George Kennan and the Long Telegram - 75th Anniversary

Malcolm Byrne's picture

Soviet Reformer Yakovlev Discussed with Kennan the Famous Cable, Soviet History, and the Future of Perestroika


CNN’s Cold War Series Interviewed Kennan in 1996


Edited by Svetlana Savranskaya


Washington, D.C., February 22, 2021 – Leading Soviet reformer Alexander Yakovlev discussed with George Kennan his “X Article” that grew out of the famous Long Telegram in a previously unpublished October 1990 meeting in Moscow; and Kennan actually dictated the Long Telegram while laid up in bed with the flu, a sinus condition, and a foul mood, according to documents and transcripts posted today by the National Security Archive to mark the 75th anniversary of Kennan’s telegram from Moscow, which shaped the Cold War and U.S. policy towards the Soviet Union.


Today the Archive publishes for the first time in English the memorandum of conversation between perestroika architect Alexander Yakovlev and George Kennan where they discuss the Long Telegram, its relevance to the Soviet situation in 1990, and the problems faced by Soviet reformers.


Adding historical context to the anniversary, the Archive accompanies the Yakovlev-Kennan memcon with an excerpt about the Long Telegram from the lengthy interview of Kennan done by Jeremy Isaacs Productions in June 1996 for the award-winning CNN Cold War series, for which the Archive produced documentary briefing books.