Spinning Boris, directed by Roger Spottiswoode

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Re: Spinning Boris, directed by Roger Spottiswoode

Postby admin » Mon Aug 27, 2018 8:00 am

The Less You know, the Better You Sleep: Russia’s Road to Terror and Dictatorship Under Yeltsin and Putin - EXCERPT
by David Satter

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After his victory in the October confrontation, Yeltsin presented the country with a new draft constitution that gave the president near-dictatorial powers. Under the proposed constitution, the Supreme Soviet would be replaced with a smaller body, the State Duma, which would have virtually no control over the executive branch. The president would have the power to appoint without interference all ministers except the prime minister, who would have to be confirmed by the Duma. If the Duma rejected three of his candidates for prime minister, the president would be able to dissolve the Duma. The president would have control over the budget and appoint the director of the Central Bank and the justices of the Constitutional Court. Removing the president would require a two-thirds majority of the parliament as well as approval by the Supreme Court and the Constitutional Court. Laws would be passed by the Duma, but they could be vetoed by the president, and the veto could be overridden only by a two-thirds vote of the Duma, a near impossibility in a parliament expected to contain numerous factions.

The draft constitution was put to a vote simultaneously with elections to the new parliament on December 12, 1993, only a month after the publication of the text. In the referendum, 54.4 percent of eligible voters were said to have participated, with 58.4 percent voting for and 41.6 percent against the new constitution. [44] The constitution was thus supported by about 30 percent of the electorate. Technically this was enough: Yeltsin had established a rule whereby only 25 percent of eligible voters had to vote yes for the constitution to become law. [45] There were immediate suspicions, however, that the approval was fraudulent. Particular concern was focused on the appearance of nearly nine million unexplained ballots. [46] An independent analysis by Alexander Sobyanin of the pro-government Russia’s Choice Party showed that only 46.1 percent of the electorate had voted, not the 54.4 percent the government claimed, in which case the turnout was 3.9 percent short of the required minimum. The presidential team never explained the origin of the extra ballots and ignored all demands for an investigation. It is highly likely that the 1993 Constitution was never approved by the population. [47]

Yeltsin’s destruction of the Supreme Soviet and the creation of a superpresidency destroyed any possibility in Russia of a genuine separation of powers. The first serious consequence was the war in Chechnya. Yeltsin needed a war because since the events of October 1993, he could no longer blame the parliament for his failures. Oleg Lobov, the secretary of Yeltsin’s Security Council, told Sergei Yushenkov, the chairman of the Duma Defense Committee, that a war in Chechnya was coming. “On the telephone,” Yushenkov told the journalists Carlotta Gall and Thomas de Walla, “Lobov used the phrase that: ‘It is not only a question of the integrity of Russia. We need a small, victorious war to raise the President’s ratings.’” [48] A force of volunteers opposed to the separatist regime in Chechnya was assembled by the Russian security services to seize Grozny, the Chechen capital, and set up a puppet government that would request the introduction of Russian troops. But on November 26, 1994, the volunteers were routed by Chechen troops loyal to Djofar Dudayev, the Chechen leader. Yeltsin ordered the Chechens to lay down their arms by December 15. Despite the deadline, the Russian military began air strikes on December 2, and on the 11th, three columns of Russian army units moved into Chechnya.

Democrats, including Gaidar, who had supported Yeltsin’s suppression of the parliament, now found that giving unchecked power to Yeltsin came at a price. He had unilaterally committed the army to a war against Russian citizens on Russia’s own territory.

The destruction of the Supreme Soviet also assured Yeltsin an apparently undeserved second term in office. After the parliament was disbanded by force, the communists were apparently too intimidated to seriously contest an election. Yeltsin was believed to have won the 1996 presidential election, albeit with the help of massive violations of the campaign financing rules. But in February 2012, at a meeting with four members of the opposition, President Dmitri Medvedev said that this was not the case. When the four protested the falsification of the results of the previous December’s parliamentary elections, Medvedev indicated that falsification is not unusual: “There is hardly any doubt who won [the 1996 presidential election]. It was not Boris Nikolaevich Yeltsin.” [49]

Victor Ilyukhin, a communist who in 1996 was the head of the Duma Security Committee, said in an interview with the site Gazeta.ru that Zyuganov did not protest the theft of the election because in light of the events in October 1993, he was afraid of triggering a civil war. “The Yeltsin entourage was ready to use force in the event of a victory by Zyuganov,” Ilyukhin said. “They did not hesitate to say to us, ‘We will not simply hand over power.’” There were fifty thousand armed guards in Moscow, many of them Afghan veterans who were on Yeltsin’s side, and “This force could have been used and that was more terrible than an open confrontation. When tanks move, they are visible but this could be used to attack from behind. At the same time, besides the Alpha unit, Yeltsin was creating more specialized military units.” [50] According to Ilyukhin, declaring the elections falsified would have meant calling people into the streets, and this could have caused the communist leaders to be arrested or killed. [51]

Anatoly Chubais, who was Yeltsin’s campaign manager at the time, said that “of course” there were violations in the campaign, but if the 1996 vote were to be dismissed as a fraud, “then we automatically have to deem both of President Putin’s terms illegitimate along with the presidency of Medvedev…. There would be nothing left of Russia’s post-Soviet history.” [52]

By July 1996, when Yeltsin began his second term as president, parliament’s role was so reduced that Yeltsin was able to rule effectively alone. Ironically, it was then that his health began to fail, making him unable to wield the power he had taken such pains to accumulate. He surrendered authority to his daughter, Tatyana Dyachenko, and Valentin Yumashev, the journalist who in the 1980s had helped his write his first volume of memoirs.
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Re: Spinning Boris, directed by Roger Spottiswoode

Postby admin » Mon Aug 27, 2018 11:07 pm

FIMACO - Russia's Missing Billions
Financial Crime and Corruption
3rd Edition
by Sam Vaknin, Ph.D.
© 2002-9 Copyright Lidija Rangelovska.

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Russia's Audit Chamber - with the help of the Swiss authorities and their host of dedicated investigators - may be about to solve a long standing mystery. An announcement by the Prosecutor's General Office is said to be imminent. The highest echelons of the Yeltsin entourage - perhaps even Yeltsin himself - may be implicated - or exonerated. A Russian team has been spending the better part of the last two months poring over documents and interviewing witnesses in Switzerland, France, Italy, and other European countries.

About $4.8 billion of IMF funds are alleged to have gone amiss during the implosion of the Russian financial markets in August 1998. They were supposed to prop up the banking system (especially SBS -Agro) and the ailing and sharply devalued ruble. Instead, they ended up in the bank accounts of obscure corporations - and, then, incredibly, vanished into thin air.

The person in charge of the funds in 1998 was none other than Mikhail Kasyanov, Russia's current Prime Minister - at the time, Deputy Minister of Finance for External Debt. His signature on all foreign exchange transactions - even those handled by the central bank - was mandatory. In July 2000, he was flatly accused by the Italian daily, La Reppublica, of authorizing the diversion of the disputed funds.
Following public charges made by US Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin as early as March 1999, both Russian and American media delved deeply over the years into the affair. Communist Duma Deputy Viktor Ilyukhin jumped on the bandwagon citing an obscure "trustworthy foreign source" to substantiate his indictment of Kremlin cronies and oligarchs contained in an open letter to the Prosecutor General, Yuri Skuratov.

The money trail from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York to Swiss and German subsidiaries of the Russian central Bank was comprehensively reconstructed. Still, the former Chairman of the central bank, Sergei Dubinin, called Ilyukhin's allegations and the ensuing Swiss investigations - "a black PR campaign ... a lie".

Others pointed to an outlandish coincidence: the ruble collapsed twice in Russia's post-Communist annals. Once, in 1994, when Dubinin was Minister of Finance and was forced to resign. The second time was in 1998, when Dubinin was governor of the central bank and was, again, ousted. Dubinin himself seems to be unable to make up his mind. In one interview he says that IMF funds were used to prop up the ruble - in others, that they went into "the national pot" (i.e., the Ministry of Finance, to cover a budgetary shortfall).

The Chairman of the Federation Council at the time, Yegor Stroev, appointed an investigative committee in 1999. Its report remains classified but Stroev confirmed that IMF funds were embezzled in the wake of the 1998 forced devaluation of the ruble.


This conclusion was weakly disowned by Eleonora Mitrofanova, an auditor within the Duma's Audit Chamber who said that they discovered nothing "strictly illegal" - though, incongruously, she accused the central bank of suppressing the Chamber's damning report. The Chairman of the Chamber of Accounts, Khachim Karmokov, quoted by PwC, said that "the audits performed by the Chamber revealed no serious procedural breaches in the bank's performance".

But Nikolai Gonchar, a Duma Deputy and member of its Budget Committee, came close to branding both as liars when he said that he read a copy of the Audit Chamber report and that it found that central bank funds were siphoned off to commercial accounts in foreign banks.

The Moscow Times cited a second Audit Chamber report which revealed that the central bank was simultaneously selling dollars for rubles and extending ruble loans to a few well-connected commercial banks, thus subsidizing their dollar purchases. The central bank went as far as printing rubles to fuel this lucrative arbitrage. The dollars came from IMF disbursements.

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, based on its own sources and an article in the Russian weekly "Novaya Gazeta", claims that half the money was almost instantly diverted to shell companies in Sydney and London. The other half was mostly transferred to the Bank of New York and to Credit Suisse.

Why were additional IMF funds transferred to a chaotic Russia, despite warnings by many and a testimony by a Russian official that previous tranches were squandered? Moreover, why was the money sent to the Central Bank, then embroiled in a growing scandal over the manipulation of treasury bills, known as GKO's and other debt instruments, the OFZ's - and not to the Ministry of Finance, the beneficiary of all prior transfers? The central bank did act as MinFin's agent - but circumstances were unusual, to say the least.

There isn't enough to connect the IMF funds with the money laundering affair that engulfed the Bank of New York a year later to the day, in August 1999 - though several of the personalities straddled the divide between the bank and its clients. Swiss efforts to establish a firm linkage failed as did their attempt to implicate several banks in the Italian canton of Ticino. The Swiss - in collaboration with half a dozen national investigation bureaus, including the FBI - were more successful in Italy proper, where they were able to apprehend a few dozen suspects in an elaborate undercover operation.

FIMACO's name emerged rather early in the swirl of rumors and denials. At the IMF's behest, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) was commissioned by Russia's central bank to investigate the relationship between the Russian central bank and its Channel Islands offshoot, Financial Management Company Limited, immediately when the accusations surfaced.

Skuratov unearthed $50 billion in transfers of the nation's hard currency reserves from the central bank to FIMACO, which was majority-owned by Eurobank, the central bank's Paris-based daughter company. According to PwC, Eurobank was 23 percent owned by "Russian companies and private individuals".

Dubinin and his successor, Gerashchenko, admit that FIMACO was used to conceal Russia's assets from its unrelenting creditors, notably the Geneva-based Mr. Nessim Gaon, whose companies sued Russia for $600 million. Gaon succeeded to freeze Russian accounts in Switzerland and Luxemburg in 1993.
PwC alerted the IMF to this pernicious practice, but to no avail.

Moreover, FIMACO paid exorbitant management fees to self-liquidating entities, used funds to fuel the speculative GKO market, disbursed non-reported profits from its activities, through "trust companies", to Russian subjects, such as schools, hospitals, and charities - and, in general, transformed itself into a mammoth slush fund and source of patronage. Russia admitted to lying to the IMF in 1996. It misstated its reserves by $1 billion.

Some of the money probably financed the fantastic salaries of Dubinin and his senior functionaries. He earned $240,000 in 1997 - when the average annual salary in Russia was less than $2000 and when Alan Greenspan, Chairman of the Federal Reserve of the USA, earned barely half as much.

Former Minister of Finance, Boris Fedorov, asked the governor of the central bank and the prime minister in 1993 to disclose how were the country's foreign exchange reserves being invested. He was told to mind his own business. To Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty he said, six years later, that various central bank schemes were set up to "allow friends to earn handsome profits ... They allowed friends to make profits because when companies are created without any risk, and billions of dollars are transferred, somebody takes a (quite big) commission ... a minimum of tens of millions of dollars. The question is: Who received these commissions? Was this money repatriated to the country in the form of dividends?"

Dubinin's vehement denials of FIMACO's involvement in the GKO market are disingenuous. Close to half of all foreign investment in the money-spinning market for Russian domestic bonds were placed through FIMACO's nominal parent company, Eurobank and, possibly, through its subsidiary, co-owned with FIMACO, Eurofinance Bank.

Nor is Dubinin more credible when he denies that profits and commissions were accrued in FIMACO and then drained off. FIMACO's investment management agreement with Eurobank, signed in 1993, entitled it to 0.06 percent of the managed funds per quarter.

Even accepting the central banker's ludicrous insistence that the balance never exceeded $1.4 billion - FIMACO would have earned $3.5 million per annum from management fees alone - investment profits and brokerage fees notwithstanding. Even Eurobank's president at the time, Andrei Movchan, conceded that FIMACO earned $1.7 million in management fees.

The IMF insisted that the PwC reports exonerated all the participants. It is, therefore, surprising and alarming to find that the online copies of these documents, previously made available on the IMF's Web site, were "Removed September 30, 1999 at the request of PricewaterhouseCoopers" . The cover of the main report carried a disclaimer that it was based on procedures dictated by the central bank and "...consequently, we (PwC) make no representation regarding the sufficiency of the procedures described below ... The report is based solely on financial and other information provided by, and discussions with, the persons set out in the report. The accuracy and completeness of the information on which the report is based is the sole responsibility of those persons. ... PricewaterhouseCoopers have not carried out any verification work which may be construed to represent audit procedures ... We have not been provided access to Ost West Handelsbank (the recipient of a large part of the $4.8 IMF tranche)."

The scandal may have hastened the untimely departure of the IMF's Managing Director at the time, Michel Camdessus, though this was never officially acknowledged. The US Congress was reluctant to augment the Fund's resources in view of its controversial handling of the Asian and Russian crises and contagion.


This reluctance persisted well into the new millennium. A congressional delegation, headed by James Leach (R, Iowa), Chairman of the Banking and Financial Services Committee, visited Russia in April 2000, accompanied by the FBI, to investigate the persistent contentions about the misappropriation of IMF funds.  

Camdessus himself went out of his way to defend his record and reacted in an unprecedented manner to the allegations. In a letter to Le Mond, dated August 18, 1999 - and still posted on the IMF's Web site, three years later - he wrote, inadvertently admitting to serious mismanagement:

"I wish to express my indignation at the false statements, allegations, and insinuations contained in the articles and editorial commentary appearing in Le Monde on August 6, 8, and 9 on the content of the PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) audit report relating to the operations of the Central Bank of Russia and its subsidiary, FIMACO.

Your readers will be shocked to learn that the report in question, requested and made public at the initiative of the IMF ... (concludes that) no misuse of funds has been proven, and the report does not criticize the IMF's behavior ... I would also point out that your representation of the IMF's knowledge and actions is misleading. We did know that part of the reserves of the Central Bank of Russia was held in foreign subsidiaries, which is not an illegal practice; however, we did not learn of FIMACO's activities until this year— because the audit reports for 1993 and 1994 were not provided to us by the Central Bank of Russia.

The IMF, when apprised of the possible range of FIMACO activities, informed the Russian authorities that it would not resume lending to Russia until a report on these activities was available for review by the IMF and corrective actions had been agreed as needed ... I would add that what the IMF objected to in FIMACO's operations extends well beyond the misrepresentation of Russia's international reserves in mid-1996 and includes several other instances where transactions through it had resulted in a misleading representation of the reserves and of monetary and exchange policies. These include loans to Russian commercial banks and investments in the GKO market."

No one accepted - or accepts - the IMF's convoluted post-facto "clarifications" at face value. Nor was Dubinin's tortured sophistry - IMF funds cease to be IMF funds when they are transferred from the Ministry of Finance to the central bank - countenanced.

Even the compromised office of the Russian Prosecutor-General urged Russian officials, as late as July 2000, to re-open the investigation regarding the diversion of the funds. The IMF dismissed this sudden burst of rectitude as the rehashing of old stories. But Western officials - interviews by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty - begged to differ.

Yuri Skuratov, the former Prosecutor-General, ousted for undue diligence, wrote in a book he published two years ago, that only c. $500 million of the $4.8 were ever used to stabilize the ruble.
Even George Bush Jr., when still a presidential candidate accused Russia's former Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin of complicity in embezzling IMF funds. Chernomyrdin threatened to sue.

The rot may run even deeper. The Geneva daily "Le Temps", which has been following the affair relentlessly, accused, two years ago, Roman Abramovich, a Yeltsin-era oligarch and a member of the board of directors of Sibneft, of colluding with Runicom, Sibneft's trading arm, to misappropriate IMF funds. Swiss prosecutors raided Runicom's offices just one day after Russian Tax Police raided Sibneft's Moscow headquarters.

Absconding with IMF funds seemed to have been a pattern of behavior during Yeltsin's venal regime. The columnist Bradley Cook recounts how Aldrich Ames, the mole within the CIA, "was told by his Russian control officer during their last meeting, in November 1993, that the $130,000 in fresh $100 bills that he was being bribed with had come directly from IMF loans." Venyamin Sokolov, who headed the Audit Chamber prior to Sergei Stepashin, informed the US Senate of $2 billion that evaporated from the coffers of the central bank in 1995.


Even the IMF reluctantly admits:

"Capital transferred abroad from Russia may represent such legal activities as exports, or illegal sources. But it is impossible to determine whether specific capital flows from Russia -- legal or illegal -- come from a particular inflow, such as IMF loans or export earnings. To put the scale of IMF lending to Russia into perspective, Russia's exports of goods and services averaged about $80 billion a year in recent years, which is over 25 times the average annual disbursement from the IMF since 1992."

DISCLAIMER

Sam Vaknin served in various senior capacities in Mr. Gaon 's firms and advises governments in their negotiations with the IMF.
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Re: Spinning Boris, directed by Roger Spottiswoode

Postby admin » Tue Aug 28, 2018 2:30 am

How to rig an election: In the digital age, democracy is becoming a delusion
by Nic Cheeseman and Brian Klaas
The Spectator.co.uk
31 March 2018, 9:00 AM

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Andrés Sepúlveda sleeps behind bombproof doors in a maximum-security prison in central Bogota, Colombia. When travelling to judicial hearings or to meet prosecutors, he is accompanied by a caravan of armed guards with serious firepower. As they move at high speed through the capital, the motorcade uses sophisticated equipment to jam mobile phones to lower the risk of a coordinated assassination attempt.

Sepúlveda is one of the world’s most notorious election-rigging specialists. Now that he has been caught and put in jail, he is helping atone for his crimes by explaining how he fixed elections — and the people he used to work with want him dead.

But Sepúlveda isn’t the only specialist in this field. The tools he was using are deployed around the world. They’re costly, sometimes scandalous, but often legal. The disruption of democracy has become a great global game, and it’s one that British companies are playing too.

The recent Cambridge Analytica scandal raised an obvious question: did its role in mining Facebook data help send Donald Trump to the White House? But there is another angle that is just as important: what did Alexander Nix, its (now suspended) chief executive, mean when he said that his company is ‘used to operating through different vehicles, in the shadows’? That question was buried under the deluge of headlines about Facebook. This is a shame because it appears that there is an even bigger scandal than data-mining waiting to be exposed.

We’re academics, not investigative journalists. But between the two of us, we have crisscrossed the globe from Thailand to Tunisia, from Belarus to Zimbabwe, learning the tricks of the election-rigging trade. We’ve interviewed more than 500 top figures, from prime ministers and presidents downwards.

We have seen first-hand how digital tools can help complete a dictator’s toolbox of tricks. And we’ve put everything we’ve learned into a forthcoming book, How to Rig an Election, which might sound like a joke. But for those living in these countries, it could not be more serious.

You might think that elections weaken autocrats. Think again. Elections can actually help despots shore up their grip on power. Holding flawed polls can enable embattled governments to secure access to valuable economic resources like foreign aid, while reinvigorating the ruling party and — in many cases — dividing the opposition. Consequently, a number of authoritarian regimes that appeared to be in their death throes have used the ballot box to re-establish their political dominance.

The facade of democracy is being turned into a tool of oppression because an increasing number of leaders have worked out how to rig an election — or hire someone to do it for them. In many parts of the world, election rigging is now not the exception but the norm. It’s a multi-billion-dollar industry in which government contracts flow to those who deliver the ‘right’ result.
In Kenya, Cambridge Analytica is said to have been paid $6 million to support the campaign of President Uhuru Kenyatta. There are many more such contracts, and many more companies in pursuit of them, constantly coming up with innovative ways to subvert democracy, from spreading fake news about opponents to adopting new technologies. The digital age has, alas, multiplied the potential for dirty tricks.

Take Azerbaijan’s 2013 elections, when President Ilham Aliyev sought to boost his democratic credentials by launching an iPhone app that enabled citizens to keep up to speed with the vote tallies as ballot counting took place. Touting its commitment to transparency, the regime said that the new technology would allow anyone to watch the results in real time. But those who were keen to try out the new technology were surprised to find that the results were posted on the app the day before the polls opened. Technology was being used to fix the process, not make it more robust.

Sometimes, though, old-school tactics get the job done. In the 2004 Ukrainian presidential election, voters in opposition areas were given pens filled with disappearing ink. When officials went to count the ballots, they just found a bunch of blanks. In the 1998 mayoral election in St Petersburg, the authorities sought to neutralise a rising opposition figure named Oleg Sergeyev. To do this, they found a pensioner and a tram driver who were also named Oleg Sergeyev and stuck them both on the ballot next to the ‘real’ Oleg. Because no photographs appeared on the ballot papers, voters didn’t know which of the three to pick, so the vote got divided three ways, and all the Olegs lost.

The digital frontier has opened up new possibilities that the political consultants of the 1980s could have only dreamed of. Elections can now be manipulated from anywhere in the world, so long as you can get online. Take Sepúlveda, who was somewhat of a pioneer in the business of election hacking. In 2005, he began breaking into the files of opponents’ campaigns, stealing their databases of voters and donors, and even defacing websites with digital graffiti. Within a few years, he was charging $20,000 a month to hack smartphones, or send mass texts or emails laced with perfectly timed misinformation. He promoted right-wing candidates and knocked down their left-wing rivals from Mexico to Venezuela (and most places in-between). As he put it from prison: ‘When I realised that people believe what the internet says more than reality, I discovered that I had the power to make people believe almost anything.’ This is a discovery that western firms — with bigger budgets — have also made.

Cambridge Analytica is now the best-known company using these tactics. It promises to ‘use data to change audience behaviour’. In the electoral context, it does this by getting data about voters through online sites such as Facebook and using it to encourage its clients’ supporters to vote and their opponents to stay at home. Its platform is bespoke: it targets messages specific to each individual according to a sophisticated profile of their likely attitudes and beliefs based on their internet activity. Breaking rules to access personal data — as Cambridge Analytica is alleged to have done by Facebook — may lead to prosecutions. But the method itself is not illegal.

Such strategies aren’t magical: they can’t turn lifelong Democrats into Republicans overnight, nor could they turn a dedicated Remainer into a fervent Brexiteer after a few pitch-perfect Facebook ads. ‘Big data’ is scarce and the number of people online much lower in parts of Africa and Asia. But even then, companies like Cambridge Analytica can have a negative effect by advocating and implementing irresponsible campaigns in more traditional ways, such as spreading misinformation about opponents. Another British firm, Bell Pottinger, recently went out of business after it was revealed that some of those working for the company had advised allies of the former South African president Jacob Zuma to manipulate racial tensions in order to shore up their own support base.

When big data is available, its effect can be significant. For people who don’t typically tune into politics, and those who have not yet made up their minds, being suddenly bombarded with carefully tailored messages aimed at playing to their deepest desires and fears can be a powerful push into political action.

The greatest challenge to 21st–century democracy is that uninformed voters are being replaced by misinformed ones. Alexander Nix put it well, during that Channel 4 sting operation, when he said of propaganda that: ‘Things don’t necessarily need to be true, as long as they’re believed.’ Uninformed voters often stay home. Misinformed voters turn out
— and they often want to blow up the system or see a political rival permanently excluded from power. This can lead to anti-establishment politics, as in the UK and US; and in less politically stable parts of the world, to political violence and the discrediting of democracy itself.

Through using these strategies, autocrats have learned a simple but sad truth: it is easier to stay in power by rigging elections than by not holding them at all. So often we hear it said that the number of democracies in the world is rising — and we imagine that must mean world government is improving. Perhaps we want to believe it, and a willingness to be fooled — or, at least, a reluctance to ask too many questions — is part of the problem. But it is now time to wake up. Many of those who rig elections are outfoxing both their own people and western observers. Sometimes that is because autocrats (or their advisers) are smart, flexible and stealthy. But let’s not forget that Cambridge Analytica was used by the supposed leader of the free world, Donald Trump, and even by the UK Ministry of Defence.

As a result, a lot of powerful people might not want to look too deeply into all of this. Even in the West, few governments consistently live up to their rhetorical commitment to promote democracy in reality. The imperative of striking arms or oil deals and staying in power is simply more compelling than dealing with the messy and murky reality of widespread election rigging

This has to change — and pro-democracy governments must do more to turn the tide. Firms such as Cambridge Analytica need to be subject to tighter regulation and scrutiny, not just for what they do at home but also for what they do abroad. We must make foreign aid dependent on genuine democratic progress, not a box-ticking exercise. And we must end our own practices of regularly flouting rules like campaign spending limits.
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Me, a gangster? Berezovsky is quick to take the moral high ground. "The Western press portrays Russia unfairly," he says. "Russian business is not synonymous with the Mafia."; But isn't the government powerless to bring any of the thousands of mobsters to justice? Oh, yes, says Berezovsky, but don't blame him. "In the government," he says, "there are many people who are criminals themselves."

