Russia from the USSR—and let all these Armenians and Lithuanians “take a hike”—a burden off our back. On Friday, Craddock, Thatcher’s international adviser (he came with Ambassador Braithwaite), stopped by my office. He was trying to find out whether Gorbachev will last. And against this background—our views on German unification. They are afraid. Madam (Thatcher) the more so than anyone else in Europe… she is afraid that Great Britain will lose its position as a “great power.” Her messenger’s logic and argumentation are understandable and in essence similar to our own. But they have an alternative: Germany in NATO. We talked a great deal and excitedly for an hour and a half, and it was natural! When I came to my senses, I didn’t even immediately realize that I hadn’t been speaking with a “comrade.” March 3, 1990. Yesterday’s PB was very disturbing. M.S. was not in the role of bearer of New Thinking, but in the role of a typical statesman from the past. At first they discussed the February 25th meetings. Ryzhkov started out: a great victory has been held over “them,” and we should continue to pressure them in this manner. Kryuchkov referred to the agents: the people finally felt that “we have power,” and more in this vein. Finally, Bakatin (Minister of Internal Affairs) threw them all off this track: what victory?! We intimidated the people. Out of fear many of them did not go to the meetings. That’s why they did not have a million people, but they could have had it. And in reality, the rally in Moscow gathered more than Kryuchkov’s estimate of 70-100 thousand, it was closer to 230-300 thousand. Intimidation created order, but this is not a viable policy. In a month, or on May 1st, they will gather their million. And they will go to the Kremlin, as promised. What then? Shoot them, bring out the batons and armored vehicles against them?! What committee are we going to create in the Supreme Soviet then? This is a mass phenomenon, it is fed by general dissatisfaction and we should not underestimate it. We need a policy with dialogue at the core. We need a “round table.” If I am not understanding something correctly, then I should leave my post. But I disagree with what the PB members are saying here.

16   

Bakatin’s speech created a deafening impression. Nobody mentioned “victory” after that. But Bakatin himself took a hit and most of all from Gorbachev himself: A panicky attitude. This must be the Minister’s environment, so he reports it. The leaders’ slogans are not the public’s slogans. There is dissatisfaction, and they are speculating on it. The working class has not come out and said its word yet. 1 The “round table” is nonsense. We have no one to sit down at the table with, and no reason to do so. “They” do not represent anybody. If Bakatin would like, let him conduct a round table with “them.” (Reads quotes from speeches by Gavrila Popov, Stankevich, Chernichenko, Boncharov, Ryzhov…) “All of these bastards,” Gorbachev continues, “are political scoundrels. We can give them no trust and no round tables!” “They” all praised the police. Bakatin, you hear how much they like you! Now “they” are not just crying out “down with Ligachev” or “down with Gorbachev,” they are yelling “down with the CPSU,” and the latest “down with the KGB, which was always close to the party.” They want to trample on everything and leave power lying in the dust, where they would just come and pick it up.

-

-

-

In a word, on the one hand they tried his patience, on the other, it seems he is trying the presidency on for size. Of course, the regional politicians have shown themselves to be complete amateurs and intriguers, but they are not all scoundrels. Gorbachev himself drew Ryzhkov and Stankevich into drafting the concept of presidency. And now they not only took a position that is a 180 degree reversal of what they promised him, but also emerged as the organizers of a public vilification campaign of Gorbachev both at the Supreme Soviet and on the street. They pointed fingers at him, saying this is the one who craves personal power. At Dezkin’s 2 funeral I got into a conversation with Nemka Korzhavin (one of our major poets, we are friends). “I listened to what was happening at the Supreme Soviet,” he said, “What wise-guys, what babblers! They say it all so logically, neatly, and reasonably about what the president should be like and how he should be furnished with laws and procedures. Only they are forgetting that we live in Russia, not England or America.” I added: “and it’s foul that they are blaming Gorbachev; dumb that they do not see an opportunity to make real democratic power under Gorbachev, who is by nature against dictatorship and cultism. Precisely under him it would have been possible to develop various procedures and lay the foundations of necessary institutions of power.”
                                                            
1

My personal addendum: the working class had just said its word, for example in Donetsk, among other things demanding the resignation of the entire oblast committee. (author’s note) 2 Soviet poet David Samoilov (translator).

