The National Security Archive in Washington has published the first intallment of the diaries of one of the key behind-the-scenes figures of the Gorbachev era, Anatoly Sergeevich Chernyaev. The diaries confirm that at least £1 million of Communist money was handed over to the the NUM during the 1984-5 strike. I remember when I was at univerity I took part in a debate on the Miner's Strike with Mark Seddon, who was at UEA at the same time as me. I accused Scargill of being in the pay of the Russians at the time and was shouted down. Nice to be proved right, albeit 21 years later! Chernyaev's diaries also demonstrate that Neil Kinnock slagged off Margaret Thatcher to the Soviets, thereby undermining the Thathcer Government's negotiating position with the Russians. The whole diary can be accessed HERE. Here are some interesting extracts...
January 26 1985
Shalaev (VCSPS [All-Union Central Labor Union Council]) insists on the resumption of the million-ruble transfer to English miners, even though Gorbachev told Thatcher: we have not and will not transfer. I made him go to the CC. I am in doubt myself, and that is how I composed the memo. Because our million is a drop in the bucket (less than the miner’s week’s spending), and [is given] in secret at that (so it does nothing for the internationalism); and if it comes to the surface, Maggie will drag the person, with whom she talked and whom she liked so much, through the mud. It is not worth it. We shall see how the CC Secretaries and M.S. [Gorbachev] himself will treat this.
March 14 1985
Sukhodrev (interpreter for the General Secretaries, starting with Nikita) told me about the meeting with Thatcher. She, being acquainted with Gorbachev from 1984 (London, Chequers), fawned, charmed, engaged [him], and he answered with the same. It seems that this is how she “does politics,” and with the help of M.S. she wants to surpass all kinds of Kohls and Mitterands in world affairs, and maybe even the Reagans. And she likes to play in the feminine way precisely with Gorbachev.
May 22 1985
Lagutin told me about how (Charles) Clarke, Kinnock’s assistant, evaluates Maggie Thatcher: no one will bring her down and she is not inclined to turn the power over. Her only possible downfall is that she might not be able to endure it herself. Firstly, she has eye problems, but wants to read everything herself. Secondly, and most importantly, is the psychological stress: morning to night she plays the role of a great political figure with everyone—her friends, enemies, comrades-in-arms, ministers, foreigners, mass media [sic], and with herself. This is, of course, terribly difficult. She is devilishly smart, and in fact is a great actress, but she is not on stage, where regular actresses sometimes manage to live long. Clever!
October 31 1985
October 31, Thursday, was spent at the Parliament. Klinnock received me there. He spoke with me as if I know no less than Shevardnadze. And in general—during the entire trip I felt like a “highly significant person.” They took me seriously, like a plenipotentiary, an all-knowing CC CPSU representative. With Klinnock we spoke about the forthcoming highest-level conference in Geneva, about Thatcher, whom he called “little fool,” about the Strategic Defense Initiative, about England’s attitude towards Gorbachev. He spoke without haughtiness, even though it would seem like who am I and who is he—“the leader of Her Highness’ opposition!”