Berezovsky should know. He stands close to political power. He organized Russia's most powerful bankers in support of President Yeltsin's presidential campaign earlier this year. "It is no secret that Russian businessmen played the decisive role in President Yeltsin's victory," says Berezovsky. "It was a battle for our blood interests."

Berezovsky and friends did whatever was necessary to prevent the Communists from gaining a victory. The Yeltsin campaign is facing allegations of massive financing violations. Legally, each party's campaign was limited to $3 million. The Yeltsin campaign is estimated to have spent at least $140 million.

As in the U.S., most people in Russia who give big money to political campaigns hope for favors. The difference is that in Russia the payoff is often very direct. After Yeltsin's reelection Berezovsky was appointed deputy secretary of the National Security Council, the body responsible for coordinating military and law enforcement policy.

-- Godfather of the Kremlin? The Decline of Russia in the Age of Gangster Capitalism and Boris Berezovsky and the looting of Russia, by Paul Klebnikov


Around the world, democracy is being hijacked. And unless the western democracies start to care, election quality will continue to decline. This threatens to undermine the very idea of democracy, turning these elections into an empty ritual that the government always wins. The Cambridge Analytica revelations are the tip of the iceberg. This isn’t about one company or a handful of elections, it is about a concerted attack on democracy by a powerful alliance of authoritarian leaders and multinational companies. It has gone unnoticed and unanswered for too long. A parliamentary inquiry into what such companies are doing around the world would reveal, fairly quickly, how much has gone wrong. And why, for those who care about democracy, it is time to fight back.

Nic Cheeseman and Brian Klaas on election rigging. Their book How to Rig an Election (Yale, £18.99) is published on 24 April.
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Re: Spinning Boris, directed by Roger Spottiswoode

Postby admin » Tue Aug 28, 2018 4:51 am

Elvis Scene in Moscow! Russian Fans Teary-Eyed for the King, but Haven't Met Him Lately
by Lee Hockstader
Washington Post
August 17, 1993

NOTICE: THIS WORK MAY BE PROTECTED BY COPYRIGHT

YOU ARE REQUIRED TO READ THE COPYRIGHT NOTICE AT THIS LINK BEFORE YOU READ THE FOLLOWING WORK, THAT IS AVAILABLE SOLELY FOR PRIVATE STUDY, SCHOLARSHIP OR RESEARCH PURSUANT TO 17 U.S.C. SECTION 107 AND 108. IN THE EVENT THAT THE LIBRARY DETERMINES THAT UNLAWFUL COPYING OF THIS WORK HAS OCCURRED, THE LIBRARY HAS THE RIGHT TO BLOCK THE I.P. ADDRESS AT WHICH THE UNLAWFUL COPYING APPEARED TO HAVE OCCURRED. THANK YOU FOR RESPECTING THE RIGHTS OF COPYRIGHT OWNERS.


MOSCOW, AUG. 16 -- They toasted The King with cold vodka and Happy Cola tonight and sang "Love Me Tender" and "Shotgun Boogie" -- in an accent more Moscow than Memphis. Today, on the 16th anniversary of his death, Elvis was still dead. But the founders of Moscow's all-Russian Elvis Presley fan club were feeling no pain.

"In memory of Elvis," they murmured, and everyone raised a glass.

The scene was the dining room of Nadezhda Sevnitskaya's Moscow apartment, a modest affair with immodest decor. On every wall, on every shelf, in every drawer and cranny, the King and his paraphernalia smiled and mugged and crooned for what must be one of the world's most appreciative audiences.

"Elvis was a singer beyond compare," Sevnitskaya said simply, as the tape deck played. ("Wise men say, only fools rush in . . . ")

Take it from an authority. Sevnitskaya, an editor at Moscow's Museum of Musical History, was hooked from the moment she heard "Love Me Tender" as a kid in the '50s. Since then, she's amassed so many Elvis records, posters, slides, buttons and artifacts of every description that her apartment seems more shrine than dwelling.

She has written five lectures about Presley, delivered as a series starting each Jan. 8, The King's birthday. The shortest runs 2 1/2 hours; the longest lasts four. And like the other members of her group, she seems to know The King's lyrics by heart -- even untranslatable snippets like "good rockin' tonight."

Her No. 2 in the fan club, graphic artist Victor Plotnov, was hooked by "Blue Suede Shoes." "I was 13 or 14, and I almost dropped dead {the first time I heard it.} The purity and the energy of it impressed me. It was like electricity."

Tonight, they reminisced for a visitor about the old days when Elvis could be heard in Communist Russia only by way of copies of smuggled tapes and technological hocus-pocus. For a ruble a song, bootleggers would copy the King's croonings onto a flimsy sheet of X-ray film (known as "records on bones") that could actually be played on a phonograph. Its lifespan was limited, but Elvis's popularity wasn't.

At parties, on shortwave radio and in private, they listened in thrall. Yet none imagined that his devotion was shared. They finally found each other -- "through Elvis," said Plotnov -- through Sevnitskaya and her lectures on Presley at Moscow's Museum of Musical History.

Now, with Vladimir Vorobtsov, an equipment importer, Alexei Prokhorov, a private detective and Grigory Kuzmin, a young sound engineer at the Museum of Musical History (whose personal collection of Elvis records exceeds 300), Sevnitskaya and Plotnov have formed an executive committee for a club they hope will grow but remain exclusive.

Not for this group the indignities of America's Elvis impersonators or the light-hearted mocking of Lewis Grizzard, the American humorist who titled one of his books "Elvis Is Dead & I Don't Feel So Good Myself."

For these Russians, Elvis is serious stuff -- much more serious than most Americans realize, they say. It's like the French and Jerry Lewis: Americans, they say with a little scorn, are too trivial-minded, too caught up in myth making and celebrity worshiping and Hollywood and glitz to appreciate real talent for its own sake.

By making Elvis into a cult idol, they say, America has degraded his true significance as an incomparable vocal artist and unsurpassed performer.

"For some, Elvis can be about his great success and glamor and fame," Plotnov said disdainfully. "We are among those, less numerous, who are interested in his great talent. . . . Our understanding of Elvis is very different from Americans'. We go deeper.

"America is about today and tomorrow. Nobody in America is about the past. Elvis is the exception," he adds. "More Elvis admirers emerged after his death than in his lifetime."

When it comes to The King's reputation, the Russian group insists it is loath to embellish. Asked if she believed a Russia newspaper report that had Boris Yeltsin unwinding to the tune of "Are You Lonesome Tonight?" after the failed hard-line putsch in 1991, Sevnitskaya said, "Not quite."

However, they all said it is a fact that Yeltsin dropped in on a troupe of American Elvis impersonators who were touring in Moscow last year.


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[Boris Yeltsin] Don't you be steppin' on these blue suede shoes, Comrade!, by Tara Carreon


Inside Parliament, deputies wasted no time in convening an emergency all-night session.

"We are talking about the beginning of a civil war now," said a breathless Ilya Konstantinov, leader of the ultra-nationalist National Salvation Front.

Rutskoi, a hero of the Russian invasion of Afghanistan who split with Yeltsin last spring, immediately seized the chair on the dais reserved for the president, then took an oath of office and swore to uphold the Soviet-era constitution that Yeltsin wants to replace with a democratic, Western-type model....

Russia's constitutional court, which sided with Yeltsin's foes in earlier confrontations, ruled early Wednesday that the president could be impeached because he had violated the constitution. Specifically, the court said Yeltsin had violated a constitutional amendment passed by the Congress last December which specified that the president would forfeit his office the moment he tried to dissolve Parliament.

In his televised address, Yeltsin said the current cumbersome parliament would be replaced in the December elections by a two-chambered body that would more closely resemble Western legislatures.


-- Power Crisis Rocks Russia: Yeltsin Wins Vital Support Of Military, by James P. Gallagher and Howard Witt


As Presley fanatics, the Russians are in the major leagues. But they acknowledge a little abashedly that they are woefully deficient when it comes to the acid test of true Elvis-mania. Have they visited Graceland?

"No, no," said Plotnov, shaking his head with eyes downcast and lips pursed in apologetic sincerity. "We know. You've touched a weak spot." Such a trip would cost thousands of dollars from Moscow -- well beyond the reach of any of the club's members.

As for the pressing Elvis question of our day -- whether the handsome young Elvis or the fleshy older version should have graced a 29-cent American postal stamp, the Russian fans are unequivocal: The Mature King, hands down.

"He wasn't fat," said Sevnitskaya, testily. "He was sick." She produced from a drawer a photographic slide showing the young Elvis's mug side-by-side with a stone-chiseled Greek god.

Elvis, said Plotnov, could only have been born -- or invented -- in America. "But he belongs to the world."
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Elvis impersonator
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 8/27/18

NOTICE: THIS WORK MAY BE PROTECTED BY COPYRIGHT

YOU ARE REQUIRED TO READ THE COPYRIGHT NOTICE AT THIS LINK BEFORE YOU READ THE FOLLOWING WORK, THAT IS AVAILABLE SOLELY FOR PRIVATE STUDY, SCHOLARSHIP OR RESEARCH PURSUANT TO 17 U.S.C. SECTION 107 AND 108. IN THE EVENT THAT THE LIBRARY DETERMINES THAT UNLAWFUL COPYING OF THIS WORK HAS OCCURRED, THE LIBRARY HAS THE RIGHT TO BLOCK THE I.P. ADDRESS AT WHICH THE UNLAWFUL COPYING APPEARED TO HAVE OCCURRED. THANK YOU FOR RESPECTING THE RIGHTS OF COPYRIGHT OWNERS.


Image
Members of The Association of Professional Elvis Presley Tribute Artists setting the world record for the most Elvis impersonators in one location, in 2005

An Elvis impersonator is someone who impersonates or copies the look and sound of musician Elvis Presley. Professional Elvis impersonators, commonly known as Elvis tribute artists (ETAs), work all over the world as entertainers, and such tribute acts remain in great demand due to the unique iconic status of Elvis. There are even a number of radio stations[1][2] that exclusively feature Elvis impersonator material.

Many impersonators sing Presley's songs. "While some of the impersonators perform a whole range of Presley music, the raw 1950s Elvis and the later 1970s Elvis are the favorites."[3]

Origins

Contrary to popular belief, Elvis impersonators have existed since the mid-1950s, just after Elvis began his career. The first Elvis impersonator was a young man named Carl 'Cheesie' Nelson from Texarkana, Arkansas, who in 1954 built up a local following on WLAC radio with his renditions of "That's All Right, Mama" and "Blue Moon of Kentucky." Nelson even performed alongside Presley when they first met, also in 1954. The friendship between Nelson and Presley is documented in the book "Elvis in Texas".[4]

The second known impersonator was a 16-year-old boy named Jim Smith. In 1956, shortly after Elvis began to rise in popularity, Smith began jumping on stage and imitating Presley. Smith's physical resemblance to Elvis and his mannerisms happened to catch the attention of DJ Norm Pringle of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, who had been playing "That's All Right, Mama" and "Heartbreak Hotel" on the radio. Smith was featured several times on Pringle's regular TV show, though it should be noted that Smith only pretended to sing and play along with the music since he actually could neither sing nor play the guitar at that time.[5]

Many other Elvis impersonators appeared while Elvis was still alive, evolving mainly out of small town talent competitions which took their influences from major music artists of that time. Dave Ehlert from Waukegan, IL began performing as Elvis in 1967 a full 10 years before Elvis died. Some of his contemporaries included Rick Saucedo of Chicago and Johnny Harra, a Kansas City native who moved his show to Texas in 1977. Ehlert performed throughout the Chicago Metro Area until Elvis died, then traveled the country with his act. He was on hand for the 1 year anniversary of Elvis' death at the Prince William County Fair in Manassas, VA on August 16, 1978. He has continuously performed his Elvis Tribute for almost 50 years including performances in Las Vegas and headlining an Elvis Tribute Show in Branson, MO for almost 20 years beginning in 1993. Only after Elvis' untimely death on August 16, 1977 that impersonating Elvis started to become popular in the mainstream. The large growth in Elvis impersonators seems tightly linked with his ever-growing iconic status.

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American protest singer Phil Ochs appeared in concert in March 1970 at Carnegie Hall wearing a 1950s Elvis-style gold lamé suit, made for him by Presley's costumer Nudie Cohn. His performance may be considered the first significant Elvis impersonation.[6] Jeremy Spencer of British blues-rock band Fleetwood Mac became known for his high-energy Elvis tribute performances during his tenure with the band. Spencer would perform as Elvis (often in a gold lamé suit) as the main part of a mini-set in which he also did other impersonations of figures such as Buddy Holly and slide guitarist Elmore James.

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In the mid-1970s, Andy Kaufman made an Elvis impersonation part of his act. He is considered to be one of the first notable Elvis impersonators and even Elvis himself supposedly said that Kaufman was his favorite impersonator.[7] In his act, Kaufman would precede with several failed impersonations before unexpectedly launching into a skilled impersonation of Elvis Presley.[8] As Kaufman gained fame, the impersonation was used less and less.

According to a popular myth, Elvis himself entered an Elvis lookalike contest at a local restaurant shortly before his death, and came in third place. This fabricated myth was featured as a news item in the Weekly World News, and has been misunderstood to be factual by people who do not realize that the Weekly World News is well known to publish outlandish and often unbelievable articles.[9] This joke may have its origins in Charlie Chaplin, who once did enter a lookalike contest and is often reported to have also placed third, although Chaplin's actual ranking in the contest is not known.[10]

Types of Elvis impersonators

There are many different types of Elvis impersonators or Elvis Tribute Artist. Most fall under the following categories:

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An impersonator performing as Elvis

• Look-alikes who concentrate more on visual elements of Elvis fashion and style using accessories such as wigs and fake sideburns (if necessary), costumes and jewelry.
• Sound-alikes who concentrate on changing their voice to sing or talk like Elvis. Notable examples of this type include country artist Ronnie McDowell and rock 'n' roll artist Ral Donner. Kurt Russell did this type of Elvis impersonation in his 1994 film, Forrest Gump, even though he was uncredited for his voice role of Elvis.
• Combination who use a combination of both the visual and auralmethods listed above. Country singer Billy "Crash" Craddock was an example of this in the 1970s and actor Kurt Russell was an example of this type in his 1979 film, Elvis and in his 2001 film, 3000 Miles to Graceland.
• Pastiche who look like, sound like, and write songs in the style of Elvis. David Daniel, called the Great Pretender, performs dozens of originals in the style of Elvis.

There are different levels of impersonation, which depends largely on who is doing the impersonation and for what purpose. They mainly fall under three main levels of impersonation, which are:

• Professional (Elvis Tribute Artist/ETA) Full-time and part-time, serious Elvis impersonators who are in the business of performing for a living. Reenactments of a typical 70s Elvis concert is a preferred choice of most ETAs; however, some ETAs may portray various phases of Elvis' career in a single show. For example, an ETA may open his show with a 50s set dressed in appropriate attire (such as a gold lame jacket), reenactments of musical scenes from Elvis' movies, and/or reenactments of segments from the '68 Comeback Special; and after an intermission closes his show with a full-blown 70s concert dressed in an appropriate jumpsuit. Some ETAs perform with a live band in the style of the TCB Band, complete with a brass ensemble and background singers, while others rely solely on karaoke for their performances. However, some ETAs may utilize both a live band and karaoke (either one or the other, in most cases depending on the type and size of the venue). Some ETAs record CDs to sell at their shows, which of course contain many of the Elvis standards, but could also include some of their own songs as well as songs of other artists.
• Amateur Enthusiasts who impersonate Elvis in contests, for a hobby, or at social gatherings (such as parties, reunions, etc.). Most of this type of impersonator aspire to become professional ETAs.
Fun / Comedy Usually done as part of a parody.

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[Boris Yeltsin] Don't you be steppin' on these blue suede shoes, Comrade!, by Tara Carreon


Inside Parliament, deputies wasted no time in convening an emergency all-night session.

"We are talking about the beginning of a civil war now," said a breathless Ilya Konstantinov, leader of the ultra-nationalist National Salvation Front.

Rutskoi, a hero of the Russian invasion of Afghanistan who split with Yeltsin last spring, immediately seized the chair on the dais reserved for the president, then took an oath of office and swore to uphold the Soviet-era constitution that Yeltsin wants to replace with a democratic, Western-type model....

Russia's constitutional court, which sided with Yeltsin's foes in earlier confrontations, ruled early Wednesday that the president could be impeached because he had violated the constitution. Specifically, the court said Yeltsin had violated a constitutional amendment passed by the Congress last December which specified that the president would forfeit his office the moment he tried to dissolve Parliament.

In his televised address, Yeltsin said the current cumbersome parliament would be replaced in the December elections by a two-chambered body that would more closely resemble Western legislatures.


-- Power Crisis Rocks Russia: Yeltsin Wins Vital Support Of Military, by James P. Gallagher and Howard Witt


"There are heavily-bearded Elvii, four-year-old Elvii, and Elvis duos; Italian Elvii, Greek Elvii, Fat Elvii, a Lady Elvis, even a Black Elvis. Impersonator impresario Ed Franklin boasts, 'We've had every type of Elvis there is in the world.'"[11] Professional Elvis impersonation can be called a special branch of the entertainment industry. "Michael Chapa, an Elvis impersonator who works in Los Angeles and Las Vegas, helped entertain more than 2500 of his relatives at what is believed to be the country's largest Hispanic family reunion ..."[12]

There are also some Elvis impersonators who specialize in experimenting with gender, sexuality, race, taste and decency. According to social historian Eric Lott, "the widespread embarrassment and innuendo surrounding Elvis impersonation points more directly to the homoerotic implications built into such acts."[13] There are even some performers who satirize other Elvis impersonators.[14]

According to Gael Sweeney, Elvis impersonation offers a spectacle of the grotesque, the display of the fetishized Elvis body by impersonators who use a combination of Christian and New Age imagery and language to describe their devotion to The King. 'True' impersonators believe that they are 'chosen' by The King to continue His work and judge themselves and each other by their 'Authenticity' and ability to 'Channel' Elvis' true essence. True impersonators don't 'do Elvis' for monetary gain, but as missionaries to spread the message of The King. Especially interesting are those who do not perform, per se, that is, they don't do an Elvis act, they just 'live Elvis,' dressing as The King and spreading His Word by their example."[15]

However, the Elvis industry includes "professional Elvis impersonator registries." The international guide I am Elvis, for instance, contains "photos, repertoire, and personal testimonies that serve to materialize the phenomenon of Elvis impersonation and further institutionalize it, including female Elvii, child Elvii, Black Elvii, El Vez the Mexican Elvis, and scores of British, German, Greek and Indian Elvii."[16] According to George Plasketes, there are "legions of impersonators. Airlines have offered discount fares for look-alikes on Elvis holidays... His omnipresence hauntingly hovers..."[17]

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In August 1996, Elvis Herselvis, a transsexual Elvis impersonator, who had been invited to take part in the Second International Elvis Presley Conference held at the University of Mississippi in order "to test the limits of race, class, sexuality and property...," was banned from this event by the conservative sponsors of Elvis Presley Enterprises.[18]

Contests, festivals and events

There are many Elvis contests for amateurs, festivals and other events held across the world celebrating Elvis and his many impersonators. Events tend to attract large numbers of amateur Elvis impersonators and Elvis fans.

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A Chihuahua impersonating Elvis in San Francisco's Pet Pride Day, 2002.

CKX, INC, which now owns Elvis Presley's estate, has full control including the grave of Elvis Presley and his family members along with his home Graceland in early 2008. This has seen some impact on what Elvis impersonators and contests have on the media and marketing industry. They began using the contest along with their Elvis brand, licensing anyone wanting to charge a fee to hold an Elvis contest.

The small western New South Wales town of Parkes in Australia has been hosting an Elvis Festival since 1993, which includes a special "Elvis Express" train from Sydney to Parkes.[19]

Blackpool in the UK, features a busy Elvis Wedding Chapel[20] based at the Norbreck Castle Hotel, Queens promenade, where couples can have their wedding vows renewed by Martin Fox.[21]

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The largest gathering of Elvis impersonators occurred on 12 July 2014 when 895 impersonators gathered in the Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort in Cherokee, North Carolina.[22]

In the media

Literature


A number of books are available on the topic of Elvis tribute artists. One of the first books to document the phenomenon was, I Am Elvis: A Guide to Elvis Impersonators released by American Graphic Systems in 1991. More recent titles include photo essays, Living the Life by Patty Carroll and The King and I: A little Gallery of Elvis Impersonators by Kent Baker and Karen Pritkin.

Novelist William McCranor Henderson wrote about his attempts to learn the Elvis trade in, I, Elvis: Confessions of a Counterfeit King.

A more scholarly examination of Elvis impersonation is, Impersonating Elvis by Leslie Rubinowski released in 1997. On "the thriving phenomenon of Elvis impersonators", see also Gilbert B. Rodman, Elvis After Elvis: The Posthumous Career of a Living Legend (1996). In the Summer 1997 issue of The Oxford American magazine author Tom Graves wrote an acclaimed article, Natural Born Elvis, about the first Elvis impersonator, Bill Haney, the only tribute artist Elvis himself ever went to see perform. The article has been published in the anthology The Oxford American Book of Great Music Writing and the anthology Louise Brooks, Frank Zappa, & Other Charmers & Dreamers by Tom Graves.

There are also three "how to" guides, Be Elvis! by Rick Marino, a well-known tribute artist, released in 2000 by Sourcebooks and the more recent, The Elvis Impersonation Kit by Laura Lee, released in 2006 by Black Dog and Leventhal Publishers. Also recently[when?] released "Just Pretending" by Kurt Burrows is full of tips on how to talk, sing and dress like Elvis. It contains interviews with many famous Elvis impersonators, and also gives you five free Sunfly Karaoke backing tracks, allowing you to download your favorite Elvis tracks to perform to.

There are also several university studies, for instance, Eric Lott's critical essay, "All the King's Men: Elvis Impersonators and White Working-Class Masculinity," published in Harry Stecopoulos and Michael Uebel, eds., Race and the Subject of Masculinities (Duke University Press, 1997). The author, professor of American Studies at the University of Virginia, has also written a long piece on Elvis impersonators and the EPIIA (Elvis Presley Impersonators International Association) to be published in his next book. For this paper, he interviewed many impersonators and draws parallels with minstrelsy. "It is indeed one place minstrelsy ends up; where 19th-century white guys imitated what they thought of as slave culture and Elvis took from R & B performers, the impersonators copy the copy, if you will—it's minstrelsy once-removed."[23] In her paper, "Women Who 'Do Elvis'", Case Western Reserve University researcher Francesca Brittan deals with female Elvis Presley impersonators and finds them to be "campy, cheeky, and often disturbingly convincing."[24] According to Marjorie Garber's academic study, Vested Interests: Cross-dressing and Cultural Anxiety (1992), Elvis impersonation is so insistently connected with femininity that it is "almost as if the word 'impersonator', in contemporary popular culture, can be modified either by 'female' or by 'Elvis.'"[25]

In the 2011 novel Donations to Clarity by Noah Baird, one of the main characters — the town's sheriff — is an Elvis impersonator.[26]

Films

3000 Miles to Graceland is a 2001 thriller film, starring Kurt Russell, Kevin Costner, Courteney Cox Arquette, David Arquette, Bokeem Woodbine, Christian Slater, and Kevin Pollak. It is a story of theft and betrayal, revolving around a plot to rob the Riviera Casino during a convention of Elvis impersonators in Las Vegas. The films also featured many real Elvis Tribute Artist from Las Vegas as background players, dancers and extras.

Bubba Ho-tep is the title of a novella by Joe R. Lansdale which originally appeared in the anthology The King Is Dead: Tales of Elvis Post-Mortem (edited by Paul M. Sammon, Delta 1994) and was adapted as a 2002 horror-black comedy film starring Bruce Campbell as Elvis Presley—who escaped the pressures of his fame long ago by impersonating an Elvis impersonator and is now a resident in a nursing home. The film version also stars Ossie Davis as Jack, a black man who claims to be John F. Kennedy. He says he was patched up after the assassination in Dallas, dyed black, and abandoned by Lyndon B. Johnson. The film was directed by Don Coscarelli.

Honeymoon in Vegas is a 1992 comedic movie which was directed by Andrew Bergman. Jack Singer, played by Nicolas Cage, encounters a group of "Flying Elvises" (skydiving Elvis impersonators) while trying to reunite with his fiancee. Pop singer Bruno Mars, only six years old at the time, has a small role as a young Elvis impersonator. It also featured Clearance Giddens, a black Elvis.

Almost Elvis[27] is a 75-minute 2001 documentary film that follows a variety of professional Elvis impersonators such as they prepare for a large annual contest in Memphis, Tennessee.

Elvis Extravaganza is a 60-minute 2009 Elvis impersonator documentary featuring amateur Elvis impersonators and their quest for the title of the "World's Finest Elvis Impersonator."

Television

The plot of the Father Ted episode "Competition Time" revolves around the three main characters Father Ted Crilly, Father Dougal McGuire and Father Jack Hackett entering the "All Priests Stars in Their Eyes Lookalike Competition". Due to confusion about who is going as Elvis all three do it, appearing in sequence as Elvis at different stages of his career, winning the competition.

Jeff Yagher played an Elvis impersonator (as well as Elvis himself) in an episode of The Twilight Zone called "The Once and Future King". The man who played Elvis' boss at the Crown Electric company was Red West, a real life schoolmate and best friend of Elvis.

