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The Last Superpower Summits

Svetlana Savranskaya
Thomas Blanton

Chapter 4. The Moscow summit, 1988

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Ronald Reagan declared the end of the Cold War while standing in the Kremlin. It was the most remarkable moment of the Moscow summit of May-June 1988. Indeed, the summit featured a multitude of scenes even Hollywood would hardly dare to invent. For example, as Reagan strolled through Red Square a U.S. military aide followed a few steps behind carrying the nuclear war codes targeting that very spot as “ground zero” in the event of World War III. Later, the crowd on the Arbat, the lively pedestrian avenue of souvenir shops and street music, almost crushed Reagan in an embrace of Russian babushkas. The president and his wife, never themselves regular church-goers, met with bearded Orthodox priests at the Danilov Monastery to talk about freedom of religion. Then, before a bust of Lenin, Reagan addressed students at the Soviet Union’s Harvard—Moscow State University—looking for all the world as if he were their commencement speaker. The show was spectacular, and a good thing too, because...

© Central European University Press, 2016

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