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Masterpieces of History

Svetlana Savranskaya
Thomas Blanton
Vladislav Zubok


Document No. 115: Cable from James Baker to U.S. Embassy Sofia, December 19, 1989

Texte intégral

1This document represents one of the few pieces of evidence available on an actual behind-the-scenes intervention by Soviet officials in the reform and revolution processes in Eastern Europe. Gorbachev himself would proclaim non-interference over and over, and would only go so far in encouraging the ouster of the old guard—as when he told a parable to the SED Politburo in Berlin (see Document No. 88) about miners in Donetsk whose old leaders could not pull the cart any more. But here the State Department tells the U.S. Embassy in Sofia about a conversation between a senior Soviet official and the assistant secretary of state for human rights, Richard Schifter, in which the Soviet credits Foreign Minister Shevardnadze for actively working to help Petar Mladenov oust Todor Zhivkov in Bulgaria (on November 10).



21. Secret: Entire Text

32. In an informal conversation [line excised] told [Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights Richard] Schifter that (A) Mladenov took a great personal risk in challenging Zhivkov and (B) Soviet Formin Shevardnadze intervened actively in support of Mladenov. [Excision, name] added that the matter was urgent enough for Shevardnadze to intervene quote without extensive consultation unquote.

43. […] Baker

5[Source: U.S. Department of State, obtained through FOIA. On file at the National Security Archive.]

© Central European University Press, 2010

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