In the Sledge Hammer! episode "All Shook Up", Hammer (David Rasche) investigates a string of Elvis impersonator murders by participating in a contest as one.

In the Digimon Adventure anime, one of the main villains, Etemon has the character of an Elvis impersonator.

• In an episode of Married... with Children, the character Peggy Bundy claims to have seen Elvis at a mall, prompting a large number of Elvis impersonators to come to her home so she can share her "experience."

In an episode of How I Met Your Mother Marshall and Lily are serenaded by a Korean Elvis.

In "Meltdown," an episode of the British TV series Red Dwarf, Clayton Mark portrays a 'wax droid' version of Elvis who, under the command of Arnold Rimmer along with other 'wax world' historical figures, is engaged in battle with the evil historical figures.

• In an episode of the American sitcom The Golden Girls, the characters of Blanche and Rose are considering hiring an Elvis impersonator for their "Hunka Hunka Burnin' Love Fan Club," yet Rose mixes up the Elvis list with the guest list for the wedding of the character of Sophia. As a result, Sophia's wedding reception is filled with Elvis impersonators (one played by a young Quentin Tarantino)[28] instead of members of her own family, and Rose exclaims, "Either I got the Elvis list mixed with the guest list for the wedding or everyone in Sophia's family appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show!"

In "Wedding Card," an episode of the Canadian sitcom Corner Gas, Oscar and Emma Leroy admit to having no photos of their wedding because "it was an Elvis wedding". Their fellow townspeople understand this sentiment, but in the final scene they are shown burning those selfsame photographs, which display both Oscar and Emma dressed as Elvis.

The Disney Channel sitcoms Hannah Montana and The Suite Life of Zack & Cody both featured main characters dressing up and acting like Elvis. The Martin twins dressed-up as twin-Elvises in an episode of The Suite Life where they were appearing on a gameshow called "Risk It All!", and Miley's brother Jackson, in Hannah Montana, impersonated Elvis twice: The first time was to fool a gossip reporter, as a coverup, after Miley accidentally blabbed the Hannah-secret to her; and the second time was when Miley and Lily impersonated Dolly Parton and Miley's "Mamaw" Ruthie, respectively, after it came out that Ruthie and Dolly (portrayed by Parton herself) had a fight over Elvis Presley.

In an episode of Due South, Season one, episode 10, "The Gift of the Wheelman", It's Christmas time and the police station is filled with Santas, elves and Elvises.

A season one episode of Full House had the character Uncle Jesse (John Stamos) play Elvis in a concert.

Talent shows focused on imitating already famous singers will often have Elvis impersonators. i.e., the Chilean version of the European show My name is... featured at least three of them.

An advertisement for State Farm Insurance featured four Elvis impersonators, each of which performed the company's "magic jingle" in succession, causing representatives from the company to appear out of thin air. The final Elvis impersonator made a splash by parachuting in on top of a car.

Plays

One of the most popular modern plays dealing with Elvis impersonation is Lee Hall's Cooking with Elvis (1999). The comedy centers on the family life of Dad, an Elvis impersonator who was paralyzed in a car crash and is forced to spend the rest of his life in a wheel chair. Climaxes of the play are surreal fantasy scenes in which Dad's hallucinatory Elvis dreams are bursting into popular Presley songs as a reminiscence of his one-time persona of Elvis impersonator.

Playwright Charlotte Jones' award-winning play "Martha, Josie and the Chinese Elvis" [29] opened 15 April 1999 at the Octagon Theatre, Bolton. The play features a Chinese Elvis impersonator called Timothy Wong, who transforms the lives of the characters in the play.

Another popular theater event has been the "Elvis Story" over the last five years. Different Elvis artists have been in the main role with very detailed outfits, wigs and props. This has prompted other impersonators, like Mark Lee Pringle of Ohio, to include these details in their shows. Mark portrays the 1950s rock-a-billy era complete with exact replicas of all of Elvis' performance guitars and stage clothes from 1954 to 1958, as well as old 1950s RCA microphones and even a full-size Nipper dog statue on-stage (Mark is the only impersonator that uses RCA's Nipper).

Influences in academia

In paleontology, researchers D.H. Erwin and M.L. Droser in a 1993 paper derived from the Elvis impersonators the term Elvis taxon (plural Elvis taxa), which denotes a taxon that has been misidentified as having re-emerged in the fossil record after a period of presumed extinction, but is not actually a descendant of the original taxon, instead having developed a similar morphology through convergent evolution.[30]

Other

• The Elvis Extravaganza Show band is considered to be the top Elvis Tribute band worldwide. They have performed over 1500 songs and have toured with every major musician that Elvis Presley used in his bands over his entire career.
• Elvii is a registered trade name that belongs to the Elvis Extravaganza Fan Club. It is not a plural for the form Elvi in Elvis impersonators (this, however, is not grammatically correct, as the name "Elvis" derives from Old English. Even if it somehow were a third-declension Latin noun, the plural form would be Elvēs). This term was popularized by a Saturday Night Live sketch where Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi respectively impersonated the younger and older versions of Elvis. The term Elvira (plural, Elviras) has been used to refer to female Elvis impersonators.
• Billionaire Robert Sillerman, owner of the TV show American Idol, bought an 85% stake in Elvis Presley Enterprises in 2005. Among other things, this gives him control of Elvis Presley's name and likeness in the US; this however does not include Britain (where the Elvis image is in the public domain), Europe and most other countries in the world.[31]
• The UK radio presenter Steve Wright includes a comedy feature on his show entitled "Ask Elvis". An Elvis impersonator (Mitch Benn) provides answers to listeners' questions—particularly those of a scientific or technical nature.[32]
• An Elvis impersonator won the summer 2007 reality show The Next Best Thing on ABC. A second impersonator finished in the top five. Many other Elvis Impersonators who were on the show were also known as Elvis Entertainers.
• Jack Womack's Dryco quartet, Elvissey (1993) depicts a future world wracked by climate change, where Elvis Presley has become the central messianic figure in an alternative religion, and where Elvis impersonation has become a sacred rite of spiritual possession. Therefore, the central protagonists are tasked with retrieving an alternate history Elvis, who turns out to suffer from psychosis, has murdered his mother Gladys Presley and who is also a Valentinean gnostic, who reacts adversely to his perceived messiah role.
• The video game Fallout: New Vegas features a faction of Elvis impersonators, 'The Kings', that live in an abandoned school of Elvis impersonation. They and their leader, The King, dress as Elvis in various forms, such as the 'Jailhouse Rocker' and 'Memphis Kid,' and reference Elvis songs often in their speech. They don't know Elvis' name, since all the material they could find referred to him as 'The King'.
• The video game Grand Theft Auto 2 features groups of Elvis impersonators who walk the streets of the city. If the player can kill them simultaneously in a short amount of time (usual method would be to run them all down in a row with a car), the player is given a large cash bonus and the words "ELVIS HAS LEFT THE BUILDING" appear onscreen and is announced by the in-game narrator. It should also be noted that the members of the Rednecks gang (who appear in the Residential Area of the city) are devout Elvis fans and their in-game sprite is based on Elvis (slicked quiff, sideburns, sunglasses).
• The video game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas features pedestrians dressed as Elvis in Las Venturas, a city based on Las Vegas.
• Dread Zeppelin is a tribute/parody band that performs the songs of Led Zeppelin in a reggae style with an Elvis impersonator, (Tortelvis), as lead singer.
• In 1990 the band Living Colour released the song Elvis Is Dead, whose lyrics criticised Elvis impersonation.
• Professional Wrestler Wayne Farris better known by his ring name The Honky Tonk Man is known for portraying an Elvis Impersonator Gimmick.

New Zealand Elvises

Steve Fitter


Image

Steve Fitter is an Elvis impersonator from Waikato. On the 15th of May, 2011, he entered the Elvis Down Under competition in Upper Hutt. The three songs he sang were, "If I Can Dream", "Kentucky Rain" and "Polk Salad Annie". He was the winner of the competition. In the following month, he was off to compete at the Wntersun Festival in New South Wales.[33] In February 2013, he was set to appear at the annual fourth tribute to Elvis Presley event, held at the Auckland Botanic Gardens in Manurewa, Auckland. Elvis impersonators set to appear besides Fitter were, Brendon Chase, Melissa Perkins and Kerryn Winn. Dean Vegas and Paul Fenech from Australia were also booked for the event.[34]

Des Perenara aka Elvis Desley

Image

Des Perenara, a Maori Elvis comes from Auckland but is now based in Cardigan, Wales. He has taken part in the Porthcawl Elvis Festival.[35] His day job is at BGT Labratorites in Ffostrasol, which makes antidote products including snake anti-venom. He once sang some songs on Karaoke at a 30th birthday party which his mother in law loved. It was her motivation that helped him become an Elvis tribute artist. He appeared in episode 3 of the BBC Two Wales documentary, Cardigan Bay Coastal Lives.[36][37]

Andy Stankovich

Image

Andy Stankovich is a well known Elvis impersonator from Auckland, New Zealand. He has been performing as Elvis since around 2000. Besides performing throughout New Zealand, he has performed in Australia, Hawaii, Fiji and the United States.[38]

Elvis from the Pacific Islands

Samoan Elvises


There have been at least three prominent Elvis impersonators of Samoan descent.

Mr. Fatu

Image

During the 1970s, a star attraction at the Aloha Lounge in Florida's Hawaiian Inn was Mr. Fatu. At the time, he was referred to as the greatest Elvis impressionist around.[39][40] Following a break, he was back December 1976.[41]The following year in August 1977, he was appearing at the Colonial Inn, fronting a nine-piece band called Coastal Connection.[42] Among the LP albums he recorded were his 1976 album, Mr. Fatu Sings Elvis, which was recorded live at The Hawaiian Inn,[43] and Manatua Mai A'u (Remember Me), released on the Tam-Bay label.[44] His single "Love's Not Made Of Time" bw "God Will Rule" was produced by John Centinaro,[45] who would work with another Elvis impersonator Johnny Charro.[46][47] Another single of his, released on the Fire Mountain label in 1980, "Just One Look" bw "Darling" is a sought after collectors item.[48]

Sam Leilani

During the early 1990s, Sam Leilani from Reseda, L.A. made the news briefly. He was a former dancer with a Polynesian troupe. Leilani, who had referred to himself as a "rock 'n' roll-singing Polynesian guy", had formed a rockabilly band in the early 90s and had performed in Hawaii. He would be in the traditional Elvis dress from the waist up, but from below the waist was in Bermuda shorts and bare feet.[49]

Alphonso Keil

Image

Alphonso Keil was an Elvis impersonator and professional musician.[50] He was born in Samoa in 1944, came to New Zealand as a boy. He was from the same family that made up the Keil Isles.[51] During the 1960s, he played drums with Sonny Day and The Sundowners.[52] Also during the 1960s, he played rhythm guitar with The Zodiacs and then The Kavaliers, a group fronted by his brother Freddie.[53] Keil was influenced by Elvis impersonator Andy Stankovich who he saw live. In the late 90s he started up a group called Alphonso Keil and the Kavaliers. He performed regularly at the Elvis in the Park concerts at Cranwell Park in Henderson, Auckland, New Zealand, New Zealand. He died at age 64 in July 2008, after battling cancer.[54]

Johnny Angel

Image

Another Elvis of Samoan descent is Johnny Angel. He is a published author and has appeared on New Zealand television in ads, Like Minds, Like Mine.[55][56] Like Alphonso Keil before him,[57] Angel regularly performs at the Parkes Elvis Festival, an event that now attracts 20,000. He was there in 2016 for the event,[58] and in there in 2018.[59]

Others

Other Samoan Elvis's include Elvis of Samoa,[60] and Nifae Fepuleai.

Asian Elvis

Malaysia


Image

Malaysia has Tony Warren who is known as "the Tom Jones of Malaysia". He also has an Elvis tribute act. He has been performing since the late 1960s and in the 1980s was performing at the Copper Grill in The Weld on Jalan Raja Chulan, Kuala Lumpur, and in later years at the Royal Selangor Club in Dataran Merdeka.[61][62]

See also

• Madonna wannabe
• Michael Jackson impersonator
• Impersonator
• Look-alike
• Tribute band
• Dorian Baxter
• Eilert Pilarm
• El Vez
• Elvis Herselvis
• Kjell Elvis
• The Flying Elvises
• Cooking with Elvis
• The Honky Tonk Man
• Graceland Wedding Chapel

References

1. "LadyLuck Music Tribute Artist Radio Station". LadyLuck Music. 2006. Retrieved 2007-03-15.
2. "Elvii.com Radio Station". Kitty Coyne. 2006. Retrieved 2007-03-15.
3. Eric Lott, "All the King's Men: Elvis Impersonators and White Working-Class Masculinity." In Harry Stecopoulos and Michael Uebel, eds., Race and the Subject of Masculinities (Duke University Press, 1997), p.198.
4. Oberst, Stanley; Torrance, Lori (2001-11-19). Elvis In Texas: The Undiscovered King 1954-1958. Taylor Trade Publishing. p. 17. ISBN 1461732824. Retrieved 2017-07-13.
5. Victoria Daily Times, December 9, 1957
6. Wolf, Buck (2001-08-16). "The Sad End of the First Elvis Impersonator". ABC News. Retrieved 2017-07-13.
7. Waking Andy Kaufman, The Village Voice
8. Steven Connor, The Cambridge Companion to Postmodernism (Cambridge University Press, 2004), p.108.
9. Weekly World News, July 11, 2005
10. "The Pedant's Return: Why the Things You Think Are Wrong Are Right" By Andrea Barham
11. Eric Lott, p.194.
12. Kristine L. Blair and Libby Allison, Cultural Attractions/Cultural Distractions: Critical Literacy in Contemporary Contexts(2000), p.88.
13. Eric Lott, "All the King's Men: Elvis Impersonators and White Working-Class Masculinity," in Harry Stecopoulos and Michael Uebel, eds., Race and the Subject of Masculinities (Duke University Press, 1997), p.202.
14. See Lois Tyson, Critical Theory Today: A User-Friendly Guide (1999), p.332.
15. See Gael Sweeney, "The King of White Trash Culture: Elvis Presley and the Aesthetics of Excess." In Annalee Newitz and Matt Wray, eds., White Trash: Race and Class in America (1996), p.262.
16. Sweeney, "The King of White Trash Culture," p.262.
17. George Plasketes, Images of Elvis Presley in American Culture, 1977–1997: The Mystery Terrain (1997), p.3.
18. For more details, see David S. Wall, "Policing Elvis: Legal Action and the Shaping of Post-Mortem Celebrity Culture as Contested Space." Archived 2007-06-16 at the Wayback Machine.
19. "Festival History". Parkes Elvis Festival. 2016. Retrieved 2016-01-31.
20. "Elvis Weddings". Elvis Weddings. 2014. Retrieved 2014-02-09.
21. "Elvis Impersonator". Martin Fox. 2014. Retrieved 2014-02-09.
22. "Guinness book of records - Largest gathering of Elvis impersonators". http://www.guinnessworldrecords.com.
23. Gadfly Online: David McNair and Jayson Whitehead, "Love and Theft."
24. Francesca Brittan, "Women Who 'Do Elvis': Authenticity, Masculinity and Masquerade", published in the Journal of Popular Music Studies, Vol. 18, No. 2. (August 2006), pp.167–190.
25. Marjorie Garber, Vested Interests: Cross-dressing and Cultural Anxiety (1992), p.372. See also Matt Hills, Fan Cultures (2002), p.164.
26. "Donations to Clarity". Second Wind Publishing LLC. 2011. Archived from the original on 2013-11-01. Retrieved 2014-02-09.
27. "Almost Elvis". John Paget (PAGET FILMS). Retrieved 2014-02-09.
28. "Watch: Quentin Tarantino makes a GOLDEN GIRLS cameo… as Elvis". Miramax. 2012-10-16. Archived from the original on 2013-10-12.
29. Samuel French page for the play Martha, Josie and the Chinese Elvis
30. Erwin, D.H. and Droser, M.L., 1993. Elvis taxa. Palaios, v.8, pp.623–624.
31. "Robert Sillerman comments about likeness rights". NME.com. 2006. Retrieved 2014-02-09.
32. "Steve Wright — Ask Elvis". BBC. 2007. Archived from the original on 2007-02-20. Retrieved 2007-05-30.
33. NewsHub, Tuesday 17 May 2011 Kiwi Elvis impersonator to take on the Aussies
34. Manukau Courier, 18-01-2013 Elvis to shake up gardens
35. BBC Des Perenara – AKA Elvis Desley
36. Wales Online, 3 Nov 2015 This man makes snake anti-venom by day and is Ceredigion’s only Maori Elvis tribute artist by night By Rachael Misstear
37. BBC Two Caredigan Bay Coastal Lives, Episode 3
38. Western Leader, July 16, 2015 Andy Stankovich is Elvis for six New Zealand shows - Courtney Martin
39. Theorizing Self in Samoa: Emotions, Genders, and Sexualities By Jeannette Marie Mageo Page 40
40. The Ledger Tuesday Nov 18, 1975 To Dining and Entertainment, Hawaiian Inn: Exciting Resort in St. Pete Beach
41. The evening Independent Dec 1, 1976 8-B Entertainment
42. The Evening Independent August 19, 1977 5-B Mr. Fatu And The Coastal Connection At Colonial Inn
43. Discogs Mr. Fatu* – Mr. Fatu Sings Elvis
44. Discogs Fatu* – Manatua Mai A'u (Remember Me)
45. Discogs Fatu* – Love's Not Made Of Time
46. Johnny Charro Website Page 14/LA GACETA/Friday, June 9, 2006 . . ., Silhouettes by Paul Guzzo ArchivedAugust 6, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
47. The Ledger Friday, September 2, 1977 1B Nightly Tribute To The King, Entertainer Inspired By Elvis Deeply Affected By His Death By Susan Barbosa
48. 45cat Record Details, Catalogue: 3829 / M15-3829
49. Los Angeles Times, August 16, 1993 Elvis Lives! In Many Shapes and Colors : King's Spirit Infuses Multicultural 'Elvi' - Trin Yarborough
50. Western Leader, 11 November 2003 Page 1 Elvis devotee ready to perform - Stephen Forbes
51. Western Leader 23-07-2008 Samoan Elvis sings his last, Alphonso Keil dies
52. Rate Your Music Sonny Day and The Sundowners, Members
53. Sergent.com.au Freddie Keil and the Kavaliers
54. Western Leader 23/07/2008 Samoan Elvis sings his last, Alphonso Keil dies
55. Like Minds, Issue 46, December 2011 Talking with an Angel, Page 1 - 4, By Ruth Jackson
56. Spark Foundation Johnny-Angel wheels for an Angel
57. Western Leader 23-07-2008 Samoan Elvis sings his last, Alphonso Keil dies
58. Parkes CHampion Post, 8 Apr 2016 20,000 for one day Elvis Festival in New Zealand by Gail Bartley
59. '"Eastern Courier, March 4 2018 - Thousands 'all shook up' at Auckland's Elvis in the Gardens - TARANNUM SHAIKH
60. ATEED Pasifika programme Sunday 13 March, Sunday programme, > Samoa, 2.10pm Elvis of Samoa
61. The Star, Saturday, 7 Jul 2007 - Warren makes time for grandson by Stuart Michael
62. The Star, Saturday, 23 Apr 2011 - LIFESTYLE, Tony Warren still rocking by Sonja Mustaffa

External links

• Elvis impersonators at Curlie (based on DMOZ)
• Elvis Is In The Browser Open database of worldwide Elvis' with forum and blog.
• Poll of how Elvis fans feel about Elvis impersonators
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Re: Spinning Boris, directed by Roger Spottiswoode

Postby admin » Fri Sep 07, 2018 3:49 am

'Smart' Putin & election loans: 5 must-read Clinton-Yeltsin exchanges released
by Russia Today (rt.com)
Published time: 31 Aug, 2018 00:36

NOTICE: THIS WORK MAY BE PROTECTED BY COPYRIGHT

YOU ARE REQUIRED TO READ THE COPYRIGHT NOTICE AT THIS LINK BEFORE YOU READ THE FOLLOWING WORK, THAT IS AVAILABLE SOLELY FOR PRIVATE STUDY, SCHOLARSHIP OR RESEARCH PURSUANT TO 17 U.S.C. SECTION 107 AND 108. IN THE EVENT THAT THE LIBRARY DETERMINES THAT UNLAWFUL COPYING OF THIS WORK HAS OCCURRED, THE LIBRARY HAS THE RIGHT TO BLOCK THE I.P. ADDRESS AT WHICH THE UNLAWFUL COPYING APPEARED TO HAVE OCCURRED. THANK YOU FOR RESPECTING THE RIGHTS OF COPYRIGHT OWNERS.


Image
US President Bill Clinton holds a meeting with Russian President Boris Yeltsin in Istanbul, November 18, 1999 / Reuters

Election influence, NATO expansion and Vladimir Putin were just some of the hot button topics discussed twenty years ago by US President Bill Clinton and Russian leader Boris Yeltsin, newly released transcripts reveal.

Nearly 600 pages of memos and transcripts, documenting dozens of personal exchanges and telephone conversations between Clinton and Yeltsin, were made public by the Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock, Arkansas last month.

Although dating from January 1993 to December 1999, many of the documents touch upon issues that now dominate the news cycle, providing often overlooked historical perspective and context to the current state of US-Russia relations.

Clinton sends 'his people' to get Yeltsin elected

Amid unceasing allegations of nefarious Russian influence in the 2016 presidential election, the Clinton-Yeltsin exchanges reveal how the US government threw its full weight behind Boris – in Russian parliamentary elections as well as for the 1996 reelection campaign, which he approached with 1-digit ratings.

For example, a transcript from 1993 details how Clinton offered to help Yeltsin in upcoming parliamentary elections by selectively using US foreign aid to shore up support for the Russian leader's political allies.


"What is the prevailing attitude among the regional leaders? Can we do something through our aid package to send support out to the regions?" a concerned Clinton asked.

[President Bill Clinton] What is the prevailing attitude among the regional leaders? Can we do something through our aid package to send support out to the regions?

[President Boris Yeltsin] That would be good. Those regional leaders who were supporting the opposition are now changing their support to us. But nonetheless, this kind of regional support would be very useful.

[President Bill Clinton] I will have my people follow up with yours on that issue.


Kevin Rothrock
@KevinRothrock
Here's Bill Clinton in 1993 offering to help Boris Yeltsin in upcoming parliamentary elections by earmarking some foreign aid for opposition-leaning regions.
10:52 AM - Aug 30, 2018


Yeltsin liked the idea, replying that "this kind of regional support would be very useful." Clinton then promised to have "his people" follow up on the plan.

In another exchange, Yeltsin asks his US counterpart for a bit of financial help ahead of the 1996 presidential election: "Bill, for my election campaign, I urgently need for Russia a loan of $2.5 billion," he said. Yeltsin added that he needed the money in order to pay pensions and government wages – obligations which, if left unfulfilled, would have likely led to his political ruin. Yeltsin also asks Clinton if he could "use his influence" to increase the size of an IMF loan to assist him during his re-election campaign.

[President Boris Yeltsin] Thank you, Bill. I intend to take a risk and fly down to Chechnya. I will try to have all three parties at the negotiating table. When I say all three parties, the troika, I mean the Chechen government, the field commanders -- since there is no Dudayev and no successor now -- and the Federal government, that is, the Chernomyrdin state commission. I hope they'll be sitting at the table by the time I leave. Hassan might be of great help.

[President Bill Clinton] That is a very courageous decision. Everyone will see you are trying to bring about peace and restrain the military action. That's good. If there is anything else I can do, let me know. I'm ready.

[President Boris Yeltsin] Okay. Thank you for your help with the Hassan II, and if anything else can be done, I'll tell you.

And I have another question, Bill. Please understand me correctly. Bill, for my election campaign, I urgently need for Russia a loan of $2.5 billion.


Emily Tamkin
@emilyctamkin
Replying to @emilyctamkin
To think that, while I was getting ready to graduate kindergarten, Yeltsin was asking Clinton for a 2.5 billion loan for his election.
8:49 AM - Aug 30, 2018


[President Boris Yeltsin] Bill, thank you. Thank you very much for your comments. One thing I wanted to ask has to do with the IMF loan in the amount of nine billion dollars [$9 billion]. I will be meeting Camdessus here and would like to ask you to use your influence to perhaps add a little, from nine to 13 billion dollars -- to deal with social problems in this very important pre-election situation and help the people.

[President Bill Clinton] I support concluding a new agreement. I'll see what can be possible; I will do some work on it.


Kevin Rothrock
@KevinRothrock
Here's Boris Yeltsin in February 1996 asking Bill Clinton to “use his influence” to add a few billion dollars to an IMF loan to help Yeltsin during his reelection campaign.
11:12 AM - Aug 30, 2018


Yeltsin questions NATO expansion

The future of NATO was still an open question in the years following the collapse of the Soviet Union, and conversations between Clinton and Yeltsin provide an illuminating backdrop to the current state of the curiously offensive 'defensive alliance' (spoiler alert: it expanded right up to Russia's border).

In 1995, Yeltsin told Clinton that NATO expansion would lead to "humiliation" for Russia, noting that many Russians were fearful of the possibility that the alliance could encircle their country.

"It's a new form of encirclement if the one surviving Cold War bloc expands right up to the borders of Russia. Many Russians have a sense of fear. What do you want to achieve with this if Russia is your partner? They ask. I ask it too: Why do you want to do this?" Yeltsin asked Clinton.

[President Boris Yeltsin] We've got a deal. [Offers his hand and they shake on it.]

