Anatoly S. Chernyaev Diary, 1983

Thursday, 25 May 2023 — National Security Archive


At the Central Committee: “what a humiliating role I am in, doing everything I can to dress a naked, completely naked king”

KAL shootdown “showcased with monstrous obviousness the power and pressure of the ‘military complex’ over our entire life and politics”

On nuclear war: “this vast world, full of fantastic achievements of the human mind and labor, can in a few short minutes fall victim to a nervous breakdown of one of the two ‘superpower’ leaders”

Washington D.C., May 25, 2023 – The National Security Archive today marks what would have been Anatoly Sergeyevich Chernyaev’s 102nd birthday with the publication for the first time in English of his Diary for 1983. At the time, Chernyaev was deputy director of the International Department of the Central Committee responsible for the International Communist Movement (ICM). Within three years, he became the chief foreign policy adviser to Mikhail Gorbachev and a leading theorist in the era of perestroika and glasnost.

After the Soviet collapse, Chernyaev transformed into one of the most important and reliable sources of historical information for Western observers about the Soviet system and the Kremlin’s Cold War. An invaluable contributor to international scholarship, including conferences and research conducted by the National Security Archive, he ultimately donated his diary—which Pulitzer Prize-winning author David Hoffman called “irreplaceable” and “one of the great internal records of the Gorbachev years”—to the Archive. Every year, the Archive translates and posts another annual installment of this extraordinary chronicle


THE NATIONAL SECURITY ARCHIVE is an independent non-governmental research institute and library located at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C. The Archive collects and publishes declassified documents acquired through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). A tax-exempt public charity, the Archive receives no U.S. government funding; its budget is supported by publication royalties and donations from foundations and individuals.

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