Libmonster ID: VN-1309

Moscow: Nauka Publ., 2006, 548 p.

The book of the famous Russian historian, Academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences Alexander Fursenko (not to be confused with the Minister of Education and Science Andrey Fursenko) is undoubtedly an important stage in the development of modern Russian historiography, dedicated not only to the Soviet period, but also to all the complex, bloody and largely unknown XX century. This seemingly lost century, which changed almost everything in the life of mankind, is invisibly present in our thoughts and actions, ideas and beliefs, putting an indelible stamp on everything that happens today. This also applies to what has received the name "cold war"in historiography and the media. A. A. Fursenko's research is devoted to the policy of the Soviet Union during this period.

Although the book is about the USSR, the author is absolutely right to call it "Russia and International Crises". Apart from the current conjunctural and political disputes about what the Soviet Union was, I think that for most Russian historians and Russians in general, it is indisputable that it is historically, geographically and, most importantly, geopolitically Russia, an important and integral link in a single chain: the Moscow State (before the XVIII century) - Russian Empire (before 1917) - USSR (before 1991) - modern Russian Federation. And it is hardly possible to consider reasonable and scientifically grounded attempts, especially often made in the media, to deduce the history of modern Russia almost directly from the Romanov empire or the temporary regime of "Milyukovism" - "Kerenskyism", throwing away who knows where 74 years of life of our country, in which there was everything, but it was! Moreover, quite often this "former" reminds us of itself today. Therefore, it is necessary to seriously understand it, regardless of individuals, ideological and other biases, relying on primary sources and first-hand evidence. One of these successful attempts should be recognized as a peer-reviewed book.

Many of the subjects covered by the author have recently been banned or stubbornly hushed up. This also applies to a number of aspects, details and details of the three major foreign policy crises that are in the focus of A. Fursenko's attention - Suez, Berlin and Cuba. The value of the analysis developed by the author is greatly increased due to the fact that the research is based on archival materials of party and Soviet state institutions, including the Presidium and Secretariat of the CPSU Central Committee, the USSR Foreign Ministry, the First Main Directorate of the KGB, the Main Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff, and the Central Archive of the FSB.

Here is what the author himself says about this: "This book is the result of my work on the materials of the former Soviet archives over the past fifteen years. Having gained access to previously classified documents, I found myself in a unique position. I have hundreds of dossiers at my disposal that have never been handled by a researcher before. In some cases, the book contains only blank references to the place of their storage - this or that archive, without specifying the case number and sheets. This is due to the fact that a number of dossiers are still not fully processed or open, but the value of the documents and evidence hidden in them does not allow them to be ignored" (p.5).

It seems that even these lines should arouse great interest in the book not only among professional historians, but also among ordinary readers. One can only regret that the relatively small print run (2 thousand copies) will not allow many of those (especially outside of both capitals) who may need it, need it, or simply be interested to get acquainted with it.

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Interest in the book also increases as the author mentions the names of people whose help he used. In the first place among them, he puts Academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences E. M. Primakov, "whose participation and support", according to A. A. Fursenko, " played a decisive role in the fact that I got access to materials that were previously under seven seals. This made it possible to tell about the fate of people and events, to reveal previously unknown pages of history " (p. 5). In this regard, one cannot but recall the recently published book by E. M. Primakov himself "Confidential: The Middle East on stage and behind the Scenes"*. Naturally, E. M. Primakov, as a specialist on Arab countries, who worked in them for a long time and personally knew almost all the now famous Arab leaders, has a slightly different approach to analyzing the problems of the Arab world than A. A. Fursenko-based more on personal contacts and impressions, on personal participation in many events of the first plan which were of vital importance for the Arabs and Arab-Soviet relations. His monograph is both a political memoir and the work of a theoretical expert, and A. A. Fursenko's book is primarily a documentary study, the main task of which is to make the maximum possible number of previously closed primary sources available to the public. Each of these genres has its own advantages.

Among those who helped A. A. Fursenko are employees of the Russian archives, the national archives of Great Britain and France, the French Foreign Ministry, the British Academy, American historians, among whom it is worth highlighting Arthur Schlesinger, a former adviser and biographer of the Kennedy brothers, as well as many Russian historians. Separately, I would like to mention the director of the House of Human Sciences in Paris, Prof. Maurice Aymard (not "Aymard" as on p. 6) and his scientific secretary, Sonia Colpard, whose help was used in France by almost all Russian humanities scientists who came there.

