Title page, Copyright

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Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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Preface

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pp. ix-x

Alexander Nikolaevich Yakovlev (1923– 2005) is the unsung hero of the processes known as perestroika, or reconstruction, and glasnost’, or openness, which between 1989...

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1 - Youth

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pp. 3-5

Yakovlev was born on December 2, 1923, in the small village of Korolevo near Iaroslavl, a provincial town some 150 miles northeast of Moscow. He was the first child of five, the other four being...

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2 - War

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pp. 6-8

Yakovlev graduated from secondary school at the age of seventeen in June 1941, just days before the Germans would invade the Soviet Union. In November of that year he was drafted...

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3 - Khrushchev’s Speech

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pp. 9-13

In March 1953, immediately after Stalin’s death, Yakovlev was assigned to work in the party’s Central Committee as an instructor in the department of schools. He felt bewildered by the capital city...

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4 - Columbia University

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pp. 14-16

Yakovlev’s studies of socialist theory were interrupted in 1958 by an opportunity to spend a year in the United States under the new Fulbright scholarship program. Of the seventeen Soviet...

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5 - Trouble

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pp. 17-19

Although nationalism was the antithesis of Communism, which condemned it, under Stalin and his immediate followers the Soviet regime learned not only to tolerate but to encourage...

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6 - Canada

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pp. 20-25

After a brief stint in a hospital for an unknown ailment, Yakovlev left with his wife for Canada. He soon befriended the eccentric Canadian prime minister Pierre Trudeau, an admirer...

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7 - Back Home

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pp. 26-28

IMEMO—Institut Mirovoi Ekonomiki i Mezhdunarodnykh Otnoshenii (the Institute of World Economy and International Relations)—was a prestigious think tank of the Academy, and Yakovlev would...

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8 - The December 1985 Memorandum*

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pp. 29-32

Yakovlev was convinced that unless drastic measures were taken to reform it, his country faced major upheavals. These measures entailed, above all, a break with the Communist Party’s...

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9 - Relations with Gorbachev

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pp. 33-35

Yakovlev’s relationship with Gorbachev1 combined friendship and influence with frustration and disappointment. Although for nearly a decade he was in constant and close contact with Gorbachev...

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10 - Glasnost’

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pp. 36-46

It is very difficult for a person not raised under a totalitarian regime, in which all public opinion without exception is controlled, to appreciate the significance of glasnost’: it was like emerging suddenly from a...

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11 - Need of a Fundamental Break

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pp. 47-47

As pointed out, Yakovlev conceded that he and Gorbachev had originally thought that the Soviet system was reformable; it needed only modifications that would infuse new life into it. That...

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12 - Role in Foreign Policy

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pp. 48-50

While Yakovlev’s role in perestroika and glasnost’ is generally known, the same cannot be said of his contribution to Soviet foreign policy, even though it was quite significant...

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13 - The 1939 Secret Protocol

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pp. 51-53

On June 2, 1989, Gorbachev, through the First Congress of People’s Deputies, appointed Yakovlev chairman of a commission to study the secret protocol signed in August 1939 between...

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14 - Attitude toward the United States

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pp. 54-58

One aspect of Yakovlev’s mindset that is difficult to explain is his lifelong hatred of the United States. In the words of Jeane J. Kirkpatrick, this hostility was “implacable, unrelieved...

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15 - Advocating Presidency

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pp. 59-60

Yakovlev was responsible for introducing to Russia the institution of the presidency. He first made a proposal to this effect in December 1985 when he suggested that national power...

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16 - Accusations of Treason

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pp. 61-65

During the first three years of Gorbachev’s leadership, the conservative elements in the Communist Party remained largely passive, apparently expecting that, as in the case of Khrushchev...

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17 - Bolshevik Crimes

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pp. 66-72

After leaving government service, Yakovlev’s main preoccupation was with the past, that of his country and his own. On September 28, 1987, the Politburo had created a commission to study...

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18 - The Dissolution of the Soviet Union

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pp. 73-73

As the country was being torn apart by nationalistic impulses—by September 1990, thirteen out of fifteen republics had declared some form of sovereignty1— Yakovlev was eager...

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19 - Private Life

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pp. 74-74

Like most Russian officials, Yakovlev separated his private from his public life, and hence little is known of the former. He and his family lived modestly on Alexander Nevsky Street, near...

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20 - The August 1991 Coup

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pp. 75-77

It is surprising that despite his criticism of the Communist Party and repeated suggestions that the party be split, Yakovlev was kept a member in good standing. The denouement came in...

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21 - Yakovlev’s Final Thoughts aboutRussia and Russians

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pp. 78-79

After he had left the government, Yakovlev gave much thought to his country’s political traditions and reached rather pessimistic conclusions. He felt that perestroika had ultimately failed...

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22 - Death

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pp. 80-80

In old age, Yakovlev’s health left much to be desired: he suffered from diabetes, high blood pressure, and a lung disease. He died from pulmonary embolism, the blockage of the main lung artery.1 According...

Document 1

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pp. 81-114

Document 2

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pp. 115-128

Acknowledgments

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pp. 129-130

Illustrations

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pp. 131-132

Abbreviations of Yakovlev’s Works

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pp. 133-134

Notes

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pp. 135-142

Bibliography

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pp. 143-144

Index

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pp. 145-152