Now to the issue of European security -- a question no less important than the one we've been discussion. In fact, it's more important! I want to get a clear understanding of your idea of NATO expansion because now I see nothing but humiliation for Russia if you proceed. How do you think it looks to us if one bloc continues to exist while the Warsaw Pact has been abolished? It's a new form of encirclement if the one surviving Cold War bloc expands right up to the borders of Russia. Many Russians have a sense of fear. What do you want to achieve with this if Russia is your partner? they ask. I ask it too: Why do you want to do this? We need a new structure for Pan-European security, not old ones!


Mike Eckel
@Mike_Eckel
this is a noteworthy tidbit from the "Boris-and-Bill" memos that were released last month (getting attention today). In 1995, Yeltsin explicitly tells Clinton about Russian "humiliation" of NATO continues to expand eastward @andrewsweiss
1:22 PM - Aug 30, 2018


As the documents show, Yeltsin insisted that Russia had "no claims on other countries," adding that it was "unacceptable" that the US was conducting naval drills near Crimea.

"It is as if we were training people in Cuba. How would you feel?" Yeltsin asked. The Russian leader then proposed a "gentleman's agreement" that no former Soviet republics would join NATO.

Clinton refused the offer, saying: "I can't make the specific commitment you are asking for. It would violate the whole spirit of NATO. I've always tried to build you up and never undermine you."

NATO bombing of Yugoslavia turns Russia against the West

Although Clinton and Yeltsin enjoyed friendly relations, NATO's bombing of Yugoslavia tempered Moscow's enthusiastic partnership with the West.

"Our people will certainly from now have a bad attitude with regard to America and with NATO," the Russian president told Clinton in March 1999. "I remember how difficult it was for me to try and turn the heads of our people, the heads of the politicians towards the West, towards the United States, but I succeeded in doing that, and now to lose all that."

Yeltsin urged Clinton to renounce the strikes, for the sake of "our relationship" and "peace in Europe."

[President Boris Yeltsin] In the name of our future, in the name of you and me, in the name of the future of our countries, in the name of security in Europe, I ask you to renounce that strike, and I suggest that we should meet somewhere and develop a tactical line of fighting against Milosevic, against him personally. And we are wiser, we are more experienced, we can come up with a solution. That should be done for the sake of our relationship. That should be done for the sake of peace in Europe. It is not known who will come after us and it is not known what will be the road of future developments in strategic nuclear weapons. It is known, however, what will be when we are in power because we have taken the decision to decrease them, decrease them, decrease them.


Leonid Ragozin
@leonidragozin
The declassified White House Yeltsin files reveal the drama at the turning point in US-Russia relations, when Yeltsin pleaded, threatened and despaired trying to make Clinton call off the bombing of Yugoslavia. The road to where we are starts right there. Dug out by @vassgatov
5:44 PM - Aug 30, 2018


"It is not known who will come after us and it is not known what will be the road of future developments in strategic nuclear weapons," Yeltsin reminded his US counterpart.

But Clinton wouldn't cede ground.

Julian Borger
@julianborger
Clinton to Yeltsin on Milosevic: "It will be your decision if you decide to let this bully destroy the relationship we worked hard for over six and a half years to build up... I’m sorry he is a Serb. I wish he were Irish or something else, but he is not.”https://tnsr.org/2018/08/bill-and-boris-a-window-into-a-most-important-post-cold-war-relationship/ …
9:39 AM - Aug 30, 2018


Image
Bill and Boris: A Window Into a Most Important Post-Cold War Relationship - Texas National Security...
Against the backdrop of an enormous power differential between their two countries, Clinton and Yeltsin established a close personal rapport. They used those positive feelings to interact effectively...
tnsr.org


"Milosevic is still a communist dictator and he would like to destroy the alliance that Russia has built up with the US and Europe and essentially destroy the whole movement of your region toward democracy and go back to ethnic alliances. We cannot allow him to dictate our future," Clinton told Yeltsin.

Yeltsin asks US to 'give Europe to Russia'

One exchange that has been making the rounds on Twitter appears to show Yeltsin requesting that Europe be "given" to Russia during a meeting in Istanbul in 1999. However, it's not quite what it seems.

"I ask you one thing," Yeltsin says, addressing Clinton. "Just give Europe to Russia. The US is not in Europe. Europe should be in the business of Europeans."

[President Boris Yeltsin] Bill, Bill. I got your note. I went into all these things in incredible detail. I read it and I was satisfied. I've not yet ceased to believe in you.

I ask you one thing. Just give Europe to Russia. The U.S. is not in Europe. Europe should be the business of Europeans. Russia is half European and half Asian.

[President Bill Clinton] So you want Asia too?

[[President Boris Yeltsin] Sure, sure, Bill. Eventually, we will have to agree on all of this.

[President Boris Yeltsin] I don't think the Europeans would like this very much.

[President Boris Yeltsin] Not all. But I am a European. I live in Moscow. Moscow is in Europe and I like it. You can take all ...[/quote]

Oscar Jonsson
@OAJonsson
Yeltsin to Clinton “I ask you one thing. Just give Europe to Russia.”
10:51 AM - Aug 30, 2018


However, the request is slightly less sinister than it sounds when put into context: The two leaders were discussing missile defense, and Yeltsin was arguing that Russia – not the US – would be a more suitable guarantor of Europe's security.

"We have the power in Russia to protect all of Europe, including those with missiles," Yeltsin told Clinton.


Clinton on Putin: 'He's very smart'

Perhaps one of the most interesting exchanges takes place when Yeltsin announces to Clinton his successor, Vladimir Putin.

In a conversation with Clinton from September 1999, Yeltsin describes Putin as "a solid man," adding: "I am sure you will find him to be a highly qualified partner."

Bryan MacDonald
@27khv
Here's how Boris Yeltsin introduced Bill Clinton to Vladimir Putin, back in 1999: "(Putin) is thorough and strong, very sociable. And he can easily have good relations and contact with people who are his partners. I'm sure you will find him to be a highly qualified partner."

Andrew S. Weiss
@andrewsweiss
Replying to @andrewsweiss
A few items are missing, but readers can see how Yeltsin secretly told Clinton how Putin became his handpicked successor--and just how concerned U.S. officials were about Putin’s ascendancy, the rollback of post-1991 reforms and the recentralization of power in the Kremlin. 6/

[President Boris Yeltsin] Shortly, in the next few days, you will have a meeting with Mr. Putin. Briefly at this time, I would like to tell you about him so you will know what kind of man he is. It took me a lot of time to think who might be the next Russian president in the year 2000. Unfortunately, at that time, I could not find any sitting candidate. Finally, I came across him, that is, Putin, and I explored his bio, his interests, his acquaintances, and so on and so forth. I found out he is a solid man who is kept well abreast of various subjects under his purview. At the same time, he is thorough and strong, very sociable. And he can easily have good relations and contact with people who are his partners. I am sure you will find him to be a highly qualified partner. I am very much convinced that he will be supported as a candidate in the year 2000. We are working on it accordingly.


8:05 AM - 30 Aug 2018


12:51 PM - Aug 30, 2018


A month later, Clinton asks Yeltsin who will win the Russian presidential election.

"Putin, of course. He will be the successor to Boris Yeltsin. He's a democrat, and he knows the West."

"He's very smart,"
Clinton remarks.
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Re: Spinning Boris, directed by Roger Spottiswoode

Postby admin » Fri Sep 07, 2018 4:21 am

Bill and Boris: A Window Into a Most Important Post-Cold War Relationship
by James Goldgeier
Texas National Security Review
Vol 1, Iss 4
August 28, 2018

NOTICE: THIS WORK MAY BE PROTECTED BY COPYRIGHT

YOU ARE REQUIRED TO READ THE COPYRIGHT NOTICE AT THIS LINK BEFORE YOU READ THE FOLLOWING WORK, THAT IS AVAILABLE SOLELY FOR PRIVATE STUDY, SCHOLARSHIP OR RESEARCH PURSUANT TO 17 U.S.C. SECTION 107 AND 108. IN THE EVENT THAT THE LIBRARY DETERMINES THAT UNLAWFUL COPYING OF THIS WORK HAS OCCURRED, THE LIBRARY HAS THE RIGHT TO BLOCK THE I.P. ADDRESS AT WHICH THE UNLAWFUL COPYING APPEARED TO HAVE OCCURRED. THANK YOU FOR RESPECTING THE RIGHTS OF COPYRIGHT OWNERS.




Image

Against the backdrop of an enormous power differential between their two countries, Clinton and Yeltsin established a close personal rapport. They used those positive feelings to interact effectively even when they were being frank in their disagreements, the most serious of which were over NATO enlargement — a major sore spot for Yeltsin — and the Kosovo War, the greatest test of the two leaders' personal relationship.

Editorial Note: In light of the public interest in U.S.-Russian relations, especially in the aftermath of President Donald Trump’s meeting with President Vladimir Putin in Helskinki this summer, the Texas National Security Review will be publishing a series of essays in our “Strategist” section on past U.S. presidents and their engagements with Soviet and Russian leaders.

As many were decrying the lack of any formal record of the one-on-one meeting between President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, the Clinton Presidential Library in July posted online nearly all of the declassified memoranda of conversation (“memcons”) from the in-person meetings and telephone conversations (“telcons”) between President Bill Clinton and Russian President Boris Yeltsin from Jan. 23, 1993, to Dec. 31, 1999, when Yeltsin abruptly resigned from office and made way for Putin. With 18 memcons and 56 telcons available through the library’s website, it is possible to view directly the key discussions between these two leaders over time, from the early days when Clinton publicly backed Yeltsin in his bloody political standoff with the Russian parliament to their later disagreements over NATO enlargement and Kosovo, along with numerous conversations about arms control, Chechnya, Iran, and other global issues.1

As someone who worked in the Clinton administration and has written about U.S.-Russian relations in this period,2 I found that the documents allow a much deeper and broader understanding of three core features of the Clinton-Yeltsin interactions. First, the two leaders established a close personal rapport and used those positive feelings to interact effectively even when they were being frank in their disagreements, the most serious of which were over NATO enlargement and the Kosovo War. Throughout, from the 1993 political turmoil in Russia through the 1998 Russian financial crisis and beyond, Clinton offered Yeltsin his full personal support.

Second, the two men used their meetings and phone calls to build trust in one another by explicitly referring to delivering on promises made in their prior conversations. This proved particularly important in their discussions of NATO enlargement. Clinton was trying to thread a needle: He sought to keep the issue from harming Yeltsin’s reelection bid in the summer of 1996 while ensuring that the United States responded to Central and Eastern European desires to join the Western alliance. Because Clinton believed the issue would affect his own reelection bid, he wanted to make clear to voters of Central and Eastern European descent in the Midwest before November 1996 that he was moving forward with enlargement. From 1994 to 1996, Clinton reminded Yeltsin often of his assurances about the timing.

Third, and perhaps most important when their interactions are compared with those of other U.S. and Soviet (and later Russian) heads of state during the Cold War and after, an enormous power differential existed between the two countries in this period and was the backdrop to their conversations. Yeltsin’s Russia was extremely weak, a country in economic free-fall and strategic decline. Clinton’s America was enjoying its unipolar moment.3 In no other era before or since has the Russian president been in such a weak position when meeting with his American counterpart, and the declassified memcons and telcons from this period show how that imbalance of power permeates the discussions. The meetings largely consist of Yeltsin agreeing to Clinton’s requests after some back and forth. But also clear is Yeltsin’s desire for Russia to be seen as an equal to the United States, something that was important for his predecessors and successors alike and a factor in U.S.-Russian relations often underappreciated by many in the West.


Clinton’s Support for Yeltsin and the Building of a Personal Rapport

In his first term, Boris Yeltsin needed Bill Clinton’s support as he battled domestic Russian opposition to his policies. It was not just financial support for Russia that was critical, although that assistance was important, including when Clinton publicly endorsed what became a $10.2 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund announced in the midst of the 1996 Russian presidential campaign.4 Clinton also offered Yeltsin complete public support when the latter used military force in a standoff with the Russian parliament in the fall of 1993. Clinton did so because he believed he needed Yeltsin — a Russian president committed to good relations with the West who could thereby enable the American president to shrink the U.S. defense budget to pay for cherished domestic programs.

One of the first big moments in their relationship came in April 1993, when Yeltsin held a referendum that asked voters whether they trusted him, approved of his socioeconomic policies, and believed new presidential and parliamentary elections should be conducted ahead of schedule. Russia experts in the U.S. government thought that Yeltsin would lose overwhelmingly, and
Clinton’s top Russia adviser, Strobe Talbott, wrote later that the president “followed the referendum as though it were an American election.” Remarkably, given the state of the Russian economy, 58.7 percent of voters affirmed their trust in Yeltsin and 53 percent approved his socioeconomic policies. Clinton happily threw his support behind the Russian president.5 In a call the next day, Clinton told Yeltsin, “I’m about to issue a statement in support of your policies. I want you to know that we’re in this with you for the long haul.” Yeltsin closed the call by saying, “I hug you from the bottom of my heart.”6

By September, however, parliamentary opposition to Yeltsin grew stronger. Clinton called Yeltsin early that month to convey his continued support amid the standoff in Moscow. In a follow-up call on Sept. 21, Yeltsin told him, “Bill, the Supreme Soviet [the Russian parliament] has totally gone out of control. It no longer supports the reform process. They have become communist. We can no longer put up with that.” He added, “I think there will be no bloodshed,”7 which turned out to be mistaken.

The battle between Yeltsin and the opposition legislators came to a head on Oct. 3, when Yeltsin ordered his military to shell the parliament building. A bloody clash between the executive and legislative branches was not exactly a sign of a healthy democracy, but Clinton phoned two days later to tell Yeltsin, “I wanted to call you and express my support.” Yeltsin responded, “Now that these events are over, we have no more obstacles to Russia’s democratic elections and our transition to democracy and market economy.” Yeltsin even mused that he might hold elections for president at the same time as parliamentary elections in December and told Clinton that he “might end up in the Guinness Book of World Records for standing for election three times in three years.” (He did not carry out this plan.) Yeltsin closed by telling Clinton once again, “I embrace you with all my heart.”8


In no other era before or since has the Russian president been in such a weak position when meeting with his American counterpart.


Clinton continued to emphasize his personal support for Yeltsin over the course of their terms in office. In late 1994, Russia invaded the breakaway province of Chechnya. Clinton expressed concern about the impact of this war on Yeltsin’s image. Referring to an upcoming speech by the Russian president to parliament, Clinton told him, referring to Yeltsin’s pivotal role during the August 1991 coup against Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, “It is also an opportunity to remind the world of why you are the best hope for continued reform in Russia. I want everyone to see you as the person who stood on the tank and stood up for freedom.”9

In the run-up to the first round of the Russian presidential election in June 1996, Yeltsin was growing desperate for financial assistance. He told the U.S. president, “Bill, for my election campaign, I urgently need for Russia a loan of $2.5 billion.” Yeltsin explained that he was not seeing results yet from the rescheduling of Russia’s debt by the group of major creditor countries known as the Paris Club, and the bulk of the recently announced IMF loan would not arrive until later in the year. “But the problem,” said Yeltsin, “is I need money to pay pensions and wages.” Clinton assured him, “I’ll check on this with the IMF and some of our friends and see what can be done.”10

No matter what challenges they faced, domestically or in their relationship, they maintained a strong personal bond. In a telephone exchange in late October 1997, months after the two had met in Denver in June, Yeltsin told Clinton, “You know, I started missing your voice.” Clinton replied, “I miss you too.” (They had a similar exchange in February 1998 only three weeks after their previous call!)11

Clinton saw Yeltsin as a significant figure in Russian history, and he tried to convey that at various points. At a meeting in May 1998, Clinton said, “You know, Boris, we really are working with the stuff of history here. I’m convinced that 20 years from now, when the Russian economy is booming, people will look back and say we were right; we did the right things. I just hope you get all the credit you deserve while you’re still around, because you’ve done a terrific job of leading your country during one of the two or three most important moments in Russian history.”12

The greatest test of their personal relationship came during the Kosovo bombing campaign in March 1999. Clinton and his European counterparts believed that NATO needed to carry out airstrikes against Serbia to bring its leader, Slobodan Milosevic, to the bargaining table. Yeltsin was stridently opposed to any use of force, not just because of the close ties between Russia and Serbia but partly because, unlike the situation in Bosnia a few years earlier, this would mean military intervention in the internal affairs of a sovereign country. Russia’s ability to wield a veto in the U.N. Security Council meant that authorization for the war from that body would not be forthcoming.13

In a phone conversation between the two men as NATO was about to launch airstrikes, Clinton, after rehashing all that Milosevic had done, told Yeltsin bluntly, “Basically, it will be your decision if you decide to let this bully destroy the relationship we worked hard for over six and a half years to build up.” He reminded Yeltsin of all his public and private support over the years, including providing economic assistance to Russia and his multiple visits to Moscow. “You may decide to let this get in the way of our relationship, but I’m not going to because I do not think he’s that important. I’m sorry he is a Serb. I wish he were Irish or something else, but he is not.”
Clinton tried telling Yeltsin that maybe after a few strikes, Milosevic would seek diplomacy; after all, he had come to the table in 1995 to end the earlier Balkan war.

Yeltsin would have none of it: “[O]ur people will certainly from now have a bad attitude with regard to America and with NATO. I remember how difficult it was for me to try and turn the heads of our people, the heads of the politicians towards the West, towards the United States, but I succeeded in doing that, and now to lose all that. Well, since I failed to convince the President, that means there is in store for us a very difficult, difficult road of contacts, if they prove to be possible.” He signed off with “Goodbye,” with no added embrace.14

The latter part of the war led to quite an up-and-down in their conversations. In early May 1999, as they were coming to agreement on what needed to be done, Yeltsin told Clinton, “I owe you a bear hug.” Clinton replied, “Yes, I want a bear hug.”15 Clinton called Yeltsin on June 10, after discussions between Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin, Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari, and Milosevic appeared to end the conflict, and Yeltsin told him, “I would like to hug and kiss you, and I am sincerely glad that in such a difficult situation our friendship wasn’t broken.”16

No matter what challenges they faced, domestically or in their relationship, they maintained a strong personal bond.


Alas, in the next few days, Russian forces occupied the airport in Pristina, and it looked like NATO and Russian forces might come into conflict. Clinton and Yeltsin spoke multiple times by phone. Clinton made clear that a failure to resolve the conflict would harm the upcoming Group of Eight meeting in Germany: “We were about to have in Cologne a celebration of Russia in the peace operation,” an angry Clinton remarked. “Instead, we face day after day, international embarrassment that Kosovo will be wrecked.”17

Russia’s weakness and Yeltsin’s desire to be feted by his G-8 colleagues in Cologne were key factors in the ultimate resolution of the conflict but so, too, was the importance of the relationship the two presidents had built, a relationship that was tested over the years by the U.S. decision to expand NATO eastward.

Clinton’s Promises on Enlargement

Perhaps no issue provides a greater window into the nature of the relationship between the two presidents than their lengthy discussions from 1994 to 1997 about NATO enlargement. An undercurrent of their exchanges involved Clinton’s efforts to ensure that he did not harm Yeltsin politically while giving him a very bitter pill to swallow. Another recurrence was Yeltsin’s explanation of the damage this issue was doing to him while ultimately going along with Clinton’s various proposals. There was a brief moment in the fall of 1994 when Yeltsin believed that Clinton was reneging on a commitment not to rush the process and exploded at a Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe (CSCE) summit. The huge power imbalance between the two countries hung over the relationship and punctuated the presidents’ interactions.18

In their meetings and phone calls, Clinton drove the agenda, as he did for nearly all of the issues they discussed over seven years. The two men genuinely got along, partly because they were similar political animals. But at the end of the day, the United States called the shots in the relationship.
Clinton was always trying to make sure that Yeltsin knew he was giving him what he could, and Clinton expected Yeltsin to go along with his proposals. Generally, Yeltsin did. Throughout their conversations on enlargement, Clinton was eager for Yeltsin to know that the United States was keeping a promise Clinton made in September 1994 in one of their discussions in Washington (the declassified memcon of this exchange is not among the cache of documents recently released): namely, that he and his NATO colleagues would go slowly on expanding the alliance given Clinton’s (publicly unstated but understood) desire to see Yeltsin safely reelected in 1996. Meanwhile, Yeltsin focused Clinton’s attention on the domestic political ramifications of NATO enlargement. Interestingly, he did not raise the issue (as others later would) that the United States and its Western European allies had assured Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev during the 1990 negotiations over German unification that NATO would not expand eastward.19

In October 1993, when discussions first began in earnest about NATO’s future, the possibility of enlargement seemed quite distant. Secretary of State Warren Christopher explained to Yeltsin at the latter’s country dacha that the United States planned to pursue the “Partnership for Peace,” which would include all members of the former Warsaw Pact, and NATO enlargement would be considered only as a “longer-term eventuality.”20

Christopher told Yeltsin, “There could be no recommendation to ignore or exclude Russia from full participation in the future security of Europe. As a result of our study, a ‘Partnership for Peace’ would be recommended to the [January 1994] NATO summit which would be open to all members of the [North Atlantic Cooperation Council] including all European and [former Soviet] states. There would be no effort to exclude anyone and there would be no step taken at this time to push anyone ahead of others.” Yeltsin was obviously relieved. “This is a brilliant idea, it is a stroke of genius,” he said. “It is important that there is an idea of partnership for all and not new membership for some.” Yeltsin exclaimed, “It really is a great idea, really great,” adding, “Tell Bill I am thrilled by this brilliant stroke.”21

In late December, a few weeks before Clinton was to meet Yeltsin in Moscow after the NATO summit, the two men spoke by phone. The primary purpose was to discuss the recent Russian parliamentary elections and for Clinton to remind Yeltsin of how the United States had delivered on the economic assistance announced at their first meeting, in Vancouver, the previous April. Clinton stated simply, “I will be in Brussels for the NATO summit and in Prague before I see you and will want to discuss Russian participation in NATO’s Partnership for Peace proposal.” Yeltsin responded that he had recently met with NATO Secretary General Manfred Woerner: “We discussed a plan of action for the countries of Eastern Europe to cooperate with NATO in a way that would not be at the expense of Russia and also a plan of action for Russia to join NATO.” While Clinton did not respond to Yeltsin’s comment, their discussion was quite cordial; after all, as far as Yeltsin understood, NATO enlargement was not on the table in a serious way.22

While the Clinton Library collection does not contain the declassified memcon from the presidents’ January 1994 summit in Moscow, nor the specific discussion they had regarding NATO that September in Washington, Clinton’s top Russia adviser, Strobe Talbott, has written that in the latter meeting Clinton told Yeltsin that NATO was going to expand but tried to reassure him that he had no timetable yet. “We’re going to move forward on this, but I’d never spring it on you.” Clinton said there would be “no surprises, no rush, and no exclusion.” He then added, “As I see it, NATO expansion is not anti-Russia. … I don’t want you to believe that I wake up every morning thinking only about how to make the Warsaw Pact countries a part of NATO — that’s not the way I look at it. What I do think about is how to use NATO expansion to advance the broader, higher goal of European security, unity and integration — a goal I know you share.”23

Clinton knew Yeltsin was not going to be happy, so he kept emphasizing that he was promising not to spring anything on Yeltsin and that “no exclusion” meant that Russia would be eligible to join someday. In reality, it was no exclusion in theory but not in practice. Russia was not going to become a NATO member. Even so, Clinton had reason to believe he was managing the process well; after all, Yeltsin told him in a phone call on Oct. 5, 1994, that “the Washington Summit proved a success.”24

At their September meeting, Yeltsin asked Clinton to come to the CSCE summit in Budapest that December. The CSCE was being upgraded to the OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe), and Yeltsin wanted to signal that perhaps there could be alternatives to NATO in addressing European security. Clinton agreed to go. He kept that promise even after the 1994 midterm elections resulted in a Republican takeover of both houses of Congress for the first time in four decades. His White House team scheduled a congressional reception the night of the Budapest summit precisely to try to keep the president from leaving town. But Clinton’s foreign policy team said he had to go, and he did.25 It turned out to be the most disastrous public encounter the two presidents would have.

On Dec. 1, the NATO foreign ministers announced that they would complete a study by the end of 1995 (i.e., a half-year before the 1996 Russian presidential election) on how NATO would enlarge. Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev, who had gone to Brussels to sign Russia’s Partnership for Peace program document and a document on a NATO-Russia dialogue, was ordered by a furious Yeltsin not to sign.

At the Budapest summit a few days later, Clinton gave what his deputy secretary of state, Talbott, described later as the “most in your face” manifestation of the U.S. position on NATO enlargement. In remarks Talbott said were drafted not in his office but within the National Security Council (where National Security Adviser Anthony Lake had been pushing NATO enlargement for more than a year), Clinton declared, “We must not allow the Iron Curtain to be replaced by a veil of indifference. We must not consign new democracies to a gray zone.” He added that “no country outside will be allowed to veto expansion.”26

Yeltsin publicly responded, “Europe, not having yet freed itself from the heritage of the Cold War, is in danger of plunging into a cold peace.”27 Clinton was stunned and angered by the tone of Yeltsin’s remarks. Talbott, who was not on the trip, thought he might be fired for not having adequately prepared his boss for what would occur.28

Soon, however, Clinton had things seemingly back on track thanks in part to visits by others in his administration, including Vice President Al Gore, to see Yeltsin. In advance of his own trip to Moscow in May 1995, Clinton called Yeltsin to discuss NATO. “We recognize how sensitive this issue is for you. That is why I want to assure you that this process is proceeding along a path that is consistent with what you and I agreed upon last September and that Vice President Gore reiterated to you when he saw you in December.” Yeltsin responded, “I fully agree with you on that.” Clinton added, “For the future stability of Europe, it is important that Russia is a vital part of the new security structures that are emerging. That means OSCE, the post-COCOM [the Coordinating Committee for Multilateral Export Controls established by the West after World War II] regime, the new NATO—all of them. None of this can develop normally unless Russia is involved in the process.” Yeltsin stated, “We’ll both have difficult discussions with regards to NATO, but I’m confident we’ll be able to find an acceptable solution for this issue.” Clinton then reported that Secretary of State Christopher and Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev had just described to him a proposal for the upcoming NATO foreign ministers’ meeting that would again affirm that there would be no acceleration of the enlargement process, announce a strengthening of the Partnership for Peace, and begin discussions about a NATO-Russia special relationship.29

Perhaps no issue provides a greater window into the nature of the relationship between the two presidents than their lengthy discussions from 1994 to 1997 about NATO enlargement.


