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The Last Superpower Summits

 | 
Svetlana Savranskaya
, 
Thomas Blanton

Epilogue. Madrid, 1991

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After the successful Moscow summit and in anticipation of the signing of the new Union Treaty, scheduled for August 20, Mikhail Gorbachev went on a long overdue vacation in the Crimea. While he and his family badly needed this break, many could not understand why he would go away during this crucial period. And, indeed, the hard-liners, brought to power by the general secretary himself, struck the day before the Treaty was scheduled to be signed. Gorbachev found himself under house arrest in the resort town of Foros with no connection to the outside world while a state of emergency was introduced around the country. The news reached George Bush in Kennebunkport early in the morning of August 19, and left him acutely troubled. His reaction, however, was ambivalent—on the one hand he felt deeply for his embattled partner, but on the other, he was already beginning to weigh the possibility that he might have to “live with the new leaders, however repulsive their behavior.” In his first...

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