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“Yes,” someone might say to me, “Lenin was also a stranger to cultism and tyrannical intentions, and look what happened!” But I would object that back then there was an ideology of dictatorship, while today we have an ideology of democracy. What do “they” want, if they are thinking of State interests, not personal ambition? To have everything fall apart while we prepare a national ballot for presidency? And what have they achieved? They have made Gorbachev swing in the direction of Ligachev. The spirit of Ligachev permeated all of his comments and speeches at this PB. Gorbachev agreed with him whenever he spoke and the only point on which he disagreed on was entering a resolution “on the unity of the party” into the CC Plenum. Everyone at the PB came to the common conclusion to hold course toward diving the party’s sphere of influences to exclude Afanas’evs and the like, to push away and isolate the interregional players in order to “call the People’s Deputies to order” with the help of the Supreme Soviet. Otherwise it is outrageous that they receive 500-700 rubles of state salary when all they do is destroy the state and undermine the leadership. Gorbachev made all the PB members state their opinion, although Zaikov, Yakovlev and Vorotnikov did not ask to speak. Everybody said something acceptable to Gorbachev, including Yakovlev. Although the latter did qualify his statement, thereby angering Ryzhkov, by saying that while our economy is in its present state we will not be able to achieve anything and no amount of “work with the masses” will help. There was also a discussion of Gdlyan. At this point Gorbachev was right to work up a temper. He railed at Sukharev (Minister of Justice) and the same Bakatin, and mentioned Kryuchkov as well: the state’s top leadership is reviled, shamed, slandered… and who is doing this? Criminals who imprisoned mothers with many children, extortionists who recreated 1937 in Uzbekistan! 3 Meanwhile all our law-enforcement agencies can do is whine! The law is the law! Are you afraid to find out that Gorbachev is a thief?! Is that what you are afraid of? If he is a thief, let them prove it. If need be, Gorbachev will do what the law requires. But if it is slander— Gorbachev added—Gdlyan and Ivan belong on the prisoners’ dock for contempt of supreme state leadership. It would be impossible to imagine anything like this taking place in any civilized country. The question of Lithuania’s separation and the Union Treaty was discussed in the forceful vein, from the position of “one and indivisible” (Vorotnikov, for example, said this in earnest). Gorbachev was speaking in unison with Maslyukov, Ligachev, Ryzhkov, and the same Vorotnikov… In a word, there is a break from reality that threatens to leave only one argument—tanks.
                                                            
Gdlyan and his accomplice Ivanov were investigating abuses in Uzbekistan, leading the so-called “Rashidov case” with flagrant disregard for the law. (author’s note)
3

18   

There is also something unsubstantial in the preparation for presidency; once again we’re concerned with making a nice inauguration speech instead of worrying about creating institutions. What is he going to do the day after the inauguration? With whom? How? After all, everyone is going to be counting each day of the presidency and expecting real change. Or, as his opponents believe, is he going to transfer the Politburo into the Presidential Committee and everything will remain the same?! Or maybe he is consciously aiming for failure in order to “step down”? Unlikely… he would not be working up such a force… Today again he called the Supreme Soviet Presidium. It seems (from the comments at the PB) he does not plan to discuss the presidency at the Plenum and to “nominate himself from the CPSU,” for, as Shakhnazarov and I warned him, he would immediately lose several voices at the Congress. Today is his birthday. He is fifty-nine! I was watching “Press-Club” on TV. It consists of young people’s footage which is then discussed by journalists from various media. Three impressions: 1. Horror at the clips themselves (especially the “maximum security kindergarten”). 2. The anger of representatives from “Molodaya gvardiya” [Young Guard] and “Nash sovremennik” [Our contemporary]: it seems if Gorbachev were to appear among them, they would trample him. 3. The repulsiveness of the clever Jewish boys from “Moskovskii komsomolets” [Moscow Komsomol], the TV and elsewhere, who refute and debunk everyone in insulting and arrogant tones. Truly, you begin to “understand” the anti-Semites. There is confusion in my heart. Society is falling apart; so far the rudiments of a new society are nowhere in sight. Judging by my latest observations, Gorbachev is losing a sense of control over the processes. It seems also has “gotten lost” (one of his favorite expressions) in what is going on and is beginning to look for “simple solutions” (another favorite formula). And even I, saturated with politics as I am, want to hide from life and carry a gun in my pocket as something to rely on for spiritual calm. March 22, 1990.

19   

Today at the PB might have been the “Charnyna Tizsa” 4 for Lithuania. Things are moving towards Czechoslovakia-’90. I am horrified. Everyone was chiming in with the most vulgar and conceited great-power sentiments. Yakovlev and Medvedev kept their silence. What should I do? Yesterday he appointed me as Adviser to the President. But if he makes a massacre in Lithuania I am not only going to leave… I will probably do something else besides. Today is a week (March 15) since he’s been president. But the Politburo is still in power. The PB today rejected the CPSU’s “democratic platform” and came to an agreement on how to furnish the deputies elected to the RSFSR and the Moscow City Council. March 25, 1990. M.S. received American teachers. Oh, what a peace of mind it gave him. He opened up, charmed them, and was full of “ideas” just like in the past, when he was on the ascent. Soviet teachers will be resentful: look at that, he has plenty of time for American teachers while we are sitting here in shit. Later we talked (after Admiral Crowe)… I: Mikhail Sergeyevich, yesterday’s Politburo scared me. He: It always scares you… I: Not always. Sometimes it surprises me, or upsets me, or makes me laugh, or makes me indignant. He: Why? I: I am beginning to not understand you. I am used to being able to tell what your goals are, and what is just tactics. With Lithuania I am confused. If you are thinking to keep Lithuania by threats but without the use of troops—this is unrealistic. All your successes with perestroika are always tied to you being able to face reality, as YOU like to say. If you “do not rule out,” as you said yesterday at the Poliburo, “Varennikov’s option” (a state of emergency, direct presidential rule, introduction of three regiments and the “isolation” of the top at Vilnius, the use of Lithuanian marionettes who would “ask” for our troops, like in 1968 Prague) then it would be a complete failure. It would be the downfall of your great cause. And for what? For a superpower complex? Because economically we will not lose anything, and they will carefully follow all the conditions if we make an agreement, they have no choice!
                                                            