Nevertheless, the issue remained an enormous sore spot for Yeltsin and a domestic political problem. In a three-hour meeting at the Kremlin on May 10, 1995, Yeltsin asked for a better understanding of what Clinton was doing on NATO enlargement “because now I see nothing but humiliation for Russia if you proceed. How do you think it looks to us if one bloc continues to exist while the Warsaw Pact has been abolished?” He called it a “new form of encirclement” and repeated his plea to develop a new pan-European security architecture.

“You and I are heading for elections,” Yeltsin said. “The extremists and hardliners are exploiting this issue for their own purposes — on both sides. I am being attacked from both the right and the left on this. We need a common European space that provides for overall security. So let’s postpone any change in NATO until 1999 or 2000. … But for me to agree to the borders of NATO expanding toward those of Russia — that would constitute a betrayal on my part of the Russian people.” Instead, Yeltsin said in desperation, “Let’s say that Russia will give every state that wants to join NATO a guarantee that we won’t infringe on its security.”

When Clinton asked rhetorically whether the United States still needed to maintain a security relationship with Europe, Yeltsin fired back, “I’m not so sure you do.” Clinton tied his approach to the Victory Day ceremony for which he had come to Moscow and the lessons of history. “Our goal is for the U.S. to stay in Europe and promote a unified, integrated Europe.” He was doing that, he said, by trying to make the Partnership for Peace important, keeping open the door to Russian NATO membership, creating a special NATO-Russia relationship, and ensuring that the NATO membership review process was a deliberate one. Clinton reminded Yeltsin of how this process had unfolded, that he had told Yeltsin in January 1994 that NATO was open to taking in new members, and that in December NATO had agreed to study how to do it. Responding to that study would take the first half of 1996, said Clinton. For Yeltsin, this time frame was vital, because, the Russian leader noted, “my position heading into the 1996 elections is not exactly brilliant.”

Clinton, however, had his own political concerns. He explained to Yeltsin that the Republicans were using NATO expansion in their effort to win over voters of Central European descent in Wisconsin, Illinois, and Ohio. He suggested to Yeltsin that they accept what each other needed to do politically. Yeltsin would not have to embrace expansion. Clinton would not say he was slowing down the process. And meanwhile Yeltsin should sign the documents for Russia to join the Partnership for Peace and to establish a NATO-Russian dialogue:

So here is what I want to do. I’ve made it clear I’ll do nothing to accelerate NATO. I’m trying to give you now, in this conversation, the reassurance you need. But we need to be careful that neither of us appears to capitulate. For you, that means you’re not going to embrace expansion; for me, it means no talk about slowing the process down or putting it on hold or anything like that.


Then Clinton told Yeltsin to sign the two documents. Yeltsin asked again that NATO move forward only after his election. Clinton reiterated the timetable, trying to reassure Yeltsin that nothing concrete would happen until after the summer of 1996. Yeltsin said they should publicly say they discussed the issue, understood each other, and would discuss the issue further at their next meeting. Clinton responded, “Good. So join PFP.” Yeltsin agreed.30

A few months before the NATO leaders’ 1997 announcement in Madrid that the alliance was inviting Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic to join, Yeltsin made one last effort to shape the future at a small meeting with Clinton in Helsinki on March 21. He opened by acknowledging the inevitable. “Our position has not changed,” Yeltsin said. “It remains a mistake for NATO to move eastward. But I need to take steps to alleviate the negative consequences of this for Russia. I am prepared to enter into an agreement with NATO not because I want to but because it is a forced step. There is no other solution for today.”

Yeltsin sought a legally binding accord, signed by all 16 NATO members, that would make clear that NATO decisions would not be made “without taking into account the concerns or opinions of Russia.” He also wanted assurance that no nuclear or conventional arms would move into the new members’ territory, “thus creating a new cordon sanitaire aimed at Russia.”

Then he put on the table what he most wanted. “[O]ne thing is very important: enlargement should also not embrace the former Soviet republics. I cannot sign any agreement without such language. Especially Ukraine.” Recognizing he was unlikely to receive this, he changed tack slightly,

I propose that in the statement we could accept the fact that Russia has no claims on other countries. In fact, regarding the countries of the former Soviet Union, let us have a verbal, gentlemen’s agreement — we would not write it down in the statement — that no former Soviet republics would enter NATO. This gentlemen’s agreement would not be made public.


Clinton responded that he was “trying to change NATO.” He had language in the proposed agreement between NATO and Russia on nuclear and conventional forces. And he wanted to make sure they signed something before the NATO summit “so we can say to the world that there is a new NATO and a new Russia and that’s the right spirit,” to which Yeltsin agreed. But Clinton added that he couldn’t make an agreement on former Soviet republics: “it would be a bad thing for our attempt to build a new NATO, but it would also be a bad thing for your attempt to build a new Russia.” NATO was assisting the process of building an “integrated, undivided Europe,” Clinton argued what Yeltsin was proposing would mean “Russia would be saying, ‘we have still got an empire, but it just can’t reach as far West.’” Clinton didn’t want to come out of the meeting having discussed new lines being drawn in Europe, and he wouldn’t be able to go forward with a treaty because of Senate opposition.

Yeltsin tried again, saying that the Duma would likely make this a condition of its ratification of a NATO-Russia charter. He asked Clinton to tell him what he wanted to hear “one-on-one — without even our closest aides present — that you won’t take new republics in the near future; I need to hear that. I understand that maybe in ten years or something, the situation might change, but not now.” Clinton shot back,

If I went into a closet with you and told you that, the Congress would find out and pass a resolution invalidating the NATO-Russia charter. I’d rather frankly that the Duma pass a resolution conditioning its adherence on this point. I just can’t do it. A private commitment would be the same as a public one. … I know what a terrible problem this is for you, but I can’t make the specific commitment you are asking for. It would violate the whole spirit of NATO.


Yeltsin tried one last time to get what he wanted, but to no avail, and so they moved on to other items. 31

At their last meeting, in Istanbul in November 1999, Yeltsin said to Clinton, “I ask you one thing. Just give Europe to Russia. The U.S. is not in Europe. Europe should be the business of Europeans. Russia is half European and half Asian. … Bill, I’m serious. Give Europe to Europe itself. We have the power in Russia to protect all of Europe, including those with missiles.”32 This was, of course, not a statement the United States would take seriously, and it was hard enough for Russia to be taken seriously by the United States as an equal.

The Imbalance of Power and Russia’s Drive for Equal Status

Yeltsin’s desire to be seen as an equal, and Clinton’s efforts to provide window dressing to help with appearances, permeated their conversations throughout the two presidents’ time in office, and not only during their conversations over NATO enlargement. During the September 1994 Washington summit, Yeltsin said, “[T]here are some people in the White House and Congress who believe that Russia has lost its superpower status. Of course, not you personally, Bill.” Clinton responded, “I have tried in every way to relate to Russia and to you as a great power and to enhance your role, whether in the G-7 or bilaterally.”33

Still, neither could escape the fact that the two countries occupied completely different status levels in the international system. At their May 1995 meeting in Moscow, Clinton said to Yeltsin, “You have to walk through the doors that we open for you.”34 The Russians wanted to be treated as equals, and the idea of walking through doors the United States was opening for them made clear that they were not.

The dynamic was such, however, that when Yeltsin got spun up on these issues, Clinton would soothe him. In a one-on-one meeting (with Talbott and Yeltsin’s assistant Dmitry Ryurikov as notetakers) in Moscow in April 1996, Yeltsin came into the meeting clearly angry because Foreign Minister Yevgeny Primakov had told him that the United States was trying to sideline Russia in the Middle East. Clinton said, “That’s not correct. No one’s sidelining anybody.” When Yeltsin said he was not convinced, Clinton reminded him of all they had done together since their first meeting three years earlier: “We’ve done a remarkable job in getting a lot done and also in being honest about our differences. My objectives are first, an integrated, undivided Europe; and second, a cooperative equal partnership with a democratic, economically successful Russia which is influential in the world.” He added, “I want historians fifty years from now to look back on this period and say you and I took full advantage of the opportunity we had. We made maximum use of the extraordinary moment that came with the end of the Cold War.”

Yeltsin zeroed in on the one word that mattered to him: “The key word you just used was ‘equal’ partnership. This will restore trust and confidence.” Clinton explained how Russia could play an important role in the Middle East due to its influence with Syria and Hezbollah. Yeltsin appeared mollified.35

One of the major issues in their relationship was Russia’s ascension to the group of advanced industrialized democracies. The G-7 was to become the G-8. Clinton faced significant opposition to this move from his own Treasury Department, which was concerned about diluting a body of the world’s leading market economies with membership for a country that did not yet have a market economy and whose gross domestic product was quite small.36 At a larger meeting of the two leaders and their teams in April 1996 at the Kremlin, Clinton explained that the G-7’s work coordinating fiscal policy “among the world’s richest countries” was important and that if Russia were included, countries such as Mexico, South Korea, and Brazil would ask to join as well.

Yeltsin argued, “Russia will be on the rise. I cannot agree to the ‘7 plus 1’ formula; I also understand that we cannot reach the level of a full G-8. You have to keep in mind that we are a great power, which affects how people think about this.”37

A year later, at their March 1997 meeting in Helsinki, Clinton publicly stated:

We will work with Russia to advance its membership in key international economic institutions like the W.T.O., the Paris Club, and the O.E.C.D. And I am pleased to announce, with the approval of the other G-7 nations, that we will substantially increase Russia’s role in our annual meeting, now to be called the Summit of the Eight, in Denver this June.38


At a bilateral meeting of the two presidents and a small group of advisers in Paris in advance of the “Summit of the Eight,” Yeltsin raised the issue of how Russia’s economy was labeled. National Security Adviser Samuel R. Berger explained that by law, Russia would be far worse off in terms of trade preferences being labeled a market economy than if it were designated a non-market economy or a transition economy. Yeltsin did not care for the designation, seeing it as an insult: “Russia is not a transition economy. We have transformed. It is a market economy.” Labels mattered to him; Yeltsin wanted Russia to be seen as a great power on par with the other leading world powers.39

Conclusions

These records are an important reminder that notes of presidential meetings and phone calls are not simply documents for scholars trying to make sense of history. They are critical in real time for officials who need to follow up on what their bosses have discussed. The recently released Clinton White House records show the distribution of these conversations, typically to the secretary of state, Deputy Secretary of State Talbott (who often was with the president for the meetings and phone calls), and the U.S. ambassador to Moscow. The role these documents play in developing policy is a major reason why there was so much concern when Donald Trump met with Vladimir Putin one-on-one for more than two hours in Helsinki in July 2018 with no notetakers present.40

[N]otes of presidential meetings and phone calls are not simply documents for scholars trying to make sense of history. They are critical in real time for officials who need to follow up on what their bosses have discussed.


Reading these memcons and telcons as a narrative record of the seven years of interactions between Clinton and Yeltsin left me feeling rather sad. The two leaders certainly accomplished a great deal: Yeltsin ensured that Russian troops left the Baltic countries, worked to keep Russian entities from transferring missile technologies to Iran, and participated in the Implementation Force in Bosnia alongside NATO and under American command. The two presidents worked with their counterparts in Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine to transfer to Russia the strategic nuclear weapons those countries inherited upon the collapse of the Soviet Union.

It is notable that many of their accomplishments occurred during their first terms and were largely issues related to the collapse of the Soviet Union such as the removal of Russian troops from the Baltics and the stationing of strategic nuclear weapons. They had big plans throughout their two terms for new arms-control agreements, but domestic political constraints got in the way. Ultimately, neither the United States nor Russia found a place for Russia in the basic architecture of European security. Meanwhile, Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine ended up in a zone of insecurity, not able to join NATO and each with Russian military forces on its territory.

A conversation at the end of their time together regarding Yeltsin’s successor was more hopeful than was warranted. In September 1999, Yeltsin informed Clinton by phone,

It took me a lot of time to think who might be the next Russian president in the year 2000. Unfortunately, at that time, I could not find any sitting candidate. Finally, I came across him, that is, Putin, and I explored his bio, his interests, his acquaintances, and so on and so forth. I found out he is a solid man who is kept well abreast of various subjects under his purview. At the same time, he is thorough and strong, very sociable. And he can easily have good relations and contact with people who are his partners. I am sure you will find him to be a highly qualified partner. I am very much convinced that he will be supported as a candidate in the year 2000.41


In their in-person conversation in Istanbul in November 1999, Clinton asked who was going to win the Russian presidential election the next year, and Yeltsin did not hesitate: “Putin, of course. He will be the successor to Boris Yeltsin. He’s a democrat, and he knows the West.” He added, “He’s tough. He has an internal ramrod. He’s tough internally, and I will do everything possible for him to win — legally, of course. And he will win. You’ll do business together. He will continue the Yeltsin line on democracy and economics and widen Russia’s contacts. He has the energy and the brains to succeed.”42

On Dec. 31, 1999, Clinton called Yeltsin just after Yeltin’s announcement that he was stepping down in favor of Putin, who of course went on to win the presidential election a few months later. In that final call, Clinton said, “You have guided your country through a historic time and you are leaving a legacy that will leave Russians better off for years to come. … Boris, I believe that historians will say you were the father of Russian democracy…”

After telling Clinton once again that Putin would win and that he was a strong, intelligent democrat, Yeltsin ended their call as he had done so often over the previous seven years: “I would like from the bottom of my heart to embrace you.”43

James Goldgeier is a professor of international relations at American University, visiting senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, and the 2018-19 Library of Congress chair in U.S.-Russia relations at the John W. Kluge Center. You can follow him on Twitter: @JimGoldgeier.


_______________

Notes:

1 The documents are in two files labeled “Declassified Documents Concerning Russian President Boris Yeltsin.” The first covers the period from Jan. 23, 1993, to April 21, 1996, and can be found at https://clinton.presidentiallibraries.u ... show/57568. The second covers the period from April 21, 1996, to Dec. 31, 1999, and can be found at https://clinton.presidentiallibraries.u ... show/57569. The letters they sent one another have not been declassified.

2 James M. Goldgeier and Michael McFaul, Power and Purpose: U.S. Policy Toward Russia After the Cold War (Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press, 2003).

3 Charles Krauthammer, “The Unipolar Moment,” Foreign Affairs 70, no. 1 (1990/1991), https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles ... lar-moment.

4 Paul Quinn-Judge, “Clinton Gives Yeltsin a Vote of Confidence; Declares Support for $9 Billion Loan,” Boston Globe, Jan. 31, 1996. The agreed-upon loan amount ended up being $10.2 billion. See Michael Gordon, “Russia and I.M.F. Agree on a Loan for $10.2 Billion,” New York Times, Feb. 23, 1996, https://www.nytimes.com/1996/02/23/worl ... llion.html. See also the Clinton-Yeltsin discussion of the loan in Memorandum of Telephone Conversation, “The President’s Discussion with President Yeltsin on the Russian Election, Bilateral Relations, START II Ratification and NATO,” Feb. 21, 1996, https://clinton.presidentiallibraries.u ... show/57568, 357.

5 Goldgeier and McFaul, Power and Purpose, 125; Strobe Talbott, The Russia Hand: A Memoir of Presidential Diplomacy (New York: Random House, 2002), 70.

6 Memorandum of Telephone Conversation, “Telcon with President Yeltsin of Russia,” April 26, 1993, https://clinton.presidentiallibraries.u ... show/57568, 51–52.

7 Memorandum of Telephone Conversation, “Telcon with President Boris Yeltsin of the Russian Federation,” Sept. 7, 1993; Memorandum of Telephone Conversation, “Telcon with President Boris Yeltsin of Russian Federation,” Sept. 21, 1993, https://clinton.presidentiallibraries.u ... show/57568, 95, 107.

8 Memorandum of Telephone Conversation, “Telcon with President Boris Yeltsin of Russian Federation,” Oct. 5, 1993, https://clinton.presidentiallibraries.u ... show/57568, 119–21.

9 Memorandum of Telephone Conversation, “Telephone Conversation with Russian President Yeltsin: Chechnya, START II,” Feb. 13, 1995, https://clinton.presidentiallibraries.u ... show/57568, 269.

10 Memorandum of Telephone Conversation, “Telephone Conversation with Russian President Yeltsin on CTBT, Chechnya, Economics, CFE and Russian Election,” May 7, 1996, https://clinton.presidentiallibraries.u ... show/57569, 26–27.

11 Memorandum of Telephone Conversation, “Telephone Conversation with Russian President Yeltsin,” Oct. 30, 1997; Memorandum of Telephone Conversation, “Telephone Conversation with Russian President Boris Yeltsin, Feb. 23, 1998, https://clinton.presidentiallibraries.u ... show/57569, 183, 253.

12 Memorandum of Conversation, “President Boris Yeltsin of Russia,” Birmingham, England, May 17, 1998, https://clinton.presidentiallibraries.u ... show/57569, 316.

13 John Norris, Collision Course: NATO, Russia, and Kosovo (New York: Praeger, 2005).

14 Memorandum of Telephone Conversation, “Telephone Conversation with Russian President Yeltsin,” March 24, 1999, https://clinton.presidentiallibraries.u ... show/57569, 432–36. Note that the document is dated 1998, but given the content and the placement in the records, it is clear the call was from 1999.

15 Memorandum of Telephone Conversation, “Telephone Conversation with Russian President Yeltsin,” May 2, 1999, https://clinton.presidentiallibraries.u ... show/57569, 472.

16 Memorandum of Telephone Conversation, “Telcon with President Yeltsin of Russia,” June 10, 1999, https://clinton.presidentiallibraries.u ... show/57569, 488.

17 Memorandum of Telephone Conversation, “Telephone Conversation with Russian President Yeltsin,” June 13, 1999, https://clinton.presidentiallibraries.u ... show/57569, 535.

18 For more on the impact of NATO enlargement on their relationship, see Goldgeier and McFaul, Power and Purpose.

19 See Mary Elise Sarotte, “Perpetuating U.S. Preeminence: The 1990 Deals to ‘Bribe the Soviets Out’ and Move NATO In,” International Security 35, no. 1 (Summer 2010): 110–37, https://doi.org/10.1162/ISEC_a_00005; Mary Elise Sarotte, “Not One Inch Eastward? Bush, Baker, Kohl, Genscher, Gorbachev, and the Origin of Russian Resentment toward NATO Enlargement in February 1990,” Diplomatic History 34, no. 1 (January 2010): 119–40, https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-7709.2009.00835.x; Joshua R. Itzkowitz Shifrinson, “Deal or No Deal? The End of the Cold War and the U.S. Offer to Limit NATO Expansion,” International Security 40, no. 4 (Spring 2016): 7–44, https://www.mitpressjournals.org/doi/pd ... EC_a_00236. For arguments that the notion of promises or assurances are mistaken, see, for example, Mark Kramer, “The Myth of a No-NATO-Enlargement Pledge to Russia,” Washington Quarterly 32, no. 2 (2009): 39–61, https://doi.org/10.1080/01636600902773248; James M. Goldgeier, Not Whether But When: The U.S. Decision to Enlarge NATO (Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press, 1999); Steven Pifer, “Did NATO Promise Not to Enlarge? Gorbachev Says ‘No,’” Brookings Institution, Nov. 6, 2014, https://www.brookings.edu/blog/up-front ... v-says-no/.

20 “Secretary Christopher’s Meeting with President Yeltsin,” Moscow, Oct. 22, 1993, https://nsarchive2.gwu.edu/dc.html?doc= ... eting-with. This document was posted by the National Security Archive at George Washington University earlier this year and was declassified through a Freedom of Information Act request I made many years ago.

21 For a discussion of this meeting’s importance for future developments, see James Goldgeier, “Promises Made, Promises Broken? What Yeltsin Was Told About NATO in 1993 and Why It Matters,” War on the Rocks, July 12, 2016, https://warontherocks.com/2016/07/promi ... t-matters/.

22 Memorandum of Telephone Conversation, “Telcon with President Boris Yeltsin of the Russian Federation,” Dec. 22, 1993, https://clinton.presidentiallibraries.u ... show/57568, 144–45. Unfortunately, the declassified memcon from their meeting in Moscow in January 1994 is not included in the cache of documents recently made available by the Clinton Library.

23 Talbott, The Russia Hand, 136; Ronald D. Asmus, Opening NATO’s Door: How the Alliance Remade Itself for a New Era (New York: Columbia University Press, 2004), 90. For an explanation of how U.S. policy developed from January to September 1994, see Goldgeier, Not Whether But When.

24 Memorandum of Telephone Conversation, “Telephone Conversation with Russian President Yeltsin,” Oct. 5, 1994, https://clinton.presidentiallibraries.u ... show/57568, 227. Note that the document itself is dated 1993, but the content and the date on the transmittal memorandum make clear that it is from 1994.

25 Goldgeier and McFaul, Power and Purpose, 189–90.

26 Talbott, The Russia Hand, 141; “Remarks by the President at Plenary Session of 1994 Summit of the Council on Security and Cooperation in Europe,” White House Office of the Press Secretary, Dec. 5, 1994, https://clintonwhitehouse6.archives.gov ... apest.html.

27 Daniel Williams, “Yeltsin, Clinton Clash over NATO’s Role,” Washington Post, Dec. 6, 1994, https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/ ... f1a236ce9/.

28 Goldgeier and McFaul, Power and Purpose, 192.

29 Memorandum of Telephone Conversation, “Presidential Telephone Call,” April 27, 1995, https://clinton.presidentiallibraries.u ... show/57568, 281–82.

30 “Summary report on One-On-One Meeting Between Presidents Clinton and Yeltsin,” St. Catherine’s Hall, The Kremlin, May 10, 1995, https://clinton.presidentiallibraries.u ... show/57568, 290–96.

31 Memorandum of Conversation, “Morning Meeting with Russian President Yeltsin: NATO-Russia, START, ABM/TMD,” Helsinki, March 21, 1997, https://clinton.presidentiallibraries.u ... show/57569, 106–10.

32 Memorandum of Conversation, “Meeting with Russian President Yeltsin,” Istanbul, Nov. 19, 1999, https://clinton.presidentiallibraries.u ... show/57569, 562–63.

33 Memorandum of Conversation, “Meeting with President Boris Yeltsin,” Sept. 27, 1994, https://clinton.presidentiallibraries.u ... show/57568, 214–15.

34 “Summary report on One-On-One Meeting Between Presidents Clinton and Yeltsin,” St. Catherine’s Hall, The Kremlin, May 10, 1995, https://clinton.presidentiallibraries.u ... show/57568, 293.

35 “POTUS-Yeltsin One-on-One,” Presidential Ceremonial Office, The Kremlin, April 21, 1996, https://clinton.presidentiallibraries.u ... show/57568, 381–85.

36 Goldgeier and McFaul, Power and Purpose, 207.

37 Memorandum of Conversation, “Luncheon Meeting with Russian President Boris Yeltsin,” The Kremlin, April 21, 1996, https://clinton.presidentiallibraries.u ... show/57569, 11–12.

38 “The President’s News Conference with President Boris Yeltsin of Russia in Helsinki,” March 21, 1997, http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=53904.

39 Memorandum of Conversation, “Meeting with Russian President Yeltsin: NATO-Russia, Arms Control, Economics, Denver Summit of the Eight, Afghanistan, Iran,” Paris, May 27, 1997, https://clinton.presidentiallibraries.u ... show/57569, 148–49.

40 James Goldgeier, "Trump and Putin one-on-one is not a good idea. Here’s why." Monkey Cage blog, July 19, 2017 (revised and republished July 13, 2018), https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/mon ... -big-deal/.

41 Memorandum of Telephone Conversation, “Telephone Conversation with Russian President Yeltsin,” Sept. 8, 1999, https://clinton.presidentiallibraries.u ... show/57569, 548.

42 Memorandum of Conversation, “Meeting with Russian President Yeltsin,” Istanbul, Nov. 19, 1999, https://clinton.presidentiallibraries.u ... show/57569, 565–66.

43 Memorandum of Telephone Conversation, “Telcon with Russian President Boris Yeltsin,” Dec. 31, 1999, https://clinton.presidentiallibraries.u ... show/57569, 582–84.
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Re: Spinning Boris, directed by Roger Spottiswoode

Postby admin » Sat Sep 08, 2018 1:17 am

Newly Declassified Documents: Gorbachev Told NATO Wouldn't Move Past East German Border. So what happened?
by Dave Majumdar
The National Interest
December 12, 2017

NOTICE: THIS WORK MAY BE PROTECTED BY COPYRIGHT

YOU ARE REQUIRED TO READ THE COPYRIGHT NOTICE AT THIS LINK BEFORE YOU READ THE FOLLOWING WORK, THAT IS AVAILABLE SOLELY FOR PRIVATE STUDY, SCHOLARSHIP OR RESEARCH PURSUANT TO 17 U.S.C. SECTION 107 AND 108. IN THE EVENT THAT THE LIBRARY DETERMINES THAT UNLAWFUL COPYING OF THIS WORK HAS OCCURRED, THE LIBRARY HAS THE RIGHT TO BLOCK THE I.P. ADDRESS AT WHICH THE UNLAWFUL COPYING APPEARED TO HAVE OCCURRED. THANK YOU FOR RESPECTING THE RIGHTS OF COPYRIGHT OWNERS.


Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev was given a host of assurances that the NATO alliance would not expand past what was then the East German border in 1990 according to new declassified documents.

Russian leaders often complain that the NATO extended an invitation to Hungary, Poland and what was then Czechoslovakia to joint the alliance in 1997 at the Madrid Summit in contravention of assurances offered to the Soviet Union before its 1991 collapse. The alliance has dismissed the notion that such assurances were offered, however, scholars have continued to debate the issue for years. Now, however, newly declassified documents show that Gorbachev did in fact receive assurances that NATO would not expand past East Germany.

“The documents show that multiple national leaders were considering and rejecting Central and Eastern European membership in NATO as of early 1990 and through 1991,” George Washington University National Security Archives researchers Svetlana Savranskaya and Tom Blanton wrote. “That discussions of NATO in the context of German unification negotiations in 1990 were not at all narrowly limited to the status of East German territory, and that subsequent Soviet and Russian complaints about being misled about NATO expansion were founded in written contemporaneous memcons and telcons at the highest levels.”


Indeed, Russian Presidents Boris Yeltsin and Vladimir Putin have complained bitterly about the expansion of NATO towards their borders despite what they had believed were assurances to the contrary. “What happened to the assurances our western partners made after the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact? Where are those declarations today?” Putin said at the Munich Conference on Security Policy in 2007.“No one even remembers them. But I will allow myself to remind this audience what was said. I would like to quote the speech of NATO General Secretary Mr. Woerner in Brussels on 17 May 1990. He said at the time that: ‘the fact that we are ready not to place a NATO army outside of German territory gives the Soviet Union a firm security guarantee.’ Where are these guarantees?”

As the newly declassified documents show, the Russians might have had a point. While it was previously understood that Secretary of State James Baker’s assurance to Gorbachev that NATO would not expand “not one inch eastward” during a February 9, 1990, meeting was only in the context of German reunification ....

Baker: And the last point. NATO is the mechanism for securing the U.S. presence in Europe. If NATO is liquidated, there will be no such mechanism in Europe. We understand that not only for the Soviet Union but for other European countries as well it is important to have guarantees that if the United States keeps its presence in Germany within the framework of NATO, not an inch of NATO's present military jurisdiction will spread in an eastern direction.

We believe that consultations and discussions within the framework of the "two + four" mechanism should guarantee that Germany's unification will not lead to NATO's military organization spreading to the east.

***

Baker: I want to ask you a question, and you need not answer it right now. Supposing unification takes place, what would you prefer: a united Germany outside of NATO, absolutely independent and without American troops; or a united Germany keeping its connections with NATO, but with the guarantee that NATO's jurisprudence or troops will not spread east of the present boundary?

Gorbachev: We will think everything over. We intend to discuss all these questions in depth at the leadership level. It goes without saying that a broadening of the NATO zone is not acceptable.

Baker: We agree with that.

-- Record of Conversation between Mikhail Gorbachev and James Baker, The National Security Archive, Source: Archive of the Gorbachev Foundation, Fond 1, Opis 1. Translated by Anna Melyakova, February 9, 1990


the new documents show that this was not the case.

Gorbachev only accepted German reunification—over which the Soviet Union had a legal right to veto under treaty—because he received assurances that NATO would not expand after he withdrew his forces from Eastern Europe from James Baker, President George H.W. Bush, West German foreign minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher, West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, the CIA Director Robert Gates, French President Francois Mitterrand, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, British foreign minister Douglas Hurd, British Prime Minister John Major, and NATO secretary-general Manfred Woerner.

Indeed, as late as March 1991, the British were reassuring Gorbachev that they could not foresee circumstances under which NATO might expand into Eastern and Central Europe. As former British Ambassador to the Soviet Union recounted in March 5, 1991, Rodric Braithwaite, both British foreign minister Douglas Hurd and British Prime Minister John Major told the Soviet that NATO would not expand eastwards.

“I believe that your thoughts about the role of NATO in the current situation are the result of misunderstanding,” Major had told Gorbachev. We are not talking about strengthening of NATO. We are talking about the coordination of efforts that is already happening in Europe between NATO and the West European Union, which, as it is envisioned, would allow all members of the European Community to contribute to enhance [our] security.”


Of course, later, in 1994, Bill Clinton decided to expand NATO eastward despite the various assurances that the previous administration had offered Gorbachev—and despite legendary diplomat George F. Kennan’s repeated warnings.

Svetlana Savranskaya and Tom Blanton’s full report along with 30 of these documents can be found here.

Dave Majumdar is the defense editor for The National Interest . You can follow him on Twitter: @davemajumdar.

Image Credit : NATO/Flickr.
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Re: Spinning Boris, directed by Roger Spottiswoode

Postby admin » Sat Sep 08, 2018 1:30 am

Part 1 of 2

NATO Expansion: What Gorbachev Heard
Briefing Book #613
by Svetlana Savranskaya and Tom Blanton
Published: Dec 12, 2017

NOTICE: THIS WORK MAY BE PROTECTED BY COPYRIGHT

YOU ARE REQUIRED TO READ THE COPYRIGHT NOTICE AT THIS LINK BEFORE YOU READ THE FOLLOWING WORK, THAT IS AVAILABLE SOLELY FOR PRIVATE STUDY, SCHOLARSHIP OR RESEARCH PURSUANT TO 17 U.S.C. SECTION 107 AND 108. IN THE EVENT THAT THE LIBRARY DETERMINES THAT UNLAWFUL COPYING OF THIS WORK HAS OCCURRED, THE LIBRARY HAS THE RIGHT TO BLOCK THE I.P. ADDRESS AT WHICH THE UNLAWFUL COPYING APPEARED TO HAVE OCCURRED. THANK YOU FOR RESPECTING THE RIGHTS OF COPYRIGHT OWNERS.


Image
Michail Gorbachev discussing German unification with Hans-Dietrich Genscher and Helmut Kohl in Russia, July 15, 1990. Photo: Bundesbildstelle / Presseund Informationsamt der Bundesregierung.

Declassified documents show security assurances against NATO expansion to Soviet leaders from Baker, Bush, Genscher, Kohl, Gates, Mitterrand, Thatcher, Hurd, Major, and Woerner

Slavic Studies Panel Addresses “Who Promised What to Whom on NATO Expansion?”


Washington D.C., December 12, 2017 – U.S. Secretary of State James Baker’s famous “not one inch eastward” assurance about NATO expansion in his meeting with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev on February 9, 1990, was part of a cascade of assurances about Soviet security given by Western leaders to Gorbachev and other Soviet officials throughout the process of German unification in 1990 and on into 1991, according to declassified U.S., Soviet, German, British and French documents posted today by the National Security Archive at George Washington University (http://nsarchive.gwu.edu).

The documents show that multiple national leaders were considering and rejecting Central and Eastern European membership in NATO as of early 1990 and through 1991, that discussions of NATO in the context of German unification negotiations in 1990 were not at all narrowly limited to the status of East German territory, and that subsequent Soviet and Russian complaints about being misled about NATO expansion were founded in written contemporaneous memcons and telcons at the highest levels.

The documents reinforce former CIA Director Robert Gates’s criticism of “pressing ahead with expansion of NATO eastward [in the 1990s], when Gorbachev and others were led to believe that wouldn’t happen.”[1] The key phrase, buttressed by the documents, is “led to believe.”

President George H.W. Bush had assured Gorbachev during the Malta summit in December 1989 that the U.S. would not take advantage (“I have not jumped up and down on the Berlin Wall”) of the revolutions in Eastern Europe to harm Soviet interests; but neither Bush nor Gorbachev at that point (or for that matter, West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl) expected so soon the collapse of East Germany or the speed of German unification.[2]

The first concrete assurances by Western leaders on NATO began on January 31, 1990, when West German Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher opened the bidding with a major public speech at Tutzing, in Bavaria, on German unification. The U.S. Embassy in Bonn (see Document 1) informed Washington that Genscher made clear “that the changes in Eastern Europe and the German unification process must not lead to an ‘impairment of Soviet security interests.’ Therefore, NATO should rule out an ‘expansion of its territory towards the east, i.e. moving it closer to the Soviet borders.’” The Bonn cable also noted Genscher’s proposal to leave the East German territory out of NATO military structures even in a unified Germany in NATO.[3]

This latter idea of special status for the GDR territory was codified in the final German unification treaty signed on September 12, 1990, by the Two-Plus-Four foreign ministers (see Document 25). The former idea about “closer to the Soviet borders” is written down not in treaties but in multiple memoranda of conversation between the Soviets and the highest-level Western interlocutors (Genscher, Kohl, Baker, Gates, Bush, Mitterrand, Thatcher, Major, Woerner, and others) offering assurances throughout 1990 and into 1991 about protecting Soviet security interests and including the USSR in new European security structures. The two issues were related but not the same. Subsequent analysis sometimes conflated the two and argued that the discussion did not involve all of Europe. The documents published below show clearly that it did.

The “Tutzing formula” immediately became the center of a flurry of important diplomatic discussions over the next 10 days in 1990, leading to the crucial February 10, 1990, meeting in Moscow between Kohl and Gorbachev when the West German leader achieved Soviet assent in principle to German unification in NATO, as long as NATO did not expand to the east. The Soviets would need much more time to work with their domestic opinion (and financial aid from the West Germans) before formally signing the deal in September 1990.

The conversations before Kohl’s assurance involved explicit discussion of NATO expansion, the Central and East European countries, and how to convince the Soviets to accept unification. For example, on February 6, 1990, when Genscher met with British Foreign Minister Douglas Hurd, the British record showed Genscher saying, “The Russians must have some assurance that if, for example, the Polish Government left the Warsaw Pact one day, they would not join NATO the next.” (See Document 2)

Having met with Genscher on his way into discussions with the Soviets, Baker repeated exactly the Genscher formulation in his meeting with Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze on February 9, 1990, (see Document 4); and even more importantly, face to face with Gorbachev.

Not once, but three times, Baker tried out the “not one inch eastward” formula with Gorbachev in the February 9, 1990, meeting. He agreed with Gorbachev’s statement in response to the assurances that “NATO expansion is unacceptable.” Baker assured Gorbachev that “neither the President nor I intend to extract any unilateral advantages from the processes that are taking place,” and that the Americans understood that “not only for the Soviet Union but for other European countries as well it is important to have guarantees that if the United States keeps its presence in Germany within the framework of NATO, not an inch of NATO’s present military jurisdiction will spread in an eastern direction.” (See Document 6)

Afterwards, Baker wrote to Helmut Kohl who would meet with the Soviet leader on the next day, with much of the very same language. Baker reported: “And then I put the following question to him [Gorbachev]. Would you prefer to see a united Germany outside of NATO, independent and with no U.S. forces or would you prefer a unified Germany to be tied to NATO, with assurances that NATO’s jurisdiction would not shift one inch eastward from its present position? He answered that the Soviet leadership was giving real thought to all such options [….] He then added, ‘Certainly any extension of the zone of NATO would be unacceptable.’” Baker added in parentheses, for Kohl’s benefit, “By implication, NATO in its current zone might be acceptable.” (See Document 8)

Well-briefed by the American secretary of state, the West German chancellor understood a key Soviet bottom line, and assured Gorbachev on February 10, 1990: “We believe that NATO should not expand the sphere of its activity.” (See Document 9) After this meeting, Kohl could hardly contain his excitement at Gorbachev’s agreement in principle for German unification and, as part of the Helsinki formula that states choose their own alliances, so Germany could choose NATO. Kohl described in his memoirs walking all night around Moscow – but still understanding there was a price still to pay.

All the Western foreign ministers were on board with Genscher, Kohl, and Baker. Next came the British foreign minister, Douglas Hurd, on April 11, 1990. At this point, the East Germans had voted overwhelmingly for the deutschmark and for rapid unification, in the March 18 elections in which Kohl had surprised almost all observers with a real victory. Kohl’s analyses (first explained to Bush on December 3, 1989) that the GDR’s collapse would open all possibilities, that he had to run to get to the head of the train, that he needed U.S. backing, that unification could happen faster than anyone thought possible – all turned out to be correct. Monetary union would proceed as early as July and the assurances about security kept coming. Hurd reinforced the Baker-Genscher-Kohl message in his meeting with Gorbachev in Moscow, April 11, 1990, saying that Britain clearly “recognized the importance of doing nothing to prejudice Soviet interests and dignity.” (See Document 15)

The Baker conversation with Shevardnadze on May 4, 1990, as Baker described it in his own report to President Bush, most eloquently described what Western leaders were telling Gorbachev exactly at the moment: “I used your speech and our recognition of the need to adapt NATO, politically and militarily, and to develop CSCE to reassure Shevardnadze that the process would not yield winners and losers. Instead, it would produce a new legitimate European structure – one that would be inclusive, not exclusive.” (See Document 17)

Baker said it again, directly to Gorbachev on May 18, 1990 in Moscow, giving Gorbachev his “nine points,” which included the transformation of NATO, strengthening European structures, keeping Germany non-nuclear, and taking Soviet security interests into account. Baker started off his remarks, “Before saying a few words about the German issue, I wanted to emphasize that our policies are not aimed at separating Eastern Europe from the Soviet Union. We had that policy before. But today we are interested in building a stable Europe, and doing it together with you.” (See Document 18)

The French leader Francois Mitterrand was not in a mind-meld with the Americans, quite the contrary, as evidenced by his telling Gorbachev in Moscow on May 25, 1990, that he was “personally in favor of gradually dismantling the military blocs”; but Mitterrand continued the cascade of assurances by saying the West must “create security conditions for you, as well as European security as a whole.” (See Document 19) Mitterrand immediately wrote Bush in a “cher George” letter about his conversation with the Soviet leader, that “we would certainly not refuse to detail the guarantees that he would have a right to expect for his country’s security.” (See Document 20)

At the Washington summit on May 31, 1990, Bush went out of his way to assure Gorbachev that Germany in NATO would never be directed at the USSR: “Believe me, we are not pushing Germany towards unification, and it is not us who determines the pace of this process. And of course, we have no intention, even in our thoughts, to harm the Soviet Union in any fashion. That is why we are speaking in favor of German unification in NATO without ignoring the wider context of the CSCE, taking the traditional economic ties between the two German states into consideration. Such a model, in our view, corresponds to the Soviet interests as well.” (See Document 21)

The “Iron Lady” also pitched in, after the Washington summit, in her meeting with Gorbachev in London on June 8, 1990. Thatcher anticipated the moves the Americans (with her support) would take in the early July NATO conference to support Gorbachev with descriptions of the transformation of NATO towards a more political, less militarily threatening, alliance. She said to Gorbachev: “We must find ways to give the Soviet Union confidence that its security would be assured…. CSCE could be an umbrella for all this, as well as being the forum which brought the Soviet Union fully into discussion about the future of Europe.” (See Document 22)

The NATO London Declaration on July 5, 1990 had quite a positive effect on deliberations in Moscow, according to most accounts, giving Gorbachev significant ammunition to counter his hardliners at the Party Congress which was taking place at that moment. Some versions of this history assert that an advance copy was provided to Shevardnadze’s aides, while others describe just an alert that allowed those aides to take the wire service copy and produce a Soviet positive assessment before the military or hardliners could call it propaganda.

As Kohl said to Gorbachev in Moscow on July 15, 1990, as they worked out the final deal on German unification: “We know what awaits NATO in the future, and I think you are now in the know as well,” referring to the NATO London Declaration. (See Document 23)

In his phone call to Gorbachev on July 17, Bush meant to reinforce the success of the Kohl-Gorbachev talks and the message of the London Declaration. Bush explained: “So what we tried to do was to take account of your concerns expressed to me and others, and we did it in the following ways: by our joint declaration on non-aggression; in our invitation to you to come to NATO; in our agreement to open NATO to regular diplomatic contact with your government and those of the Eastern European countries; and our offer on assurances on the future size of the armed forces of a united Germany – an issue I know you discussed with Helmut Kohl. We also fundamentally changed our military approach on conventional and nuclear forces. We conveyed the idea of an expanded, stronger CSCE with new institutions in which the USSR can share and be part of the new Europe.” (See Document 24)

The documents show that Gorbachev agreed to German unification in NATO as the result of this cascade of assurances, and on the basis of his own analysis that the future of the Soviet Union depended on its integration into Europe, for which Germany would be the decisive actor. He and most of his allies believed that some version of the common European home was still possible and would develop alongside the transformation of NATO to lead to a more inclusive and integrated European space, that the post-Cold War settlement would take account of the Soviet security interests. The alliance with Germany would not only overcome the Cold War but also turn on its head the legacy of the Great Patriotic War.

But inside the U.S. government, a different discussion continued, a debate about relations between NATO and Eastern Europe. Opinions differed, but the suggestion from the Defense Department as of October 25, 1990 was to leave “the door ajar” for East European membership in NATO. (See Document 27) The view of the State Department was that NATO expansion was not on the agenda, because it was not in the interest of the U.S. to organize “an anti-Soviet coalition” that extended to the Soviet borders, not least because it might reverse the positive trends in the Soviet Union. (See Document 26) The Bush administration took the latter view. And that’s what the Soviets heard.

As late as March 1991, according to the diary of the British ambassador to Moscow, British Prime Minister John Major personally assured Gorbachev, “We are not talking about the strengthening of NATO.” Subsequently, when Soviet defense minister Marshal Dmitri Yazov asked Major about East European leaders’ interest in NATO membership, the British leader responded, “Nothing of the sort will happen.” (See Document 28)

When Russian Supreme Soviet deputies came to Brussels to see NATO and meet with NATO secretary-general Manfred Woerner in July 1991, Woerner told the Russians that “We should not allow […] the isolation of the USSR from the European community.” According to the Russian memorandum of conversation, “Woerner stressed that the NATO Council and he are against the expansion of NATO (13 of 16 NATO members support this point of view).” (See Document 30)

Thus, Gorbachev went to the end of the Soviet Union assured that the West was not threatening his security and was not expanding NATO. Instead, the dissolution of the USSR was brought about by Russians (Boris Yeltsin and his leading advisory Gennady Burbulis) in concert with the former party bosses of the Soviet republics, especially Ukraine, in December 1991. The Cold War was long over by then. The Americans had tried to keep the Soviet Union together (see the Bush “Chicken Kiev” speech on August 1, 1991). NATO’s expansion was years in the future, when these disputes would erupt again, and more assurances would come to Russian leader Boris Yeltsin.

The Archive compiled these declassified documents for a panel discussion on November 10, 2017 at the annual conference of the Association for Slavic, East European and Eurasian Studies (ASEEES) in Chicago under the title “Who Promised What to Whom on NATO Expansion?” The panel included:

* Mark Kramer from the Davis Center at Harvard, editor of the Journal of Cold War Studies, whose 2009 Washington Quarterly article argued that the “no-NATO-enlargement pledge” was a “myth”;[4]

* Joshua R. Itkowitz Shifrinson from the Bush School at Texas A&M, whose 2016 International Security article argued the U.S. was playing a double game in 1990, leading Gorbachev to believe NATO would be subsumed in a new European security structure, while working to ensure hegemony in Europe and the maintenance of NATO;[5]

* James Goldgeier from American University, who wrote the authoritative book on the Clinton decision on NATO expansion, Not Whether But When, and described the misleading U.S. assurances to Russian leader Boris Yeltsin in a 2016 WarOnTheRocks article;[6]

* Svetlana Savranskaya and Tom Blanton from the National Security Archive, whose most recent book, The Last Superpower Summits: Gorbachev, Reagan, and Bush: Conversations That Ended the Cold War (CEU Press, 2016) analyzes and publishes the declassified transcripts and related documents from all of Gorbachev’s summits with U.S. presidents, including dozens of assurances about protecting the USSR’s security interests.[7]

[Today’s posting is the first of two on the subject. The second part will cover the Yeltsin discussions with Western leaders about NATO.]

READ THE DOCUMENTS

Document 01: U.S. Embassy Bonn Confidential Cable to Secretary of State on the speech of the German Foreign Minister: Genscher Outlines His Vision of a New European Architecture.
1990-02-01
Source: U.S. Department of State. FOIA Reading Room. Case F-2015 10829

One of the myths about the January and February 1990 discussions of German unification is that these talks occurred so early in the process, with the Warsaw Pact still very much in existence, that no one was thinking about the possibility that Central and European countries, even then members of the Warsaw Pact, could in the future become members of NATO. On the contrary, the West German foreign minister’s Tutzing formula in his speech of January 31, 1990, widely reported in the media in Europe, Washington, and Moscow, explicitly addressed the possibility of NATO expansion, as well as Central and Eastern European membership in NATO – and denied that possibility, as part of his olive garland towards Moscow. This U.S. Embassy Bonn cable reporting back to Washington details both of Hans-Dietrich Genscher’s proposals – that NATO would not expand to the east, and that the former territory of the GDR in a unified Germany would be treated differently from other NATO territory.

Document 02: Mr. Hurd to Sir C. Mallaby (Bonn). Telegraphic N. 85: Secretary of State’s Call on Herr Genscher: German Unification.
1990-02-06
Source: Documents on British Policy Overseas, series III, volume VII: German Unification, 1989-1990. (Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Documents on British Policy Overseas, edited by Patrick Salmon, Keith Hamilton, and Stephen Twigge, Oxford and New York, Routledge 2010). pp. 261-264

The U.S. State Department’s subsequent view of the German unification negotiations, expressed in a 1996 cable sent to all posts, mistakenly asserts that the entire negotiation over the future of Germany limited its discussion of the future of NATO to the specific arrangements over the territory of the former GDR. Perhaps the American diplomats missed out on the early dialogue between the British and the Germans on this issue, even though both shared their views with the U.S. secretary of state. As published in the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s official 2010 documentary history of the UK’s input into German unification, this memorandum of British Foreign Minister Douglas Hurd’s conversation with West German Foreign Minister Genscher on February 6, 1990, contains some remarkable specificity on the issue of future NATO membership for the Central Europeans. The British memorandum specifically quotes Genscher as saying “that when he talked about not wanting to extend NATO that applied to other states beside the GDR. The Russians must have some assurance that if, for example, the Polish Government left the Warsaw Pact one day, they would not join NATO the next.” Genscher and Hurd were saying the same to their Soviet counterpart Eduard Shevardnadze, and to James Baker.[8]

Document 03: Memorandum from Paul H. Nitze to George H.W. Bush about “Forum for Germany” meeting in Berlin.
1990-02-06
Source: George H. W. Bush Presidential Library

This concise note to President Bush from one of the Cold War’s architects, Paul Nitze (based at his namesake Johns Hopkins University School of International Studies), captures the debate over the future of NATO in early 1990. Nitze relates that Central and Eastern European leaders attending the “Forum for Germany” conference in Berlin were advocating the dissolution of both the superpower blocs, NATO and the Warsaw Pact, until he (and a few western Europeans) turned around that view and instead emphasized the importance of NATO as the basis of stability and U.S. presence in Europe.

Document 04: Memorandum of Conversation between James Baker and Eduard Shevardnadze in Moscow.
1990-02-09

Source: U.S. Department of State, FOIA 199504567 (National Security Archive Flashpoints Collection, Box 38)

Although heavily redacted compared to the Soviet accounts of these conversations, the official State Department version of Secretary Baker’s assurances to Soviet Foreign Minister Shevardnadze just before the formal meeting with Gorbachev on February 9, 1990, contains a series of telling phrases. Baker proposes the Two-Plus-Four formula, with the two being the Germanies and the four the post-war occupying powers; argues against other ways to negotiate unification; and makes the case for anchoring Germany in NATO. Furthermore, Baker tells the Soviet foreign minister, “A neutral Germany would undoubtedly acquire its own independent nuclear capability. However, a Germany that is firmly anchored in a changed NATO, by that I mean a NATO that is far less of [a] military organization, much more of a political one, would have no need for independent capability. There would, of course, have to be iron-clad guarantees that NATO’s jurisdiction or forces would not move eastward. And this would have to be done in a manner that would satisfy Germany’s neighbors to the east.”

Document 05: Memorandum of conversation between Mikhail Gorbachev and James Baker in Moscow.
1990-02-09

Source: U.S. Department of State, FOIA 199504567 (National Security Archive Flashpoints Collection, Box 38)

Even with (unjustified) redactions by U.S. classification officers, this American transcript of perhaps the most famous U.S. assurance to the Soviets on NATO expansion confirms the Soviet transcript of the same conversation. Repeating what Bush said at the Malta summit in December 1989, Baker tells Gorbachev: “The President and I have made clear that we seek no unilateral advantage in this process” of inevitable German unification. Baker goes on to say, “We understand the need for assurances to the countries in the East. If we maintain a presence in a Germany that is a part of NATO, there would be no extension of NATO’s jurisdiction for forces of NATO one inch to the east.” Later in the conversation, Baker poses the same position as a question, “would you prefer a united Germany outside of NATO that is independent and has no US forces or would you prefer a united Germany with ties to NATO and assurances that there would be no extension of NATO’s current jurisdiction eastward?” The declassifiers of this memcon actually redacted Gorbachev’s response that indeed such an expansion would be “unacceptable” – but Baker’s letter to Kohl the next day, published in 1998 by the Germans, gives the quote.

Document 06: Record of conversation between Mikhail Gorbachev and James Baker in Moscow. (Excerpts)
1990-02-09

Source: Gorbachev Foundation Archive, Fond 1, Opis 1.

