On The Battlefields Of The Cold War: A Soviet Ambassadors Confession

Paperback | August 15, 2003

byVictor Israelyan

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"Memoirs are worthless if their authors attempt to present themselves as angels. I resolutely oppose those of my countrymen who shift responsibility for Soviet evils exclusively to the leaders. It is important that each Soviet citizen realize and admit his or her share of the responsibility." —from On the Battlefields of the Cold War

For more than forty years Victor Israelyan served in the Soviet Ministry of Foreign Affairs, rising through the ranks to become one of the Soviet Union's leading diplomats specializing in disarmament negotiations. He was forced to retire in 1987, a casualty of a system that was about to collapse under the weight of its contradictions. On the Battlefields of the Cold War offers unique insight into the volatile inner workings of the Soviet Foreign Ministry, where the battle lines of the Cold War were often first drawn.

Israelyan has no patience for those of his compatriots who argue that Soviet foreign policy was ultimately just, save for a few "aberrations" such as the invasions of Hungary, Czechoslovakia, and Afghanistan. These acts were intrinsic to the system, and without them the mighty Soviet Union would not have existed as long as it did. The very foundation of Soviet foreign policy, therefore, was untenable, and the entire structure it supported was destined to implode.

Israelyan brings to this memoir a wealth of experience, having worked with all the postwar Soviet foreign ministers—from Molotov and Vyshinsky to Gromyko and Shevardnadze—and established diplomatic ties to the West, particularly to the United States. As part of the middle tier of the diplomatic hierarchy, he was privy both to meetings of the Collegium of the Foreign Ministry as well as to the many informal, private discussions among rank-and-file diplomats. Israelyan explains how he and his colleagues, as faithful defenders of Soviet ideology, viewed the United States, the Soviet Union's main adversary and partner. He tells of distinct factions within the Soviet foreign policy apparatus—factions that Soviet leaders sought to hide, fearing that any internal divisions might be interpreted by outsiders as discord. This aging Cold Warrior—one who accepts that he belonged to the party that lost the war—relates a deeply human story whose legacy continues today.

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"Memoirs are worthless if their authors attempt to present themselves as angels. I resolutely oppose those of my countrymen who shift responsibility for Soviet evils exclusively to the leaders. It is important that each Soviet citizen realize and admit his or her share of the responsibility." —from On the Battlefields of the Cold War F...

Victor Israelyan has had a rich and distinguished career spanning five decades as a physician, diplomat, scholar, and professor. He has written more than ten books, including Inside the Kremlin During the Yom Kippur War (Penn State, 1995).
Format:PaperbackDimensions:432 pages, 9 × 6 × 1 inPublished:August 15, 2003Publisher:Penn State University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0271058471

ISBN - 13:9780271058474

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Table of Contents

Contents

Preface

1. Training for the Cold War

2. The First Collisions of the Cold War

3. Stalin Is Dead. What Next?

4. Sowing the Seeds of Hatred in Hungary

5. The Khrushchev Style of Diplomacy

6. Thaws and Frosts

7. On the Diplomatic Sidelines

8. The Battlefield, UN

9. The Soviet Union’s 105th Veto

10. The Cold War on the Middle East Front

11. China—A New Front in the Cold War

12. Time to Go Home

13. The Soviet Diplomatic Headquarters at Smolenskaya Square

14. An Uneasy Truce in the Cold War

15. The Apotheosis of the Cold War

16. Marking Time

17. The Beginning of the End of the Cold War

18. Feigned Friendship

19. Farewell to the Cold War

Conclusion

Index

Editorial Reviews

“Israelyan’s prose is brisk and lucid.”

—Jack F. Matlock, Jr., Russian Review