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Masterpieces of History

Svetlana Savranskaya
Thomas Blanton
Vladislav Zubok


Document No. 101: Diary of Anatoly Chernyaev regarding the Fall of the Berlin Wall, November 10, 1989

Traduction de Vladislav Zubok and Anna Melyakova

Texte intégral

1This extraordinary diary entry from inside the Kremlin on the day after the Wall’s collapse captures the “snapshot” reaction of one of the closest and most loyal of Gorbachev’s assistants. Chernyaev practically cheers “the end of Yalta” and the “Stalinist legacy” in Europe, and sees “the shift in the world balance of forces” towards ideas like the common European home and the Soviet Union’s integration with Europe. All of this he attributes to Gorbachev leading, not standing in the way.


2The Berlin Wall has collapsed. This entire era in the history of the socialist system is over. After the PUWP and the HSWP went Honecker. Today we received messages about the “retirement” of Deng Xiaopeng and Todor Zhivkov. Only our “best friends” Castro, Ceauşescu, and Kim Il Sung are still around—people who hate our guts.

3But the main thing is the GDR, the Berlin Wall. For it has to do not only with “socialism,” but with the shift in the world balance of forces. This is the end of Yalta […] the Stalinist legacy and “the defeat of Hitlerite Germany.”

4That is what Gorbachev has done. And he has indeed turned out to be a great leader. He has sensed the pace of history and helped history to find a natural channel.

5A meeting with Bush is approaching. Will we witness a historic conversation? There are two main ideas in the instructions M.S. gave me to prepare materials: the role of two superpowers in leading the world to a civilized state and the balance of interests. But Bush might disregard our arguments. […] We do not really have anything to show except for the fear that we could return to totalitarianism.

6[Source: Anatoly Chernyaev’s Diary, Manuscript. On file at the National Security Archive. Translated by Vladislav Zubok and Anna Melyakova.]

© Central European University Press, 2010

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