“The Russia Hand : A Memoir of Presidential Diplomacy” by Strobe Talbot published in the USA
“The Russia Hand : A Memoir of Presidential Diplomacy”, book by Strobe Talbot, an American journalist who was Bill Clinton’s right hand in Moscow over his presidency, was issued in the USA.
Talbot’s interest to Russia goes back to the 1960s, when Strobe Talbot graduated from the Russian faculty of the Yale University and started his post-graduate course in Oxford. He says, he was lucky there to translate memoirs by Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev into English. However, this luck turned a double-edged weapon for Talbot: an indirect knock of another Soviet leader, Leonid Brezhnev written in the memoirs infuriated the Soviet leadership. As a result, Strobe Talbot was prohibited entry in the USSR for many years.
Strobe Talbot has been working as an international observer with an influential magazine Time for 20 years. Besides, he shared a hostel room with Bill Clinton in Oxford. As a result of these friendly relations with Clinton, Strobe Talbot was appointed US special ambassador to Russia and “new independent states of the former Soviet Union.” Later, Talbot was promoted and appointed deputy secretary of the state, he remained on the post within the whole period of Clinton’s presidency.
“The Russia Hand” mentioned in the book is not Talbot himself, but Clinton. In the author’s words, success of the US policy toward Russia in the first ten years after the break-up of the USSR (and Talbot thinks the policy was a success) is explained by Clinton’s consistent support rendered to Boris Yeltsin as to Russia’s only guarantor of its economic and political freedoms.
Talbot thinks that this diplomacy oriented at friendship between the governmental officials of both countries, doubled by US Vice-president Albert Gore’s efforts who focused on Viktor Chernomyrdin mostly, resulted in numerous important agreements that changed opinion about Russia’s role in the post-Cold War epoch. Memoirs about Boris Yeltsin and Viktor Chernomyrdin are not main objective of the book that describes Russia-America relations under Bill Clinton. However, there are some spicy moments in the book. In Talbot’s words, Yeltsin was the main object to the US diplomacy oriented at friendship with the Russian leadership. It was an open secret that Boris Yeltsin liked drinking alcohol. Talbot’s memoirs disclose that he regularly held talks with American President Clinton being drunk. Strobe Talbot tells a story about Yeltsin’s strange conduct: Bill Clinton was explaining his position about NATO expansion to Yeltsin over the phone. Quite unexpectedly, Yeltsin hung up the receiver. Then-foreign minister Andrey Kozyrev could not explain what was the reason to it, he simply shrugged his shoulders and said: “It happens.” Talbot wrote: “I understood everything because I knew what Yeltsin could be, especially in the evening.” Yelena Kiseleva PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Maria Gousseva
Read the original in Russian: http://www.pravda.ru/culture/2002/07/26/44710.html