This Gorbachev Foundation record of the Soviet leader’s meeting with James Baker on February 9, 1990, has been public and available for researchers at the Foundation since as early as 1996, but it was not published in English until 2010 when the Masterpieces of History volume by the present authors came out from Central European University Press. The document focuses on German unification, but also includes candid discussion by Gorbachev of the economic and political problems in the Soviet Union, and Baker’s “free advice” (“sometimes the finance minister in me wakes up”) on prices, inflation, and even the policy of selling apartments to soak up the rubles cautious Soviet citizens have tucked under their mattresses.

Turning to German unification, Baker assures Gorbachev that “neither the president nor I intend to extract any unilateral advantages from the processes that are taking place,” and that the Americans understand the importance for the USSR and Europe of guarantees that “not an inch of NATO’s present military jurisdiction will spread in an eastern direction.” Baker argues in favor of the Two-Plus-Four talks using the same assurance: “We believe that consultations and discussions within the framework of the ‘two+four’ mechanism should guarantee that Germany’s unification will not lead to NATO’s military organization spreading to the east.” Gorbachev responds by quoting Polish President Wojciech Jaruzelski: “that the presence of American and Soviet troops in Europe is an element of stability.”

The key exchange takes place when Baker asks whether Gorbachev would prefer “a united Germany outside of NATO, absolutely independent and without American troops; or a united Germany keeping its connections with NATO, but with the guarantee that NATO’s jurisdiction or troops will not spread east of the present boundary.” Thus, in this conversation, the U.S. secretary of state three times offers assurances that if Germany were allowed to unify in NATO, preserving the U.S. presence in Europe, then NATO would not expand to the east. Interestingly, not once does he use the term GDR or East Germany or even mention the Soviet troops in East Germany. For a skilled negotiator and careful lawyer, it seems very unlikely Baker would not use specific terminology if in fact he was referring only to East Germany.

The Soviet leader responds that “[w]e will think everything over. We intend to discuss all these questions in depth at the leadership level. It goes without saying that a broadening of the NATO zone is not acceptable.” Baker affirms: “We agree with that.”

Document 07: Memorandum of conversation between Robert Gates and Vladimir Kryuchkov in Moscow.
1990-02-09

Source: George H.W. Bush Presidential Library, NSC Scowcroft Files, Box 91128, Folder “Gorbachev (Dobrynin) Sensitive.”

This conversation is especially important because subsequent researchers have speculated that Secretary Baker may have been speaking beyond his brief in his “not one inch eastward” conversation with Gorbachev. Robert Gates, the former top CIA intelligence analyst and a specialist on the USSR, here tells his kind-of-counterpart, the head of the KGB, in his office at the Lubyanka KGB headquarters, exactly what Baker told Gorbachev that day at the Kremlin: not one inch eastward. At that point, Gates was the top deputy to the president’s national security adviser, Gen. Brent Scowcroft, so this document speaks to a coordinated approach by the U.S. government to Gorbachev. Kryuchkov, whom Gorbachev appointed to replace Viktor Chebrikov at the KGB in October 1988, comes across here as surprisingly progressive on many issues of domestic reform. He talks openly about the shortcomings and problems of perestroika, the need to abolish the leading role of the CPSU, the central government’s mistaken neglect of ethnic issues, the “atrocious” pricing system, and other domestic topics.

When the discussion moves on to foreign policy, in particular the German question, Gates asks, “What did Kryuchkov think of the Kohl/Genscher proposal under which a united Germany would be associated with NATO, but in which NATO troops would move no further east than they now were? It seems to us to be a sound proposal.” Kryuchkov does not give a direct answer but talks about how sensitive the issue of German unification is for the Soviet public and suggests that the Germans should offer the Soviet Union some guarantees. He says that although Kohl and Genscher’s ideas are interesting, “even those points in their proposals with which we agree would have to have guarantees. We learned from the Americans in arms control negotiations the importance of verification, and we would have to be sure.”

Document 08: Letter from James Baker to Helmut Kohl
1990-02-10
Source: Deutsche Enheit Sonderedition und den Akten des Budeskanzleramtes 1989/90, eds. Hanns Jurgen Kusters and Daniel Hofmann (Munich: R. Odenbourg Verlag, 1998), pp. 793-794

This key document first appeared in Helmut Kohl’s scholarly edition of chancellery documents on German unification, published in 1998. Kohl at that moment was caught up in an election campaign that would end his 16-year tenure as chancellor, and wanted to remind Germans of his instrumental role in the triumph of unification.[9] The large volume (over 1,000 pages) included German texts of Kohl’s meetings with Gorbachev, Bush, Mitterrand, Thatcher and more – all published with no apparent consultation with those governments, only eight years after the events. A few of the Kohl documents, such as this one, appear in English, representing the American or British originals rather than German notes or translations. Here, Baker debriefs Kohl the day after his February 9 meeting with Gorbachev. (The chancellor is scheduled to have his own session with Gorbachev on February 10 in Moscow.) The American apprises the German on Soviet “concerns” about unification, and summarizes why a “Two Plus Four” negotiation would be the most appropriate venue for talks on the “external aspects of unification” given that the “internal aspects … were strictly a German matter.” Baker especially remarks on Gorbachev’s noncommittal response to the question about a neutral Germany versus a NATO Germany with pledges against eastward expansion, and advises Kohl that Gorbachev “may well be willing to go along with a sensible approach that gives him some cover …” Kohl reinforces this message in his own conversation later that day with the Soviet leader.

Document 09: Memorandum of conversation between Mikhail Gorbachev and Helmut Kohl
1990-02-10

Source: Mikhail Gorbachev i germanskii vopros, edited by Alexander Galkin and Anatoly Chernyaev, (Moscow: Ves Mir, 2006)

This meeting in Moscow was the moment, by Kohl’s account, when he first heard from Gorbachev that the Soviet leader saw German unification as inevitable, that the value of future German friendship in a “common European home” outweighed Cold War rigidities, but that the Soviets would need time (and money) before they could acknowledge the new realities. Prepared by Baker’s letter and his own foreign minister’s Tutzing formula, Kohl early in the conversation assures Gorbachev, “We believe that NATO should not expand the sphere of its activity. We have to find a reasonable resolution. I correctly understand the security interests of the Soviet Union, and I realize that you, Mr. General Secretary, and the Soviet leadership will have to clearly explain what is happening to the Soviet people.” Later the two leaders tussle about NATO and the Warsaw Pact, with Gorbachev commenting, “They say what is NATO without the FRG. But we could also ask: what is the WTO without the GDR?” When Kohl disagrees, Gorbachev calls merely for “reasonable solutions that do not poison the atmosphere in our relations” and says this part of the conversation should not be made public.

Gorbachev aide Andrei Grachev later wrote that the Soviet leader early on understood that Germany was the door to European integration, and “[a]ll the attempted bargaining [by Gorbachev] about the final formula for German association with NATO was therefore much more a question of form than serious content; Gorbachev was trying to gain needed time in order to let public opinion at home adjust to the new reality, to the new type of relations that were taking shape in the Soviet Union’s relations with Germany as well as with the West in general. At the same time he was hoping to get at least partial political compensation from his Western partners for what he believed to be his major contribution to the end of the Cold War.”[10]

Document 10-1: Teimuraz Stepanov-Mamaladze notes from Conference on Open Skies, Ottawa, Canada.
1990-02-12

Source: Hoover Institution Archive, Stepanov-Mamaladze Collection.

Soviet Foreign Minister Shevardnadze was particularly unhappy with the swift pace of events on German unification, especially when a previously scheduled NATO and Warsaw Pact foreign ministers’ meeting in Ottawa, Canada, on February 10-12, 1990, that was meant to discuss the “Open Skies” treaty, turned into a wide-ranging negotiation over Germany and the installation of the Two-Plus-Four process to work out the details. Shevardnadze’s aide, Teimuraz Stepanov-Mamaladze, wrote notes of the Ottawa meetings in a series of notebooks, and also kept a less-telegraphic diary, which needs to be read along with the notebooks for the most complete account. Now deposited at the Hoover Institution, these excerpts of the Stepanov-Mamaladze notes and diary record Shevardnadze’s disapproval of the speed of the process, but most importantly reinforce the importance of the February 9 and 10 meetings in Moscow, where Western assurances about Soviet security were heard, and Gorbachev’s assent in principle to eventual German unification came as part of the deal.

Notes from the first days of the conference are very brief, but they contain one important line that shows that Baker offered the same assurance formula in Ottawa as he did in Moscow: “And if U[nited] G[ermany] stays in NATO, we should take care about nonexpansion of its jurisdiction to the East.” Shevardnadze is not ready to discuss conditions for German unification; he says that he has to consult with Moscow before any condition is approved. On February 13, according to the notes, Shevardnadze complains, “I am in a stupid situation – we are discussing the Open Skies, but my colleagues are talking about unification of Germany as if it was a fact.” The notes show that Baker was very persistent in trying to get Shevardnadze to define Soviet conditions for German unification in NATO, while Shevardnadze was still uncomfortable with the term “unification,” instead insisting on the more general term “unity.”

Document 10-2: Teimuraz Stepanov-Mamaladze diary, February 12, 1990.
1990-02-12
Source: Hoover Institution Archive, Stepanov-Mamaladze Collection.

This diary entry from February 12 contains a very brief description of the February 10 Kohl and Genscher visit to Moscow, about which Stepanov-Mamaladze had not previously written (since he was not present). Sharing the view of his minister, Shevardnadze, Stepanov reflects on the hurried nature of, and insufficient considerations given to, the Moscow discussions: “Before our visit here, Kohl and Genscher paid a hasty visit to Moscow. And just as hastily – in the opinion of E.A. [Shevardnadze] – Gorbachev accepted the right of the Germans to unity and self-determination.” This diary entry is evidence, from a critical perspective, that the United States and West Germany did give Moscow concrete assurances about keeping NATO to its current size and scope. In fact, the diary further indicates that at least in Shevardnadze’s view those assurances amounted to a deal – which Gorbachev accepted, even while he stalled for time.

Document 10-3: Teimuraz Stepanov-Mamaladze diary, February 13, 1990.
1990-02-13
Source: Hoover Institution Archive, Stepanov-Mamaladze Collection.

On the second day of the Ottawa conference, Stepanov-Mamaladze describes difficult negotiations about the exact wording on the joint statement on Germany and the Two-Plus-Four process. Shevardnadze and Genscher argued for two hours over the terms “unity” versus “unification” as Shevardnadze tried to slow things down on Germany and get the other ministers to concentrate on Open Skies. The day was quite intense: “During the day, active games were taking place between all of them. E.A. [Shevardnadze] met with Baker five times, twice with Genscher, talked with Fischer [GDR foreign minister], Dumas [French foreign minister], and the ministers of the ATS countries,” and finally, the text of the settlement was settled, using the word “unity.” The final statement also called the agreement on U.S. and Soviet troops in Central Europe the main achievement of the conference. But for the Soviet delegates, “ the ‘Open Sky’ [was] still closed by the storm cloud of Germany.”

Document 11: U.S. State Department, “Two Plus Four: Advantages, Possible Concerns and Rebuttal Points.”
1990-02-21

Source: State Department FOIA release, National Security Archive Flashpoints Collection, Box 38.

This memo, likely authored by top Baker aide Robert Zoellick at the State Department, contains the candid American view of the Two-Plus-Four process with its advantages of “maintain[ing] American involvement in (and even some control over) the unification debate.” The American fear was that the West Germans would make their own deal with Moscow for rapid unification, giving up some of the bottom lines for the U.S., mainly membership in NATO. Zoellick points out, for example, that Kohl had announced his 10 Points without consulting Washington and after signals from Moscow, and that the U.S. had found out about Kohl going to Moscow from the Soviets, not from Kohl. The memo pre-empts objections about including the Soviets by pointing out they were already in Germany and had to be dealt with. The Two-Plus-Four arrangement includes the Soviets but prevents them from having a veto (which a Four-Power process or a United Nations process might allow), while an effective One-Plus-Three conversation before each meeting would enable West Germany and the U.S., with the British and the French, to work out a common position. Especially telling are the underlining and handwriting by Baker in the margins, especially his exuberant phrase, “you haven’t seen a leveraged buyout until you see this one!”

Document 12-1: Memorandum of conversation between Vaclav Havel and George Bush in Washington.
1990-02-20
Source:
George H.W. Bush Presidential Library, Memcons and Telcons (https://bush41library.tamu.edu/)

These conversations might be called “the education of Vaclav Havel,”[10] as the former dissident-turned-president of Czechoslovakia visited Washington only two months after the Velvet Revolution swept him from prison to the Prague Castle. Havel would enjoy standing ovations during a February 21 speech to a joint session of Congress, and hold talks with Bush before and after the congressional appearance. Havel had already been cited by journalists as calling for the dissolution of the Cold War blocs, both NATO and the Warsaw Pact, and the withdrawal of troops, so Bush took the opportunity to lecture the Czech leader about the value of NATO and its essential role as the basis for the U.S. presence in Europe. Still, Havel twice mentioned in his speech to Congress his hope that “American soldiers shouldn’t have to be separated from their mothers” just because Europe couldn’t keep the peace, and appealed for a “future democratic Germany in the process of unifying itself into a new pan-European structure which could decide about its own security system.” But afterwards, talking again to Bush, the former dissident clearly had gotten the message. Havel said he might have been misunderstood, that he certainly saw the value of U.S. engagement in Europe. For his part, Bush raised the possibilities, assuming more Czechoslovak cooperation on this issue, of U.S. investment and aid.

Document 12-2: Memorandum of conversation between Vaclav Havel and George Bush in Washington.
1990-02-21

Source:
George H.W. Bush Presidential Library, Memcons and Telcons (https://bush41library.tamu.edu/)

This memcon after Havel’s triumphant speech to Congress contains Bush’s request to Havel to pass the message to Gorbachev that the Americans support him personally, and that “We will not conduct ourselves in the wrong way by saying ‘we win, you lose.’” Emphasizing the point, Bush says, “tell Gorbachev that … I asked you to tell Gorbachev that we will not conduct ourselves regarding Czechoslovakia or any other country in a way that would complicate the problems he has so frankly discussed with me.” The Czechoslovak leader adds his own caution to the Americans about how to proceed with the unification of Germany and address Soviet insecurities. Havel remarks to Bush, “It is a question of prestige. This is the reason why I talked about the new European security system without mentioning NATO. Because, if it grew out of NATO, it would have to be named something else, if only because of the element of prestige. If NATO takes over Germany, it will look like defeat, one superpower conquering another. But if NATO can transform itself – perhaps in conjunction with the Helsinki process – it would look like a peaceful process of change, not defeat.” Bush responded positively: “You raised a good point. Our view is that NATO would continue with a new political role and that we would build on the CSCE process. We will give thought on how we might proceed.”

Document 13: Memorandum of Conversation between Helmut Kohl and George Bush at Camp David.
1990-02-24

Source:
George H.W. Bush Presidential Library, Memcons and Telcons (https://bush41library.tamu.edu/)

The Bush administration’s main worry about German unification as the process accelerated in February 1990 was that the West Germans might make their own deal bilaterally with the Soviets (see Document 11) and might be willing to bargain away NATO membership. President Bush later commented that the purpose of the Camp David meeting with Kohl was to “keep Germany on the NATO reservation,” and that drove the agenda for this set of meetings. The German chancellor arrives at Camp David without Genscher because the latter does not entirely share the Bush-Kohl position on full German membership in NATO, and he recently angered both leaders by speaking publicly about the CSCE as the future European security mechanism.[12]

At the beginning of this conversation, Kohl expresses gratitude for Bush and Baker’s support during his discussions with Gorbachev in Moscow in early February, especially for Bush’s letter stating Washington’s strong commitment to German unification in NATO. Both leaders express the need for the closest cooperation between them in order to reach the desired outcome. Bush’s priority is to keep the U.S. presence, especially the nuclear umbrella, in Europe: “if U.S. nuclear forces are withdrawn from Germany, I don’t see how we can persuade any other ally on the continent to retain these weapons.” He refers sarcastically to criticisms coming from Capitol Hill: “We have weird thinking in our Congress today, ideas like this peace dividend. We can’t do that in these uncertain times.” Both leaders are concerned about the position Gorbachev might take and agree on the need to consult with him regularly. Kohl suggests that the Soviets need assistance and the final arrangement on Germany could be a “matter of cash.” Foreshadowing his reluctance to contribute financially, Bush replies, “you have deep pockets.” At one point in the conversation, Bush seems to view his Soviet counterpart not as a partner but as a defeated enemy. Referring to talk in some Soviet quarters against Germany staying in NATO, he says: “To hell with that. We prevailed and they didn’t. We cannot let the Soviets clutch victory from the jaws of defeat.”

Document 14: Memorandum of conversation between George Bush and Eduard Shevardnadze in Washington.
1990-04-06
Source:
George H.W. Bush Presidential Library, Memcons and Telcons (https://bush41library.tamu.edu/)

Foreign Minister Shevardnadze delivers a letter to Bush from Gorbachev, in which the Soviet president reviews the main issues before the coming summit. Economic issues are at the top of the list for the Soviet Union, specifically Most Favored Nation status and a trade agreement with the United States. Shevardnadze expresses concern about the lack of progress on these issues and the U.S. efforts to prevent the EBRD from extending loans to the USSR. He stresses that they are not asking for help, “we are only looking to be treated as partners.” Addressing the tensions in Lithuania, Bush says that he does not want to create difficulties for Gorbachev on domestic issues, but notes that he must insist on the rights of Lithuanians because their incorporation within the USSR was never recognized by the United States. On arms control, both sides point to some backtracking by the other and express a desire to finalize the START Treaty quickly. Shevardnadze mentions the upcoming CSCE summit and the Soviet expectation that it will discuss the new European security structures. Bush does not contradict this but ties it to the issues of the U.S. presence in Europe and German unification in NATO. He declares that he wants to “contribute to stability and to the creation of a Europe whole and free, or as you call it, a common European home. A[n] idea that is very close to our own.” The Soviets—wrongly—interpret this as a declaration that the U.S. administration shares Gorbachev’s idea.

Document 15: Sir R. Braithwaite (Moscow). Telegraphic N. 667: “Secretary of State’s Meeting with President Gorbachev.”
1990-04-11
Source: Documents on British Policy Overseas, series III, volume VII: German Unification, 1989-1990. (Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Documents on British Policy Overseas, edited by Patrick Salmon, Keith Hamilton, and Stephen Twigge, Oxford and New York, Routledge 2010), pp. 373-375

Ambassador Braithwaite’s telegram summarizes the meeting between Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Douglas Hurd and President Gorbachev, noting Gorbachev’s “expansive mood.” Gorbachev asks the secretary to pass his appreciation for Margaret Thatcher’s letter to him after her summit with Kohl, at which, according to Gorbachev, she followed the lines of policy Gorbachev and Thatcher discussed in their recent phone call, on the basis of which the Soviet leader concluded that “the British and Soviet positions were very close indeed.” Hurd cautions Gorbachev that their positions are not 100% in agreement, but that the British “recognized the importance of doing nothing to prejudice Soviet interests and dignity.” Gorbachev, as reflected in Braithwaite’s summary, speaks about the importance of building new security structures as a way of dealing with the issue of two Germanies: “If we are talking about a common dialogue about a new Europe stretching from the Atlantic to the Urals, that was one way of dealing with the German issue.” That would require a transitional period to pick up the pace of the European process and “synchronise it with finding a solution to the problem of the two Germanies.” However, if the process was unilateral – only Germany in NATO and no regard for Soviet security interest – the Supreme Soviet would be very unlikely to approve such a solution and the Soviet Union would question the need to speed up the reduction of its conventional weapons in Europe. In his view, Germany’s joining NATO without progress on European security structures “could upset the balance of security, which would be unacceptable to the Soviet Union.”
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Re: Spinning Boris, directed by Roger Spottiswoode

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Part 2 of 2

Document 16: Valentin Falin Memorandum to Mikhail Gorbachev (Excerpts)
1990-04-18
Source: Mikhail Gorbachev i germanskii vopros, edited by Alexander Galkin and Anatoly Chernyaev, (Moscow: Ves Mir, 2006), pp. 398-408

This memorandum from the Central Committee’s most senior expert on Germany sounds like a wake-up call for Gorbachev. Falin puts it in blunt terms: while Soviet European policy has fallen into inactivity and even “depression” after the March 18 elections in East Germany, and Gorbachev himself has let Kohl speed up the process of unification, his compromises on Germany in NATO can only lead to the slipping away of his main goal for Europe – the common European home. “Summing up the past six months, one has to conclude that the ‘common European home,’ which used to be a concrete task the countries of the continent were starting to implement, is now turning into a mirage.” While the West is sweet-talking Gorbachev into accepting German unification in NATO, Falin notes (correctly) that “the Western states are already violating the consensus principle by making preliminary agreements among themselves” regarding German unification and the future of Europe that do not include a “long phase of constructive development.” He notes the West’s “intensive cultivation of not only NATO but also our Warsaw Pact allies” with the goal to isolate the USSR in the Two-Plus-Four and CSCE framework.

He further comments that reasonable voices are no longer heard: “Genscher from time to time continues to discuss accelerating the movement toward European collective security with the ‘dissolving of NATO and WTO into it.’ ... But very few people … hear Genscher.” Falin proposes using the Soviet Four-power rights to achieve a formal legally binding settlement equal to a peace treaty that would guarantee Soviet security interests as “our only chance to dock German unification with the pan-European process.” He also suggests using arms control negotiations in Vienna and Geneva as leverage if the West keeps taking advantage of Soviet flexibility. The memo suggests specific provisions for the final settlement with Germany, the negotiation of which would take a long time and provide a window for building European structures. But the main idea of the memo is to warn Gorbachev not to be naive about the intentions of his American partners: “The West is outplaying us, promising to respect the interests of the USSR, but in practice, step by step, separating us from ‘traditional Europe.’”

Document 17: James A. Baker III, Memorandum for the President, “My meeting with Shevardnadze.”
1990-05-04
Source: George H. W. Bush Presidential Library, NSC Scowcroft Files, Box 91126, Folder “Gorbachev (Dobrynin) Sensitive 1989 – June 1990 [3]”

The secretary of state had just spent nearly four hours meeting with the Soviet foreign minister in Bonn on May 4, 1990, covering a range of issues but centering on the crisis in Lithuania and the negotiations over German unification. As in the February talks and throughout the year, Baker took pains to provide assurances to the Soviets about including them in the future of Europe. Baker reports, “I also used your speech and our recognition of the need to adapt NATO, politically and militarily, and to develop CSCE to reassure Shevardnadze that the process would not yield winners and losers. Instead, it would produce a new legitimate European structure – one that would be inclusive, not exclusive.” Shevardnadze’s response indicates that “our discussion of the new European architecture was compatible with much of their thinking, though their thinking was still being developed.” Baker relates that Shevardnadze “emphasized again the psychological difficulty they have – especially the Soviet public has – of accepting a unified Germany in NATO.” Astutely, Baker predicts that Gorbachev will not “take on this kind of an emotionally charged political issue now” and likely not until after the Party Congress in July.

Document 18: Record of conversation between Mikhail Gorbachev and James Baker in Moscow.
1990-05-18
Source: Gorbachev Foundation Archive, Fond 1, Opis 1.

This fascinating conversation covers a range of arms control issues in preparation for the Washington summit and includes extensive though inconclusive discussions of German unification and the tensions in the Baltics, particularly the standoff between Moscow and secessionist Lithuania. Gorbachev makes an impassioned attempt to persuade Baker that Germany should reunify outside of the main military blocs, in the context of the all-European process. Baker provides Gorbachev with nine points of assurance to prove that his position is being taken into account. Point eight is the most important for Gorbachev—that the United States is “making an effort in various forums to ultimately transform the CSCE into a permanent institution that would become an important cornerstone of a new Europe.”

This assurance notwithstanding, when Gorbachev mentions the need to build new security structures to replace the blocs, Baker lets slip a personal reaction that reveals much about the real U.S. position on the subject: “It’s nice to talk about pan-European security structures, the role of the CSCE. It is a wonderful dream, but just a dream. In the meantime, NATO exists. …” Gorbachev suggests that if the U.S. side insists on Germany in NATO, then he would “announce publicly that we want to join NATO too.” Shevardnadze goes further, offering a prophetic observation: “if united Germany becomes a member of NATO, it will blow up perestroika. Our people will not forgive us. People will say that we ended up the losers, not the winners.”

Document 19: Record of conversation between Mikhail Gorbachev and Francois Mitterrand (excerpts).
1990-05-25
Source: Mikhail Gorbachev i germanskii vopros, edited by Alexander Galkin and Anatoly Chernyaev, (Moscow: Ves Mir, 2006), pp. 454-466

Gorbachev felt that of all the Europeans, the French president was his closest ally in the construction of a post-Cold War Europe, because the Soviet leader believed Mitterrand shared his concept of the common European home and the idea of dissolving both military blocs in favor of new European security structures. And Mitterrand did share that view, to an extent. In this conversation, Gorbachev is still hoping to persuade his counterpart to join him in opposing German unification in NATO. Mitterrand is quite direct, telling Gorbachev that it is too late to fight this issue and that he would not give his support, because “if I say ‘no’ to Germany’s membership in NATO, I will become isolated from my Western partners.” However, Mitterrand suggests that Gorbachev demand “appropriate guarantees” from NATO. He speaks about the danger of isolating the Soviet Union in the new Europe and the need to “create security conditions for you, as well as European security as a whole. This was one of my guiding goals, particularly when I proposed my idea of creating a European confederation. It is similar to your concept of a common European home.”

