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Gorbachev's Gamble: Soviet Foreign Policy and the End of the Cold War

Hardcover

$69.95

Gorbachev's Gamble: Soviet Foreign Policy and the End of the Cold War

Andrei Grachev

ISBN: 978-0-745-64345-8 June 2008 Polity 240 Pages

Description

Gorbachev’s Gamble offers a new and more convincing answer to this question by providing the missing link between the internal and external aspects of Gorbachev’s perestroika. Andrei Grachev shows that the radical transformation of Soviet foreign policy during the Gorbachev years was an integral part of an ambitious project of internal democratic reform and of the historic opening of Soviet society to the outside world. 

Grachev explains the motives and the intentions of the initiators of this project and describes their hopes and their illusions. He recounts the story of the internal debates and struggles in the Kremlin and behind-the-scene decisions that led to the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan, the fall of the Berlin Wall, the break-up of the Warsaw Pact and eventually the demise of the Soviet Union itself. 

The book is based on exclusive interviews with the leaders of the Soviet Union including Gorbachev, personal notes and diaries of their assistants and advisers and transcripts of the discussions inside the Politburo and Secretariat of the Central Committee. Together they constitute a multi-voice political confession of a whole generation of decision-makers of the Soviet Union that enables us better to understand the origin and the breathtaking trajectory of the events that led to the end of the Cold War and the unprecedented transformation of world politics in the closing decades of the 20th century.

The Gorbachev Years: A Chronology vii

Preface and Acknowledgements xi

Introduction 1

1 Preparing the Change 9

Dual-Track Diplomacy 9

The Military-Diplomatic Complex 17

‘Moles’ in the Corridors of Power 24

Cracks in the Monolith 34

2 Ambitions and Illusions of the ‘New Political Thinking’ 43

Training for Leadership 43

First Exercises in Foreign Policy 52

Building the New Team 58

Summits in Paris and Geneva 62

A ‘Tail’ of Soviet Diplomacy? 66

‘New Thinking’ or Ideology Revisited? 70

From Philosophy to Politics 75

Reykjavik – ‘the Failed Summit’? 80

‘New Political Thinking’: Rules and Tools 86

3 Breaking the Ice 93

Untying the Reykjavik ‘Package’ 93

Withdrawing from Afghanistan and Retiring from the ‘Third World’ 100

‘Abandoning’ Eastern Europe 114

Destroying the Berlin Wall 131

4 Up to the Peak and Down the Slope 163

Gorbachev’s ‘Anti-Fulton’ Speech at the UN 163

1989 – the Year of ‘the Great Turn’ 169

Malta – a Belated Triumph 176

On the Other Bank of the Rubicon 184

The War in the Gulf and Shevardnadze’s

Resignation 191

The G7 in London: The Summit of a Last (Lost) Chance 200

5 The Winds of Change 214

Notes 234

Bibliography 257

Index 261

"A major contribution to our understanding of the last years of the Soviet Union and to the end of the Cold War."
Australian Journal of Political Science

"The stand-off between Russia and the west over military intervention in Georgia in 2008 raised the spectre of a new cold war between the world's military and economic powers. The timing of Andrei Grachev's book on the events that led to the end of the old Cold War, therefore, could not be better. Gorbachev's Gamble is a sympathetic and detailed analysis of how the last Soviet leader's 'new political thinking' brought about the break-up of the Warsaw Pact and of the Soviet Union itself in 1991."
Europe-Asia Studies

"This gripping book is one that deserves the attention of students of politics, international relations and history."
Slavonic and Eastern European Review

"The ultimate, definitive and conclusive account of one of the most transformative periods in modern history. As we continue to be shaped by the consequences of the critical years examined by Grachev, we shall continue to learn from this masterful book."
Amitai Etzioni, George Washington University

"Andrei Grachev, an important member of Gorbachev’s foreign policy team, writes as a participant-observer. His penetrating and well-informed account of the end of the Cold War, as seen from the Soviet side, offers a subtle and persuasive interpretation which will be a valuable corrective to much Western conventional wisdom."
Archie Brown, University of Oxford


  • Reveals the internal debates and struggles in the Kremlin and behind-the-scene decisions that led to the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan, the fall of the Berlin Wall, the break-up of the Warsaw Pact and eventually the demise of the Soviet Union itself
  • Provides the missing link between the internal and external aspects of Gorbachev’s perestroika
  • Based on exclusive interviews with the leaders of the Soviet Union including Gorbachev, personal notes and diaries of their assistants and advisers and transcripts of the discussions inside the Politburo and Secretariat of the Central Committee
  • Offers unique insight into a whole generation of decision-makers and opinion leaders of the Soviet Union and the events that led to the end of the Cold War and the unprecedented transformation of world politics in the late 1980s and early 1990s