Gregory Lukshin (SPC bureaucrat), 1992

Grigory Lukshin interview Moscow, May 1992
Interviewer — Metta Spencer

LUKSHIN: Well, of course, everybody who is involved in the peace movement from time to time has such an idea about the results — the efficiency or effectiveness of such activities. And many of our friends and colleagues in the peace movement unfortunately came to the conclusion that these efforts were in vain. It is difficult to measure the results. And now, especially after the Cold War, this period of new detente, new relationship between East and West, anybody could easily find in the press, in TV, some kind of idea that peace movement collapsed. I have a lot of personal convictions. First, in order to measure the results of the peace movement, we must have some criteria. Such criteria, in my opinion, is the comparison between the objectives proclaimed by the peace movement, let’s say, 4 years ago or 15 years ago, and the situation of people who are now living. And we can see whether we are near those objectives or far from those objectives. It is difficult to say. If we judge actual development of international relations, the picture is very confused, very contradictory. There is a lot of positive achievements in the central line of relations of Soviet-American, East-West in Europe in this direction. At the same time, we have a lot of tensions and regional conflicts and the general quantity of violence remains about the same. Our situation in the former Soviet Union also remains a little paradoxical.

MS: “Our” meaning your organization or —?

LUKSHIN: I mean the situation in the former Soviet Union in general, not any particular organization. We have much more favorable conditions in our external relations than we had before with all European states. But inside the country — conflicts, nationalism, contradictions. All over the former Soviet Union. But if we come to some fundamental aims of the peace movement, which was of course from the beginning of the forties, during the —

MS You mentioned the Dartmouth Group, and I should perhaps interview somebody else here who was involved in it.

LUKSHIN: This is Harold Saunders, of the Kettering Foundation, director of interanational affairs. He was one of the founders of the Dartmouth Group. He is in Moscow in Penta Hotel. There was a recent meeting for 2-3 days of the task force on international conflict.

MS: I think Mr. Sherry said that Mr. Bialer was on that task force.

LUKSHIN: Hes, he was on it many times. It was a very nice group — very important, very competent, and they influenced a lot. In my opinion, it was a channel of very good ideas — directly proposed as alternatives to the decision-makers of this country. It’s not only our channel; a lot of channels were created, contacts, different possibilities proposed by the peace movement. Let’s say Soviet, Russian communist party always was seeking contacts with the social democrats in Western Europe.

MS: Like Egon Bahr, Karsten Voight?

LUKSHIN: Exactly, but it wasn’t easy to establish direct contacts, party to party. From a political point of view it was very difficult for social democrats to establish open cooperation during that period. Now we have here in Moscow foundations of many different social democratic parties. But in this time, the most important possibility for such exchanges was the peace movement. And there was also Bergerdorf’s Club, so-called — it was also a circle, a structure, a club, for nonstop dialogue in meetings. Egon Bahr was there, Schmidt was there after his dismissal from office. [I think he means Bilderberg Conference. That is the name Bahr used in our conversation.]

MS: Who in Moscow participated a lot on those discussions?

LUKSHIN: Well, I can mention a lot of names. Zagladin, from the top level. Falin (he was ambassador), Arbatov, Yakovlev, Primakov. It was academicians. It was political elite.


MS. Was there a file or something where I could get copies made and have them translated?

LUKSHIN: (Laughs). Too much. From time to time I collected things but I threw them away because it was impossible. But we have an archive.

MS: you do?

Lukhsin: Yes, I hope. But I’m not sure that all the documents and resolutions of all these conferences are kept in this achive. But from time to time we try to make chronicles for publication.

MS: Was any kind of list kept of the kinds of meetings that took place in the eighties. An itinerary.

LUKSHIN: No, first of all we were not alone. There were many other organizations. and it would take a lot of time to go through all those and restore the chronicles of all those meetings. But I don’t think it is interesting.

MS: I was just trying to find some way of showing the proposals that arose from those meetings and then try to determine that they were accepted here or in Washington.

LUKSHIN: Well, this last year. Here are some, but … This is one of the recent things that we are doing.

MS: I guess I should stop.

LUKSHIN: (after someone came in) These people are trying to go from Moscow to Barcelona by bicycle.

MS: Well, he looks good, so I guess it’s good for him.

The Russian Quest for Peace and Democracy, by Metta Spencer, published by Lexington Books