Ivan Maisky was Soviet Ambassador to London from 1932 to 1943. Gabriel Gorodetsky is a Quondam Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford, and a member of the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton. His three-volume edition of the diary of Ivan Maisky is forthcoming from Yale University Press.
 (April 2011)


The Communist and the King

Ivan Maisky (second from left), the Soviet ambassador to London between 1932 and 1943, with Winston Churchill at the Allied ambassadors’ lunch at the Soviet embassy, September 1941. General Władysław Sikorski, prime minister of the Polish government in exile, is second from right.
Stalin’s terror and purges of the 1930s discouraged high Soviet officials from putting a pen to paper let alone keeping personal records and above all diaries. The following excerpts are taken from the rare and unique diary assiduously kept by Ivan Maisky, the Soviet ambassador to London between 1932 and …