Thatcher, Gorbachev, Bush

the secret Kremlin records

Remarkable cache of official transcripts of conversations which show the then Prime Minister’s hostility towards a united Germany. From the Times Online, translation and additional research by Sergei Cristo.

Note by Anatoly Chernyaev on conclusions from the Conference for International Policy.

March 10 1986: excerpt

wall1Shouldn’t we actually thoroughly consider whether we could mount this whole ‘German-German question’ in such a way so it benefits the socialist community, socialism and our politics? After all the most important card, the decision about the so-called ‘re-unification’ of Germany, is in our hands. With this, we can tie in the whole line about moving the Federal Republic closer to us. There are a lot of underwater rocks there. Everything needs to be researched very thoroughly, together with serious specialists and scientists. Perhaps some stereotypes would have to be overcome, which were quite naturally borne out on reflection of what Germans did during the War. In any case, we need to find out what is the likelihood of new Bismarcks or Hitlers [appearing from the woodwork]. In brief, the German theme requires our serious attention. It looks as though it is becoming the main [route] in the realisation of our European course.

Gorbachev at the Politburo meeting

October 6 1988: excerpt

With all differences and nuances, there are many signs that the growing problems faced by our fraternal nations are of similar nature. The similarity of symptoms points to the fact that the illness is caused not by some evil virus which managed to infect those who have not taken precautions but is due to certain factors within the economic and political model of socialism. Within the model which was first adopted by us, and then used with insignificant modifications in those countries which chose the path of socialism in the post-war period.

We have already exposed weaknesses in this model and are gradually eliminating them. In this, as the matter of fact, is the key objective of Perestroika, [which is] to give socialism a new quality. Several countries have followed our example or even have overtaken us on the course of major reforms. Some, such as the GDR, Romania and China have not yet realised the need for change but it is due mostly to political reasons rather than to unwillingness of the current leadership to change. In reality, everyone needs to change but we do not say so publicly so that we are not accused in trying to force our Perestroika on to our friends.

However, the fact remains: clear signs of a crisis point to a need for radical reforms across the socialist world.


A conversation between Mikhail Gorbachev and UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher

September 23 1989 : transcript


I wanted to raise some questions regarding the situation in the countries of Eastern Europe. I was deeply impressed by the courage of General Jaruzelski in Poland and by his patriotism. Of course, the future of Poland and its alliance with you are very important. I noticed that you reacted calmly to the results of the Polish elections and generally to processes taking part in this and other Eastern European countries. My understanding of your position is following: you welcome each country developing in its own way on the condition that Warsaw Pact stays. I understand this position perfectly.

Now I would like to say something in complete confidence and would ask you not to record this part of our conversation.


I agree to your request.

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