The first chapter of the book under review is titled "J. V. Stalin: The Last Years of His Life and Death". It is richly documented, including for the first time published materials from the leader's archive. At the same time, it is also contradictory, which is reflected in the key phrase of the chapter, in my opinion: "During the years of Stalin's rule (the 20s of the XX century-1953), the USSR turned into a strong industrial power with a powerful military potential. As General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, Stalin concentrated enormous power in his hands. The undoubted economic successes achieved under him, and then the victory of the Soviet people over fascism won during the Great Patriotic War, came at the cost of colossal human sacrifices. Stalin's version of socialism turned into a brutal dictatorship, with the "Gulag archipelago" populated by millions of often innocently convicted people. Up to a million people were shot" (p. 12).

All this seems to have been known for a long time. However, one should recall the "1941 syndrome" that "haunted Stalin until the last days of his life" (p. 15) and determined much in the post-war development of the USSR, in particular, unprecedented military preparations, the arms race, including nuclear ones, the accelerated pace of rocket production, etc., which left an indelible mark on the life of the Soviet people still reeling from the hardships of 1941-1945, and thus influencing the country's foreign policy. A detailed analysis of all aspects of this policy was not part of A. A. Fursenko's task. Nevertheless, I would like to emphasize that the importance of A. A. Fursenko's objective, restrained and careful presentation, richly documented work, cannot be overestimated from the point of view of more complete, sometimes sensational (especially when it comes to the role of certain personalities) and even unexpected for the ordinary reader information about the backstage history of the Cold War, and from the point of view of the national interests of modern Russia.

Now, when our country does not pose an ideological threat to the West, which literally panicked at the mere mention of the word "communism", and we have stopped talking about a "capitalist environment", not only the legacy, but also the practice of the "cold war", unfortunately, are constantly making themselves felt. And this happens not for ideological, but for geopolitical reasons. For the West, Russia of tsarist, Soviet, and post-Soviet times is a power too great (at least in its size), too difficult to recognize and, therefore, dangerous. This can be proved by the current attitude of the West towards Russia, even weakened by the loss after 1991 of economically and strategically important territories in the west and south, nurtured by some in the West (for example, Z. Bzhe-

* For V. V. Popov's review of this book, see: Vostok (Oriens), 2007, No. 2, pp. 171-175.

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Zinsky) plans for the dismemberment of Russia, "NATO's advance to the East", which makes us recall Lord Curzon's formula about the "sanitary cordon" around the USSR.

And all this was quite predictable already in the middle of the XX century. Interesting are the excerpts quoted by A. A. Fursenko from the previously unpublished report of the British Ambassador Gascoigne to London on March 6, 1953, i.e. immediately after Stalin's death: "My particular concern at the moment is the fear that some elements in the US government may try to replace the current policy of deterrence take a tougher line, arguing that the right moment has come to treat Russia in this way, taking advantage of the fact that the stability of its political life has been shaken." Obviously better informed than the Americans, Gascoigne advocated "extreme caution" in relation to the USSR. But already in 1953, he allowed for "a probable change in the foreign policy of the Soviet government", which "may come as a result of internal difficulties." Fursenko adds on his own behalf: "But as time has shown, this did not happen then" (p. 48).

The second chapter, "N. S. Khrushchev: The Path to Power," also contains new, previously unpublished information, especially on foreign policy issues. The hero of this part of the book, who was distinguished by "dynamism and a lively manner of behavior" (p. 60), is most interestingly shown in his complex relations with other leaders of the USSR: Stalin, Beria, Bulganin, Voroshilov, Marshal Zhukov, Kaganovich, Malenkov, Molotov, Polyansky, Shepilov, as well as with foreign leaders: General de Vries. Gaulle, Castro, Kennedy, Macmillan. Fursenko brings a lot of new colors to the rather controversial image of a naturally intelligent but poorly educated "peasant" (this is the Russian word de Gaulle called him in private conversations), who became famous for his rude expressions and threats to show the West "Kuzka's mother". In general, it is quite possible to agree with the author that N. S. Khrushchev "made serious mistakes", including the threat to disperse "to hell with the Academy of Sciences", but "the impulse given then in many initiatives is still valid today... and much of what has been done serves the interests of the country" (p. 81).

