Jack F. Matlock Jr. is Rubenstein Fellow at Duke. He is the ­author of Autopsy on an Empire, Reagan and Gorbachev: How the Cold War Ended, and Superpower Illusions. Between 1987 and 1991 he was US ­Ambassador to the Soviet Union. (June 2016)


Russia: A Big Part in the Big Change

Alexander Yakovlev (center) with George H.W. Bush and Mikhail Gorbachev at their summit meeting in Malta, December 1989

Alexander Yakovlev: The Man Whose Ideas Delivered Russia from Communism

by Richard Pipes
No other unfounded myth has caused as much damage to US foreign policy over the last quarter-century as the idea that the collapse of the Soviet Union represented the victory of the West in the cold war. The fact is that the cold war ended by negotiation to the benefit …

The Nowhere Nation

Ukraine and Russia: A Fraternal Rivalry

by Anatol Lieven

The Ukrainian Resurgence

by Bohdan Nahaylo
On November 14, 1999, President Leonid Kuchma of Ukraine won re-election to a second term in a runoff vote against his Communist opponent, Petro Symonenko, a former apparatchik who was opposed to a market economy and in favor of a confederation with Russia and Belarus. Official results showed Kuchma, who …

Russia’s Leaking Nukes

One Point Safe: A True Story

by Andrew Cockburn and Leslie Cockburn

Avoiding Nuclear Anarchy: Containing the Threat of Loose Russian Nuclear Weapons and Fissile Material

by Graham T. Allison and Owen R. Coté Jr. and Richard A. Falkenrath and Steven E. Miller
In September, General Alexander Lebed, the defeated presidential candidate who was briefly the head of Russia’s Security Council, said in a television interview that more than a hundred suitcase-sized nuclear bombs were missing from Russian military inventories. Earlier, in May, he had told an American congressional delegation that the Soviet …

Success Story

The Wars of Eduard Shevardnadze

by Carolyn M. Ekedahl and Melvin A. Goodman

My Years with Gorbachev and Shevardnadze: The Memoir of a Soviet Interpreter

by Pavel Palazchenko
On March 8, 1990, as I was leaving Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze’s office following a private meeting, he shocked me when he said, “Jack, I’ll tell you one thing. If I see a dictatorship coming, I’m going to resign. I’ll not be part of a government with blood on …

Gorbachev: Lingering Mysteries


by Mikhail Gorbachev ( the copyright page states, "This edition based on the translation by Georges Peronansky and Tatjana Varsavsky," implying that the translation was edited substantially.)

The Gorbachev Factor

by Archie Brown
While Mikhail Gorbachev was in control of the Soviet state, three events transformed the world’s political landscape: the cold war and the division of Europe ended; the Soviet Union and most of the countries allied with it ceased to be ruled by their Communist parties; and finally the Soviet state …