Soviet Union | Wilson Center

Soviet Union

Firebird: The Elusive Fate of Russian Democracy

Andrei Kozyrev was foreign minister of Russia under President Boris Yeltsin from August 1991 to January 1996. During the August 1991 coup attempt against Mikhail Gorbachev, he was present when tanks moved in to seize the Russian White House, where Boris Yeltsin famously stood on a tank to address the crowd assembled. He then departed to Paris to muster international support and, if needed, to form a Russian government-in-exile.

Recovering Disputed Sound: RFE Hungarian Revolution Broadcasts

Dreams of Russian Democracy: What Went Wrong?

In this edition of Wilson Center NOW we speak with Andrei Kozyrev, former Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation, about his new book The Firebird: The Elusive Fate of Russian Democracy. Kozyrev provides an eyewitness account of the collapse of the Soviet Union, the struggle to create a democratic Russia under Yeltsin, and how this critical period eventually allowed the rise of crony capitalism and Vladimir Putin.


The Story of Evacuees in the USSR During WW II: Impact and Legacy

In this edition of Wilson Center NOW we speak with Natalie Belsky, former Title VIII Research Scholar with the Wilson Center’s Kennan Institute. She discusses her project “Encounters in the East: Evacuees in the Soviet Hinterland During the Second World War,” which focuses on the wartime experiences of Soviet evacuees and their interactions with the local communities at sites of resettlement.

Chinese in Peril in Russia: The “Millionka” in Vladivostok, 1930-1936

Image: A merchant in the Millionka. Source: Obtained by Austin Jersild from the State Archive of Primorsk Region (Gosudarstvennyi arkhiv Primorskogo kraia), Vladivostok. 

Chinese population growth in Northeast China increased from 408,000 in Heilongjiang Province in 1887 to 1.5 million by 1895, and Chinese migrants crossed the border into the Russian Far East to work on the construction of the Trans-Siberian Railway, at the port in Vladivostok, and in agriculture, forestry, and mining in small towns and rural settlements. 

The Past and Future of U.S.-Russia Cooperation on Nuclear Non-Proliferation

In this edition of Wilson Center NOW we speak with Kennan Institute Title VIII Research Scholar Jonathan Hunt. Hunt discusses his upcoming book Atomic Condominium, which examines the surprising level of cooperation on nuclear non-proliferation between the United States and Soviet Union during the Cold War. He also discusses the current approach to the nuclear question and its implications for broader US-Russia relations.


The Soviet Side of the Cultural Cold War

In Enemy Number One: The United States of America in Soviet Ideology and Propaganda, 1945-1959, I analyzed how Soviet people adapted their worldview to postwar Soviet ideology, which almost overnight turned a recent friend and ally, the United States, into enemy number one.

Cold War Exiles and the CIA: Plotting to Free Russia

At the height of the Cold War in the 1950s, the United States government unleashed covert operations intended to weaken the Soviet Union. As part of these efforts, the CIA committed to supporting Russian exiles, populations uprooted either during World War Two or by the Russian Revolution decades before. No one seemed better prepared to fight in the American secret war against communism than the uprooted Russians, whom the CIA directed to carry out propaganda,
espionage, and subversion operations from their home base in West Germany.

28 Newly Translated Documents on Chernobyl, 1973-1991

Image: A helicopter sprays a decontamination liquid nearby the Chernobyl reactor in 1986. Source: IAEA Imagebank #02790036, via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 2.0.