Very interesting and instructive is a short (p.85-100) chapter about Winston Churchill, the mastermind of the Cold War, which began with his infamous 1946 speech in Fulton. A politician as talented as he was cynical, Churchill tried to stop the Cold War and "renew old ties" with the Soviet government. He even interpreted his speech in Fulton in a conversation with the Ambassador of the Soviet Union in December 1953 not as a hostile act against our country, but as an alleged desire to "prevent relations of friendship between the USSR and the United States" (p.87). However, the British prime minister clearly underestimated the degree of distrust in Moscow since the Second World War, when he was almost the main opponent of opening a "second front" in Europe, which could ease the situation of the USSR. In addition, Churchill was not supported by US President Eisenhower, who personally disliked him, and Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, who is committed to the toughest course towards the USSR.

The chapter on Charles de Gaulle is longer and more detailed. It contains a lot of new and interesting things, in particular about de Gaulle's confidence already in 1961 that in 20 years Russia "will not be communist, and Europe-capitalist", that the Soviet-Chinese conflict is not an "ideological dispute", but only a "shell" hiding the conflict between the two empires. It is also interesting that while receiving N. S. Khrushchev at his Rambouillet residence, de Gaulle, during a boat ride, suddenly began to sing "From behind the island on a string", and Khrushchev picked up the song (p. 200). However, in my opinion, the author of the book focuses excessively on de Gaulle's anti-Sovietism, which "stood like a rock" even when Washington "was sometimes ready to make concessions to Moscow" (p.195). Of course, this was largely due (as the book convincingly shows), on the one hand, to the close alliance with Adenauer, who was strongly anti - Soviet, and on the other hand, to the reluctance of any negotiations on German unity (which the French did not want). During de Gaulle's entire presidency, the main force of opposition to him was the then-strong French Communist Party, whose ties to Moscow were no secret. In addition, the first four years of de Gaulle's rule were a time of almost open support from the USSR (and the more cautious and hidden part of the PCF) for the Algerian rebels fighting against France. And de Gaulle, contrary to what many people (including in our country) attributed to him, did not want "any independence" of Algeria at all, and even declared in 1958 that "Algeria is French land forever." It was then that he changed his position when he saw that the war in Algeria threatened to undermine French influence in the country.-

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in the Maghreb, in Egypt and Lebanon, and prevents its spread to Iraq, Syria and Yemen, which were then close to the USSR, and most importantly - makes France more vulnerable in the international arena and more closely associated with the United States and Germany than it would like.

Obviously, the question of de Gaulle's support for the United States in the Berlin and Cuban crises is not so simple. Apparently, he did this not so much in the name of Western solidarity (it is worth remembering his attacks against the "Anglo-Saxons" and the withdrawal of France from the military structures of NATO), but in order to prevent (the author mentions this more than once) an agreement between the USSR and the United States that could limit the role of France in the international arena, especially in solving the problems of Europe and the Afro-Asian world. It was never forgotten in France that John F. Kennedy, while still a senator, was the first US politician to speak out in 1957 for the independence of Algeria, even though he was a Catholic and married to a French woman. Since the 1950s, the United States has been pushing France in Indochina and the Arab world (especially Morocco and Tunisia), "hindering" it in Canada, where de Gaulle once supported the Quebec separatists. Let us also recall how de Gaulle shouted in Russian "Long live Russia! Long live Moscow!" during a rally in front of the Moscow City Council during its visit to the USSR in 1966. Apparently, he, a nobleman and anti-communist, was really against the agreement of the Soviet Union and the American-led West in general, but he was not at all against cooperation between the USSR and France on a bilateral basis, in order to make the United States respect the interests of France in the world, and to make his "friend and ally" Adenauer more compliant.

For orientalists, the chapters "The Suez crisis of 1956", "The USSR and the Aswan Dam (1956-1958)", "The Iraqi Revolution of 1958", and "Turkish missiles in the Cuban Crisis" are of particular interest. The first of them is almost entirely based on previously unknown materials from Soviet, British and French archives. It contains a wealth of information about the Soviet-Egyptian negotiations, the ways and specifics of Soviet arms deliveries to Egypt in 1955-1956, the Anglo-American and Anglo-Soviet contradictions over Egypt, Soviet-Egyptian contacts after the appointment of Dmitry Shepilov as Foreign Minister of the USSR, and the stages of forming the anti-Egyptian coalition of Britain and France (and subsequently, Israel) after the nationalization of the Suez Canal. An interesting secret recording at the Leningrad airport of a conversation between the ambassadors of the United States and Israel in August 1956, in which the latter said:: "Israel will not be able to hold out for more than a year, as Nasser will certainly close the channel to the passage of Allied military vessels." And the US ambassador set Israel the task of "proving to the whole world Egypt's aggressive intentions" (p. 115).

