Gorbachev's Greatest Hits

Malcolm Byrne Discussion

Mikhail Sergeyevich Turns 90; Archive marks milestone with new publication of Gorbachev memcons with Castro, Mitterrand, and Shamir; compilation of dozens of Gorbachev primary sources.


Gorbachev made history, then freed history by opening his documents


Edited by Svetlana Savranskaya and Thomas Blanton


Washington, D.C., March 2, 2021 – The first and only president of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev, is turning 90 years old today in Moscow.  On the occasion of his anniversary, the National Security Archive has compiled a collection of postings called “Gorbachev’s Greatest Hits.”  These documents help illuminate the story of the end of the Cold War, political reform of the Soviet system, and the vision of a world built on universal human values.


This compendium, accompanied by a collection of Russian-language documents on the Archive’s Russia Page, is intended to encourage scholars and others to revisit and study those miraculous years in the late 1980s and early 1990s when the global confrontation stopped, walls fell, peoples found freedom, and Europe was seen as a common home.  Though not for long.


Gorbachev made history, and to a remarkable degree he also freed history from the usual constraints of security classifications and archival restrictions that often go on needlessly for decades.  Only a year or two out of office, he had already started publishing the transcripts of his head-of-state meetings through the Gorbachev Foundation; and he liberated top aides like Anatoly Chernyaev to publish their memos and their diaries from which the international scholarly community has benefited enormously, and from which the National Security Archive has built dozens of Web postings, including the selections highlighted here, and published two award-winning books, Masterpieces of History and The Last Superpower Summits.