In his recommendations to Gorbachev, Mitterrand is basically repeating the lines of the Falin memo (see Document 16). He says Gorbachev should strive for a formal settlement with Germany using his Four-power rights and use the leverage of conventions arms control negotiations: “You will not abandon such a trump card as disarmament negotiations.” He implies that NATO is not the key issue now and could be drowned out in further negotiations; rather, the important thing is to ensure Soviet participation in new European security system. He repeats that he is “personally in favor of gradually dismantling the military blocs.”

Gorbachev expresses his wariness and suspicion about U.S. effort to “perpetuate NATO,” to “use NATO to create some sort of mechanism, an institution, a kind of directory for managing world affairs.” He tells Mitterrand about his concern that the U.S. is trying to attract East Europeans to NATO: “I told Baker: we are aware of your favorable attitude towards the intention expressed by a number of representatives of Eastern European countries to withdraw from the Warsaw Pact and subsequently join NATO.” What about the USSR joining?

Mitterrand agrees to support Gorbachev in his efforts to encourage pan-European processes and ensure that Soviet security interests are taken into account as long as he does not have to say “no” to the Germans. He says “I always told my NATO partners: make a commitment not to move NATO’s military formations from their current territory in the FRG to East Germany.”

Document 20: Letter from Francois Mitterrand to George Bush
1990-05-25
Source: George H.W. Bush Presidential Library, NSC Scowcroft Files, FOIA 2009-0275-S

True to his word, Mitterrand writes a letter to George Bush describing Gorbachev’s predicament on the issue of German unification in NATO, calling it genuine, not “fake or tactical.” He warns the American president against doing it as a fait accompli without Gorbachev’s consent implying that Gorbachev might retaliate on arms control (exactly what Mitterrand himself – and Falin earlier – suggested in his conversation). Mitterrand argues in favor of a formal “peace settlement in International law,” and informs Bush that in his conversation with Gorbachev he “indicated that, on the Western side, we would certainly not refuse to detail the guarantees that he would have a right to expect for his country’s security.” Mitterrand thinks that “we must try to dispel Mr. Gorbatchev’s worries,” and offers to present “ a number of proposals” about such guarantees when he and Bush meet in person.

Document 21: Record of conversation between Mikhail Gorbachev and George Bush. White House, Washington D.C.
1990-05-31
Source: Gorbachev Foundation Archive, Moscow, Fond 1, opis 1.[13]

In this famous “two anchor” discussion, the U.S. and Soviet delegations deliberate over the process of German unification and especially the issue of a united Germany joining NATO. Bush tries to persuade his counterpart to reconsider his fears of Germany based on the past, and to encourage him to trust the new democratic Germany. The U.S. president says, “Believe me, we are not pushing Germany towards unification, and it is not us who determines the pace of this process. And of course, we have no intention, even in our thoughts, to harm the Soviet Union in any fashion. That is why we are speaking in favor of German unification in NATO without ignoring the wider context of the CSCE, taking the traditional economic ties between the two German states into consideration. Such a model, in our view, corresponds to the Soviet interests as well.” Baker repeats the nine assurances made previously by the administration, including that the United States now agrees to support the pan-European process and transformation of NATO in order to remove the Soviet perception of threat. Gorbachev’s preferred position is Germany with one foot in both NATO and the Warsaw Pact—the “two anchors”—creating a kind of associated membership. Baker intervenes, saying that “the simultaneous obligations of one and the same country toward the WTO and NATO smack of schizophrenia.” After the U.S. president frames the issue in the context of the Helsinki agreement, Gorbachev proposes that the German people have the right to choose their alliance—which he in essence already affirmed to Kohl during their meeting in February 1990. Here, Gorbachev significantly exceeds his brief, and incurs the ire of other members of his delegation, especially the official with the German portfolio, Valentin Falin, and Marshal Sergey Akhromeyev. Gorbachev issues a key warning about the future: “if the Soviet people get an impression that we are disregarded in the German question, then all the positive processes in Europe, including the negotiations in Vienna [over conventional forces], would be in serious danger. This is not just bluffing. It is simply that the people will force us to stop and to look around.” It is a remarkable admission about domestic political pressures from the last Soviet leader.

Document 22: Letter from Mr. Powell (N. 10) to Mr. Wall: Thatcher-Gorbachev memorandum of conversation.
1990-06-08
Source: Documents on British Policy Overseas, series III, volume VII: German Unification, 1989-1990. (Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Documents on British Policy Overseas, edited by Patrick Salmon, Keith Hamilton, and Stephen Twigge, Oxford and New York, Routledge 2010), pp 411-417

Margaret Thatcher visits Gorbachev right after he returns home from his summit with George Bush. Among many issues in the conversation, the center of gravity is on German unification and NATO, on which, Powell notes, Gorbachev’s “views were still evolving.” Rather than agreeing on German unification in NATO, Gorbachev talks about the need for NATO and the Warsaw pact to move closer together, from confrontation to cooperation to build a new Europe: “We must mould European structures so that they helped us find the common European home. Neither side must be afraid of unorthodox solutions.”

While Thatcher speaks against Gorbachev’s ideas short of full NATO membership for Germany and emphasizes the importance of a U.S. military presence in Europe, she also sees that “CSCE could provide the umbrella for all this, as well as being the forum which brought the Soviet Union fully into discussion about the future of Europe.” Gorbachev says he wants to “be completely frank with the Prime Minister” that if the processes were to become one-sided, “there could be a very difficult situation [and the] Soviet Union would feel its security in jeopardy.” Thatcher responds firmly that it was in nobody’s interest to put Soviet security in jeopardy: “we must find ways to give the Soviet Union confidence that its security would be assured.”

Document 23: Record of Conversation between Mikhail Gorbachev and Helmut Kohl, Moscow (Excerpts).
1990-07-15
Source: Mikhail Gorbachev i germanskii vopros, edited by Alexander Galkin and Anatoly Chernyaev, (Moscow: Ves Mir, 2006), pp. 495-504

This key conversation between Chancellor Kohl and President Gorbachev sets the final parameters for German unification. Kohl talks repeatedly about the new era of relations between a united Germany and the Soviet Union, and how this relationship would contribute to European stability and security. Gorbachev demands assurances on non-expansion of NATO: “we must talk about the nonproliferation of NATO military structures to the territory of the GDR, and maintaining Soviet troops there for a certain transition period.” The Soviet leader notes earlier in the conversation that NATO has already began transforming itself. For him, the pledge of NATO non-expansion to the territory of the GDR in spirit means that NATO would not take advantage of the Soviet willingness to compromise on Germany. He also demands that the status of Soviet troops in the GDR for the transition period be “regulated. It should not hang in the air, it needs a legal basis.” He hands Kohl Soviet considerations for a full-fledged Soviet-German treaty that would include such guarantees. He also wants assistance with relocating the troops and building housing for them. Kohl promises to do so as long as this assistance is not construed as “a program of German assistance to the Soviet Army.”

Talking about the future of Europe, Kohl alludes to NATO transformation: “We know what awaits NATO in the future, and I think you are now in the know as well.” Kohl also emphasizes that President Bush is aware and supportive of Soviet-German agreements and will play a key role in the building of the new Europe. Chernyaev sums up this meeting in his diary for July 15, 1990: “Today – Kohl. They are meeting at the Schechtel mansion on Alexei Tolstoy Street. Gorbachev confirms his agreement to unified Germany’s entry into NATO. Kohl is decisive and assertive. He leads a clean but tough game. And it is not the bait (loans) but the fact that it is pointless to resist here, it would go against the current of events, it would be contrary to the very realities that M.S. likes to refer to so much.”[14]

Document 24: Memorandum of Telephone Conversation between Mikhail Gorbachev and George Bush
1990-07-17
Source: George H.W. Bush Presidential Library, Memcons and Telcons ((https://bush41library.tamu.edu/)

President Bush reaches out to Gorbachev immediately after the Kohl-Gorbachev meetings in Moscow and the Caucasus retreat of Arkhyz, which settled German unification, leaving only the financial arrangements for resolution in September. Gorbachev had not only made the deal with Kohl, but he had also survived and triumphed at the 28th Congress of the CPSU in early July, the last in the history of the Soviet Party. Gorbachev describes this time as “perhaps the most difficult and important period in my political life.” The Congress subjected the party leader to scathing criticism from both conservative Communists and the democratic opposition. He managed to defend his program and win reelection as general secretary, but he had very little to show from his engagement with the West, especially after ceding so much ground on German unification.

While Gorbachev fought for his political life as Soviet leader, the Houston summit of the G-7 had debated ways to help perestroika, but because of U.S. opposition to credits or direct economic aid prior to the enactment of serious free-market reforms, no concrete assistance package was approved; the group went no further than to authorize “studies” by the IMF and World Bank. Gorbachev counters that given enough resources the USSR “could move to a market economy,” otherwise, the country “will have to rely more on state-regulated measures.” In this phone call, Bush expands on Kohl’s security assurances and reinforces the message from the London Declaration: “So what we tried to do was to take account of your concerns expressed to me and others, and we did it in the following ways: by our joint declaration on non-aggression; in our invitation to you to come to NATO; in our agreement to open NATO to regular diplomatic contact with your government and those of the Eastern European countries; and our offer on assurances on the future size of the armed forces of a united Germany – an issue I know you discussed with Helmut Kohl. We also fundamentally changed our military approach on conventional and nuclear forces. We conveyed the idea of an expanded, stronger CSCE with new institutions in which the USSR can share and be part of the new Europe.”

Document 25: September 12 Two-Plus-Four Ministerial in Moscow: Detailed account [includes text of the Treaty on the Final Settlement with Respect to Germany and Agreed Minute to the Treaty on the special military status of the GDR after unification]
1990-11-02
Source: George H.W. Bush Presidential Library, NSC Condoleezza Rice Files, 1989-1990 Subject Files, Folder “Memcons and Telcons – USSR [1]”

Staffers in the European Bureau of the State Department wrote this document, practically a memcon, and addressed it to senior officials such as Robert Zoellick and Condoleezza Rice, based on notes taken by U.S. participants at the final ministerial session on German unification on September 12, 1990. The document features statements by all six ministers in the Two-Plus-Four process – Shevardnadze (the host), Baker, Hurd, Dumas, Genscher, and De Maiziere of the GDR – (much of which would be repeated in their press conferences after the event), along with the agreed text of the final treaty on German unification. The treaty codified what Bush had earlier offered to Gorbachev – “special military status” for the former GDR territory. At the last minute, British and American concerns that the language would restrict emergency NATO troop movements there forced the inclusion of a “minute” that left it up to the newly unified and sovereign Germany what the meaning of the word “deployed” should be. Kohl had committed to Gorbachev that only German NATO troops would be allowed on that territory after the Soviets left, and Germany stuck to that commitment, even though the “minute” was meant to allow other NATO troops to traverse or exercise there at least temporarily. Subsequently, Gorbachev aides such as Pavel Palazhshenko would point to the treaty language to argue that NATO expansion violated the “spirit” of this Final Settlement treaty.

Document 26: U.S. Department of State, European Bureau: Revised NATO Strategy Paper for Discussion at Sub-Ungroup Meeting
1990-10-22
Source: George H. W. Bush Presidential Library, NSC Heather Wilson Files, Box CF00293, Folder “NATO – Strategy (5)”

The Bush administration had created the “Ungroup” in 1989 to work around a series of personality conflicts at the assistant secretary level that had stalled the usual interagency process of policy development on arms control and strategic weapons. Members of the Ungroup, chaired by Arnold Kanter of the NSC, had the confidence of their bosses but not necessarily the concomitant formal title or official rank.[15] The Ungroup overlapped with a similarly ad hoc European Security Strategy Group, and this became the venue, soon after German unification was completed, for the discussion inside the Bush administration about the new NATO role in Europe and especially on NATO relations with countries of Eastern Europe. East European countries, still formally in the Warsaw Pact, but led by non-Communist governments, were interested in becoming full members of international community, looking to join the future European Union and potentially NATO.

This document, prepared for a discussion of NATO’s future by a Sub-Ungroup consisting of representatives of the NSC, State Department, Joint Chiefs and other agencies, posits that "[a] potential Soviet threat remains and constitutes one basic justification for the continuance of NATO.” At the same time, in the discussion of potential East European membership in NATO, the review suggests that “In the current environment, it is not in the best interest of NATO or of the U.S. that these states be granted full NATO membership and its security guarantees.” The United States does not “wish to organize an anti-Soviet coalition whose frontier is the Soviet border” – not least because of the negative impact this might have on reforms in the USSR. NATO liaison offices would do for the present time, the group concluded, but the relationship will develop in the future. In the absence of the Cold War confrontation, NATO “out of area” functions will have to be redefined.

Document 27: James F. Dobbins, State Department European Bureau, Memorandum to National Security Council: NATO Strategy Review Paper for October 29 Discussion.
1990-10-25
Source: George H. W. Bush Presidential Library: NSC Philip Zelikow Files, Box CF01468, Folder “File 148 NATO Strategy Review No. 1 [3]”[16]

This concise memorandum comes from the State Department’s European Bureau as a cover note for briefing papers for a scheduled October 29, 1990 meeting on the issues of NATO expansion and European defense cooperation with NATO. Most important is the document’s summary of the internal debate within the Bush administration, primarily between the Defense Department (specifically the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Dick Cheney) and the State Department. On the issue of NATO expansion, OSD “wishes to leave the door ajar” while State “prefers simply to note that discussion of expanding membership is not on the agenda….” The Bush administration effectively adopts State’s view in its public statements, yet the Defense view would prevail in the next administration.

Document 28: Ambassador Rodric Braithwaite diary, 05 March 1991
1991-03-05
Source: Rodric Braithwaite personal diary (used by permission from the author)

British Ambassador Rodric Braithwaite was present for a number of the assurances given to Soviet leaders in 1990 and 1991 about NATO expansion. Here, Braithwaite in his diary describes a meeting between British Prime Minister John Major and Soviet military officials, led by Minister of Defense Marshal Dmitry Yazov. The meeting took place during Major’s visit to Moscow and right after his one-on-one with President Gorbachev. During the meeting with Major, Gorbachev had raised his concerns about the new NATO dynamics: “Against the background of favorable processes in Europe, I suddenly start receiving information that certain circles intend to go on further strengthening NATO as the main security instrument in Europe. Previously they talked about changing the nature of NATO, about transformation of the existing military-political blocs into pan-European structures and security mechanisms. And now suddenly again [they are talking about] a special peace-keeping role of NATO. They are talking again about NATO as the cornerstone. This does not sound complementary to the common European home that we have started to build.” Major responded: “I believe that your thoughts about the role of NATO in the current situation are the result of misunderstanding. We are not talking about strengthening of NATO. We are talking about the coordination of efforts that is already happening in Europe between NATO and the West European Union, which, as it is envisioned, would allow all members of the European Community to contribute to enhance [our] security.”[17] In the meeting with the military officials that followed, Marshal Yazov expressed his concerns about East European leaders’ interest in NATO membership. In the diary, Braithwaite writes: “Major assures him that nothing of the sort will happen.” Years later, quoting from the record of conversation in the British archives, Braithwaite recounts that Major replied to Yazov that he “did not himself foresee circumstances now or in the future where East European countries would become members of NATO.” Ambassador Braithwaite also quotes Foreign Minister Douglas Hurd as telling Soviet Foreign Minister Alexander Bessmertnykh on March 26, 1991, “there are no plans in NATO to include the countries of Eastern and Central Europe in NATO in one form or another.”[18]

Document 29: Paul Wolfowitz Memoranda of Conversation with Vaclav Havel and Lubos Dobrovsky in Prague.
1991-04-27
Source: U.S. Department of Defense, FOIA release 2016, National Security Archive FOIA 20120941DOD109

These memcons from April 1991 provide the bookends for the “education of Vaclav Havel” on NATO (see Documents 12-1 and 12-2 above). U.S. Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Paul Wolfowitz included these memcons in his report to the NSC and the State Department about his attendance at a conference in Prague on “The Future of European Security,” on April 24-27, 1991. During the conference Wolfowitz had separate meetings with Havel and Minister of Defense Dobrovsky. In the conversation with Havel, Wolfowitz thanks him for his statements about the importance of NATO and US troops in Europe. Havel informs him that Soviet Ambassador Kvitsinsky was in Prague negotiating a bilateral agreement, and the Soviets wanted the agreement to include a provision that Czechoslovakia would not join alliances hostile to the USSR. Wolfowitz advises both Havel and Dobrovsky not to enter into such agreements and to remind the Soviets about the provisions of the Helsinki Final Act that postulate freedom to join alliances of their choice. Havel states that for Czechoslovakia in the next 10 years that means NATO and the European Union.

In conversation with Dobrovsky, Wolfowitz remarks that “the very existence of NATO was in doubt a year ago,” but with U.S. leadership, and NATO allied (as well as united German) support, its importance for Europe is now understood, and the statements of East European leaders were important in this respect. Dobrovsky candidly describes the change in the Czechoslovak leadership’s position, “which had revised its views radically. At the beginning, President Havel had urged the dissolution of both the Warsaw Pact and NATO,” but then concluded that NATO should be maintained. “Off the record,” says Dobrovsky, “the CSFR was attracted to NATO because it ensured the U.S. presence in Europe.”

Document 30: Memorandum to Boris Yeltsin from Russian Supreme Soviet delegation to NATO HQs
1991-07-01
Source: State Archive of the Russian Federation (GARF), Fond 10026, Opis 1

This document is important for describing the clear message in 1991 from the highest levels of NATO – Secretary General Manfred Woerner – that NATO expansion was not happening. The audience was a Russian Supreme Soviet delegation, which in this memo was reporting back to Boris Yeltsin (who in June had been elected president of the Russian republic, largest in the Soviet Union), but no doubt Gorbachev and his aides were hearing the same assurance at that time. The emerging Russian security establishment was already worried about the possibility of NATO expansion, so in June 1991 this delegation visited Brussels to meet NATO’s leadership, hear their views about the future of NATO, and share Russian concerns. Woerner had given a well-regarded speech in Brussels in May 1990 in which he argued: “The principal task of the next decade will be to build a new European security structure, to include the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact nations. The Soviet Union will have an important role to play in the construction of such a system. If you consider the current predicament of the Soviet Union, which has practically no allies left, then you can understand its justified wish not to be forced out of Europe.”

Now in mid-1991, Woerner responds to the Russians by stating that he personally and the NATO Council are both against expansion—“13 out of 16 NATO members share this point of view”—and that he will speak against Poland’s and Romania’s membership in NATO to those countries’ leaders as he has already done with leaders of Hungary and Czechoslovakia. Woerner emphasizes that “We should not allow […] the isolation of the USSR from the European community.” The Russian delegation warned that any strengthening or expanding of NATO could “seriously slow down democratic transformations” in Russia, and called on their NATO interlocutors to gradually decrease the military functions of the alliance. This memo on the Woerner conversation was written by three prominent reformers and close allies of Yeltsin—Sergey Stepashin (chairman of the Duma’s Security Committee and future deputy minister of Security and prime minister), Gen. Konstantin Kobets (future chief military inspector of Russia after he was the highest-ranking Soviet military officer to support Yeltsin during the August 1991 coup) and Gen. Dmitry Volkogonov (Yeltsin’s adviser on defense and security issues, future head of the U.S.-Russian Joint Commission on POW-MIA and prominent military historian).

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Page from Stepanov-Mamaladze's notes from February 12, 1990, reflecting Baker's assurance to Shevardnadze during the Ottawa Open Skies conference: "And if U[nited] G[ermany] stays in NATO, we should take care about non-expansion of its jurisdiction to the east."

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Eduard A. Shevardnadze (right) greets Hans-Dietrich Genscher (left) and Helmut Kohl (middle) on their arrival in Moscow on February 10, 1990, for talks on German reunification. Photo: AP Photo / Victor Yurchenko.

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The agreement to begin the Two Plus Four talks is presented to the press by the six foreign ministers at the “Open Skies” Conference in Ottawa on February 13, 1990. Left to right: Eduard Shevardnadze (USSR), James A. Baker (US), Hans-Dietrich Genscher (FRG), Roland Dumas (France), Douglas Hurd (Great Britain), Oskar Fischer (GDR). Photo: Bundesbildstelle / Presseund Informationsamt der Bundesregierung.

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First official round of the Two Plus Four negotiations, with the six foreign ministers, in Bonn on May 5, 1990. Photo: Bundesbildstelle / Presseund Informationsamt der Bundesregierung.

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From right to left: Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher (FRG), Minister President Lothar de Maizière (GDR), and Foreign Ministers Roland Dumas (France), Eduard Shevardnadze (USSR), Douglas Hurd (Great Britain), and James Baker (USA) sign the so-called Two Plus Four Agreement (Treaty on the Final Settlement with Respect to Germany) in Moscow on September 12, 1990. Photo: Bundesbildstelle / Presseund Informationsamt der Bundesregierung.

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The working sessions at Camp David met on the deck, outdoors, here clockwise from top left, interpreter Peter Afanasenko, Baker, Bush, Vice President Dan Quayle (the only one in a tie), Scowcroft, Shevardnadze, Gorbachev, and Akhromeyev (back to camera), June 2, 1990. (Credit: George H.W. Bush Presidential Library, P13412-08)

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President Bush greets Czech President Vaclav Havel outside the White House, Washington, D.C., February 20, 1990. Credit: George Bush Presidential Library and Museum

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Foreign Minister Genscher presents President Bush with a piece of the Berlin Wall, Oval Office of the White House, Washington, D.C., November 21, 1989. Credit: George Bush Presidential Library and Museum.

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The principals gathered for a group photo at Camp David, all smiles except for the Soviet marshal at right. From left, Baker, Barbara Bush, President Bush, Raisa Gorbacheva, President Gorbachev, Shevardnadze, Scowcroft, Akhromeyev. June 2, 1990. (Credit: George H.W. Bush Presidential Library, P13437-14)

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The Washington summit arrival on May 31, 1990, featured high ceremony on the White House lawn, here with formal greetings from President Bush for Mikhail Gorbachev, now president of the USSR. (Credit: George H.W. Bush Presidential Library, P13298-18)

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Notes:

[1] See Robert Gates, University of Virginia, Miller Center Oral History, George H.W. Bush Presidency, July 24, 2000, p. 101)

[2] See Chapter 6, “The Malta Summit 1989,” in Svetlana Savranskaya and Thomas Blanton, The Last Superpower Summits (CEU Press, 2016), pp. 481-569. The comment about the Wall is on p. 538.

[3] For background, context, and consequences of the Tutzing speech, see Frank Elbe, “The Diplomatic Path to Germany Unity,” Bulletin of the German Historical Institute 46 (Spring 2010), pp. 33-46. Elbe was Genscher’s chief of staff at the time.

[4] See Mark Kramer, “The Myth of a No-NATO-Enlargement Pledge to Russia,” The Washington Quarterly, April 2009, pp. 39-61.

[5] See Joshua R. Itkowitz Shifrinson, “Deal or No Deal? The End of the Cold War and the U.S. Offer to Limit NATO Expansion,” International Security, Spring 2016, Vol. 40, No. 4, pp. 7-44.

[6] See James Goldgeier, Not Whether But When: The U.S. Decision to Enlarge NATO (Brookings Institution Press, 1999); and James Goldgeier, “Promises Made, Promises Broken? What Yeltsin was told about NATO in 1993 and why it matters,” War On The Rocks, July 12, 2016.

[7] See also Svetlana Savranskaya, Thomas Blanton, and Vladislav Zubok, “Masterpieces of History”: The Peaceful End of the Cold War in Europe, 1989 (CEU Press, 2010), for extended discussion and documents on the early 1990 German unification negotiations.

[8] Genscher told Baker on February 2, 1990, that under his plan, “NATO would not extend its territorial coverage to the area of the GDR nor anywhere else in Eastern Europe.” Secretary of State to US Embassy Bonn, “Baker-Genscher Meeting February 2,” George H.W. Bush Presidential Library, NSC Kanter Files, Box CF00775, Folder “Germany-March 1990.” Cited by Joshua R. Itkowitz Shifrinson, “Deal or No Deal? The End of the Cold War and the U.S. Offer to Limit NATO Expansion,” International Security, Spring 2016, Vol. 40, No. 4, pp. 7-44.

[9] The previous version of this text said that Kohl was “caught up in a campaign finance corruption scandal that would end his political career”; however, that scandal did not erupt until 1999, after the September 1998 elections swept Kohl out of office. The authors are grateful to Prof. Dr. H.H. Jansen for the correction and his careful reading of the posting.

[10] See Andrei Grachev, Gorbachev’s Gamble (Cambridge, UK: Polity Press, 2008), pp. 157-158.

[11] For an insightful account of Bush's highly effective educational efforts with East European leaders including Havel – as well as allies – see Jeffrey A. Engel, When the World Seemed New: George H.W. Bush and the End of the Cold War (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2017), pp. 353-359.

[12] See George H.W. Bush and Brent Scowcroft, A World Transformed (New York: Knopf, 1998), pp. 236, 243, 250.

[13] Published in English for the first time in Savranskaya and Blanton, The Last Superpower Summits (2016), pp. 664-676.

[14] Anatoly Chernyaev Diary, 1990, translated by Anna Melyakova and edited by Svetlana Savranskaya, pp. 41-42.

[15] See Michael Nelson and Barbara A. Perry, 41: Inside the Presidency of George H.W. Bush (Cornell University Press, 2014), pp. 94-95.

[16] The authors thank Josh Shifrinson for providing his copy of this document.

[17] See Memorandum of Conversation between Mikhail Gorbachev and John Major published in Mikhail Gorbachev, Sobranie Sochinenii, v. 24 (Moscow: Ves Mir, 2014), p. 346

[18] See Rodric Braithwaite, “NATO enlargement: Assurances and misunderstandings,” European Council on Foreign Relations, Commentary, 7 July 2016.
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