It seems that the United States, which officially did not support Britain and France in 1956, at the same time had nothing against "punishing" Egypt with someone else's hands and subsequently taking advantage of the fruits of this "police operation", at the same time ousting the previously monopolistically dominant political and economic elites of London and Paris from Egypt. At the same time, Dulles and Eisenhower feared, and, as subsequent events showed, not without reason, "an increase in hostility on the part of the entire population of the Middle East" to the West and the possibility of the USSR gaining "dominant influence" as a result (pp. 115-116). The second, however, did not happen, but the USSR, of course, gained a certain influence. The chapter shows in detail exactly how this happened, what disputes took place at the meetings of the Presidium of the Central Committee of the CPSU, what was the personal position of certain Soviet leaders throughout the months-long Suez crisis. In most cases, all this information is published for the first time, which is of particular interest, because in 1956, the Soviet leadership, with the dominant role of N. S. Putin, was in charge of the military. Khrushchev was not yet unified and included those who could argue with him or simply disagree - K. E. Voroshilov, G. K. Zhukov, L. M. Kaganovich, G. M. Malenkov, V. M. Molotov, D. T. Shepilov. The USSR did indeed play a decisive role in resolving the Suez crisis, especially after the outbreak of hostilities on October 29, 1956. This must be said, because not only in the West, as noted in the book, the main role in the settlement was attributed to the United States, but also in Egypt later, as many Arabists remember, there was talk that, they say, " we (i.e., the Egyptians. - R. L.) were then completely alone", but nevertheless "three powers won".

The logical continuation of the settlement of the Suez crisis was the Soviet Union's assistance to Egypt in the construction of the Aswan dam. In fact, the Suez crisis itself was largely caused by the West's refusal to finance this construction. However, the funds from the nationalization of the Suez Canal for such a gigantic project were also not enough. Therefore, the Soviet Union provided

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UAR in December 1958, a loan of 400 million rubles on preferential terms (p. 154). The author describes the history of the signing of this agreement quite colorfully, although it concerns only the economic and diplomatic aspects of the negotiations, which were reflected mainly in previously unknown documents of the USSR Foreign Ministry in 1954-1958. It would be even more dramatic if we recall that it was in December 1958 that Nasser launched a campaign against the Communists of these countries in Egypt and Syria (which had formed the United Arab Republic since February 1958). The immediate reason for it was the sharp criticism of Nasser by the then influential Communist Party of Iraq. Nasser, of course, could not ignore the connection of all Arab communists with Russia and, quite possibly, wanted, on the one hand, to emphasize his independence from our country, and on the other - to make a conciliatory gesture towards the West. In the end, cooperation between our country and the UAR improved, but for several years it was quite difficult. Moreover, it should be noted the importance of helping Egypt at that difficult time, when the Arabs could see the firm course of the USSR to support young independent states, regardless of the vicissitudes of the political situation.

This fully applies to Moscow's support for the 1958 revolution in Iraq. It was perhaps the most radical of many Arab revolutions of the twentieth century, as it was accompanied not only by the overthrow of the monarchy, but also by the extermination of the entire royal family and the entry into the forefront of communists, Baathists, and Kurdish revolutionaries. Even the British ambassador, in a report to his government, was forced to recognize the regularity of what had happened in a country where the West was already considered the "worst enemy" (p. 158). The United States, Britain and Turkey tried to organize a military suppression of the revolution, but were forced to retreat due to the rapid development of events, the merger of the efforts of the army and various political parties in Iraq, speeches in support of it by the USSR, China, and the UAR. At the same time, the landing of US troops in Lebanon and British troops in Jordan posed an immediate threat to Iraq. In response, Moscow began military maneuvers in Transcaucasia, Turkmenistan, and the Black Sea, coordinated with Nasser, who secretly visited the USSR on July 17, 1958, three days after the revolution began.