4

A township on the border with Czechoslovakia, where in August of 1968 Brezhnev’s Politburo was deciding the possibility of intervention. (author’s note)

20   

He: Come on, Tolya, everything will be fine, everything will be done right! He was listening to me and responding in passing, while flipping through some papers on his desk… Yesterday the composition of the Presidential Council was announced. He had kept it a secret… I found out something from Yakovlev: regarding Aitmatov and Rasputin (!), against whom A.N. had vigorously protested. I heard about the rest yesterday on TV. Once again, in this I am beginning not to understand him. He did not ask Shakhnazarov (his legal expert) about this either. All he asked me is what to do with Zagladin. I think the composition, especially Yarin and Rasputin, will be disappointing to the Supreme Soviet and to the intelligentsia, i.e. perestroika’s “conscious” foundation. In a word, I am in a state of uncertainty: ceasing to understand M.S. On the one hand, he seems to be moving away from “power of the party,” on the other— especially with Lithuania—he is acting in the spirit of Ligachev-Yazov-VorotnikovKryuchkov… on purely ideological grounds. Without any reasonable arguments or explanations. For all of them, the goal is clear and not subject to discussion: “Do not let go!” This is despite the Constitution and legal provision for leaving, etc. Furthermore, when the Georgians take down one or two Lenin statues per day and at every street corner yell about leaving the Union, cancelling all Soviet and Communist symbols and signs, when they openly amass weapons and fighters—this is not a problem… No reaction from the top. But when it comes to Lithuania, the orders keep coming one after another! Even though in this case the danger of ruining the “great cause” is clear: the US, Europe, and the democratic world do not see Lithuania as a domestic problem, but they consider Georgia and Azerbaijan to be our business!! Solzhenitsyn, “March of 1917.” Newspapers, newspapers. Today in “Komsomolka” [Komsomolskaya Pravda] from March 22nd—on the disintegration of the Komsomol. On TV one sees society falling apart… And the people at the CC Plenum are holding on to idols from the past. Ligachev demands that the Charter declare the goal to be communism. He made a scene at the PB that his proposal was once again ignored (all that was noted down was a “communist perspective”). It is amazing that journals and even newspapers and TV are full of intelligent discussions on the essence and fate of Marxism, socialism, Leninism… While this drabness heading the CPSU, with a theoretical background on the level of 1950s Highest Party School teachings, could not care less. “Communism is our goal.” “Marxism-Leninism” is the ideological core of the party! Come hell or high water. And the Politburo is full of people like this, with the exception of maybe two-three individuals. But it dictates the spirit of our policies. It does…

21   

Once again: why does M.S. need such a Presidential Council?! Deyneka’s exhibition on Kropotkinskaya Street. A pencil portrait of a woman in an oldfashioned dress on a divan. I could not tear myself away for an hour and a half. In general, plenty of “associations and reminiscences,” but the halls are empty, even though today is the last day. M.S. to me on the phone: regarding Goldansky’s article on anti-Semitism (for the “Washington Post”). He was upset. Cursed. Jews are cowards. Ordered me have a talk with him! On Zagladin: make him an Adviser to the President and put him in charge of public organizations, ours and international. For me: pick a staff (a group of consultants under the assistant). Varennikov is provoking Gorbachev from Lithuania… oh, how impatient he is to liquidate perestroika as soon as possible! April 12, 1990. Gorbachev is continuing the game with Lithuania. He was proving to the foreigners (Edward Kennedy was here and then the boring Minister of Foreign Affairs of Great Britain Douglas Hurd) and trying to convince them that he is as much a man of law as they are. Yes, legally he might be right, but historically and politically he is losing. And, God helps us, in the best case scenario he will only lose his personal prestige. He gave candid answers to the thousands of questions flying at him during a meeting with the Komsomol before their Congress, including about the Gdlyan-Ivanov slander: “I, the President, am not going to go and try to prove that I am not a thief and I do not take bribes!” They applauded when he declared that Gdlyan and Ivanov will be dealt with in the open at the Supreme Soviet (who knows whose side they were applauding). “Moscow” congratulates me with the “Adviser to the President” post, but there is no official document. Shakh is upset and I’m being ironic about it because everything is going to remain as it is: he needs us in the capacity of speechwriters, scribes, not advisers… he prefers different people for this, although sometimes he reckons with us when we impose our opinions on him because we have access to him. Just last week I wrote him a sharp protest against the possibility of a second PB discussion of the “CC letter” to the communists on the distancing from Yu. Afanas’ev and the like. He read it before at the PB opening discussion, without naming the author, and conducted the meeting “with consideration” of my anxiety and arguments. Although I was not the only one who protested. As the result, the CC’s letter to the party came out much softer than the first and second versions. But the essence remained (“100 flowers”) and turbulent “indignations” are already