NSA: Anatoly S. Chernyaev Diary, 1973 – Brezhnev Elevated Detente over Class Struggle — to the Dismay of his Politburo Colleagues

25 May 2013 — National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 430

Soviet Internal Politics and Decision Making from Anatoly Chernyaev’s “Remarkable Diary”

For more information contact:
Svetlana Savranskaya – 202/994-7000 or svetlana@gwu.edu

Washington, D.C., May 25, 2013 — Today the National Security Archive is publishing — for the first time in English — excerpts from the diary of Anatoly S. Chernyaev from 1973, along with edits and a postscript by the author.

As in the previous installment of the diary, for 1972, Chernyaev, deputy head of the International Department of the Central Committee (and later a key foreign policy aide to Mikhail Gorbachev), continues to marvel at the contradictory and enigmatic person at the pinnacle of the Soviet leadership — General Secretary Leonid Brezhnev. On the one hand, Chernyaev is sharply critical of Brezhnev’s primitive pompousness, his inability to express himself, and his ossified ideological dogmas. On the other hand, in one instance after another, Brezhnev shows himself as a real champion of peace and detente with the West; a man capable of dispassionate realpolitk. Chernyaev identifies the General Secretary’s two irreconcilable driving desires — to preserve the Soviet system intact and to cooperate with the West in order to prevent a world war and develop trade and investment.

Several key members of the Soviet leadership emerge from the pages of the diary looking quite different from their official portraits, described in merciless detail by a very astute observer. The series of diaries donated by Anatoly Sergeyevich to the National Security Archive represent an invaluable source, a keyhole through which we today, forty years later, can look back at the internal politics and decision making of the Soviet Politburo and its supporting apparatus.

Check out today’s posting at the National Security Archive website – <ahref=”http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB430/”>http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB430/

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