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The Last Superpower Summits

 | 
Svetlana Savranskaya
, 
Thomas Blanton

Chapter 9. The Moscow summit, 1991

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The July 1991 superpower encounter in Moscow was the last full superpower summit between the United States and the Soviet Union. Its main formal achievement was the long-awaited signing of the START Treaty, which Ronald Reagan had hoped to sign with Mikhail Gorbachev in 1988. It was the completion of old business rather than the breaking of new ground. The most memorable and consequential part of the summit was the almost five-hour talk between Gorbachev and Bush at Novo-Ogarevo, a presidential retreat and dacha on Moscow’s outskirts, on July 31, where the new spirit of partnership permeated every item on the agenda—from Soviet internal problems to regional issues around the globe. The U.S.-Soviet partnership was what Gorbachev was relying on at this moment in his effort to rescue perestroika and preserve the USSR as a state and as a global power committed to new thinking. To the Soviet leader, the Novo-Ogarevo conversation in particular meant that his new thinking was becoming the ...

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