English Interpreter for Mikhail Gorbachev
The principal English interpreter for Mikhail Gorbachev and Soviet foreign minister Eduard Shevardnadze, Pavel Palazchenko participated in all US-Soviet ministerial and summit meetings and talks leading to the end of the Cold War. Read More >
Based on personal knowledge of and involvement in the process of ending the Cold War, Palazhchenko describes the interaction of US and Soviet leaders as they moved from confrontation to trust and cooperation. He analyzes the current state of US-Russian relations and tries to identify what went wrong and why, and what could be done to mend the relationship that remains crucial to a better world order.
The two leaders could not be more different in their background and ideology. They had a rocky start as the Cold War was reaching its peak. Nevertheless, by working patiently together they were able to overcome the legacy of decades of mistrust and become partners in ending the Cold War and starting the process of reducing the huge stockpiles of nuclear weapons. What are the lessons to be learned from that unique relationship? Can Russia and the United States benefit today from the experience gained during those years of unprecedented transition? The talk, which includes a slide show of US-Soviet summits, all of which Palazhchenko attended, aims at clarifying those questions.
Russia and the United States have not been able to build on the remarkable achievement of working together to end the Cold War. The potential of their relationship to benefit both nations as well as world peace has not been realized. What happened? Should one side be blamed for the multiple problems that have recently grown worse? Is there still a chance to avoid a new Cold War? Those are challenging questions that need to be addressed urgently. Though Palazhchenko does not have all the answers, his perspective as someone who was closely involved in changing the nature of US-Soviet relations in the 1980s could help in a search for solutions.