When the danger of direct Western intervention in Iraq was over, the Soviet Union continued its policy of promoting the Iraqi revolution, first together with Nasser, and then independently, as differences arose between Nasser and the new leader of Iraq, General Qassem. Moscow began to provide serious military and economic assistance to Iraq, which from the end of 1958 was one of the reasons for Nasser's dissatisfaction with the position of the USSR. At the same time, the West, not trusting either Nasser or Qasem, provoked protests primarily against the latter, in particular by starting to finance the actions of fighters for the autonomy of Kurdistan from the end of 1959, as well as by organizing an attempt on Qasem himself, who was already enrolled in the "camp of the extreme left"by NATO experts in the spring of 1959. At first, however, even British intelligence believed that the assassination attempt was organized almost by "Palestinian communists". Subsequently, the involvement of Baathists (including 20-year-old Saddam Hussein), then supported by the US special services, was revealed, although Qasem himself blamed everything (unfairly) Nasser.

N. S. Khrushchev later complained that the USSR had hoped for a" progressive path " for Iraq's development, but Qasem turned out to be "a man with dictatorial habits." He was described in the press as a" heroic leader "(and by the Communists as a"great son of the Iraqi people"). Taking this for granted, Qasem at the same time tried to push all parties out of power, relying only on the army and police, and launched an unpopular war in Kurdistan in 1960. As a result, in February 1963 he was overthrown by the Ba'athists, who, according to their leader Ali Saleh Saadi, were "brought to power "by the" CIA train " (p. 186). After their brief rule in February-November 1963, and then that of General Abd al-Salam Aref, who was succeeded in 1966 by his brother Abd al-Rahman, the Ba'athists returned to power in July 1968 and held it until the American occupation of Iraq in the spring of 2003. to power, declared its loyalty to the "immortal" revolution of 1958.

The main part of A. A. Fursenko's monograph is devoted to the Cuban missile crisis of 1962 and the events surrounding it. Naturally, reviewing chapters on this topic is a matter for specialists. However, they are of interest from the point of view of the complexity of relations between the ruling circles of the USSR and Cuba, which were largely built on the general model of Moscow's relations with the Third World, in which differences in the approaches of the Soviet leadership, who understood the danger of a cold war turning into a hot war, were always clearly visible.

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the use of nuclear weapons and the risk of destroying all life on earth, and in the approaches of representatives of the Third World, who are ready to risk everything just to achieve independence and a real opportunity to resist imperialism at all costs. In this regard, the episode with US missiles stationed in Turkey and dismantled under the USSR-US agreement also deserves attention. The Cuban leadership was outraged by the settlement of the Cuban missile crisis in 1962 without its participation, and the Turkish government "was offended by the actions of the White House, which negotiated behind its back" (p.410).

The monograph is written vividly, replete with interesting details and rare information, vivid details, sometimes of a semi-anecdotal nature. For example, when the Egyptian King Farouk asked the USSR for weapons, Stalin refused and "sent Fa-ruk's wife a sable cape" as a consolation (p. 525). And when in 1964 Nasser asked Khrushchev to make peace with Iraqi President Aref, Khrushchev flared up: "I will never sit next to him in the field..." (p.187).

Among the shortcomings of the work, we can note some inaccuracies in the spelling of French names (p.141 - 142), as well as two inconsistencies in the dates. Pierre Salinger could not address the Soviet leadership "on behalf of President Kennedy" in December 1963 (p. 426), since Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963. Moreover, reference is made to Semichastny's report to Khrushchev of October 2, 1963 (p. 431). Referring to Dobrynin's article from 1994 (p. 426), the author refers to the journal "International Life" from 1992 (p.431). Sadat could not have executed Marshal Amer after 1970 (p. 155), since Amer committed suicide in 1967 (see Primakov's monograph, p.129).

In general, the fundamental work of A. A. Fursenko deserves the highest evaluation both in terms of the level of execution and the uniqueness of the materials used. Thanks to him, many blank spots in our historiography were eliminated, some ambiguities and controversial theses were eliminated, and it was shown, with indisputable facts in hand, how everything really happened. In addition, A. A. Fursenko's monograph is very relevant: in the current difficult conditions of the international situation, it is very useful for all former participants of the "cold war" to remember how the world crises of the XX century arose and took on a dangerous character, how the world came within a hair's breadth of nuclear war due to the lack of information, bias or ideological blindness of humanity.


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