Cuban Missile Crisis

US elites continue to believe that they can pursue aggression against Russia as long as they want, this short-sighted conviction is teeming with utterly dangerous consequences, Chairman of the Russian Historical Society and Foreign Intelligence Service Director Sergey Naryshkin said on Monday.

“Today, American elites continue to believe that they can wage aggression against our country for as long as they want, throwing the lives of thousands and thousands of Ukrainian citizens and mercenaries into the bonfire of hostilities.

Such short-sighted conviction is awash with utterly dangerous consequences,” he said at the opening of the historical-documentary exhibition ‘The Cuban Missile Crisis. 60 Years Later’ at the Central Armed Forces Museum, “The anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis and many of the documents on display at this remarkable exhibition also warn of this,” he pointed out.

Naryshkin noted that exactly 60 years ago, right during the days of October, the world was one step away from a full-scale nuclear conflict.

“I recall that by 1962 the US had deployed missiles with nuclear warheads on Turkish territory, which, of course, posed the threat of a potential conflict with our country.

In turn, the Soviet Union, seeking to reliably secure the friendly people of Cuba from the aggressive plans of the United States, placed its missiles on the island,” he said, “For Washington, it is one thing to surround Soviet territory with its military bases and quite another thing to suddenly discover Soviet missiles near the US coastline.

The reaction of American political elites, who had long convinced themselves of this [their] exceptionalism, was painful, nerve-racking and harsh.

It was only under pressure from the compelling circumstances that the White House was forced to admit that there could only be one peaceful way of resolving the crisis, and that was the urgent and mutual recognition of red lines.”

Naryshkin highlighted the enormous role played by Soviet envoy to the US Anatoly Dobrynin and Soviet Foreign Intelligence resident in Washington Alexander Feklisov in defending the position of the USSR and seeking compromise.

“We must admit that there were rational people among the Kennedy administration, too, capable of sizing up the consequences of their actions and taking responsibility for their own words,” the foreign intelligence service director added, “A compromise was reached: Washington and Moscow removed their missiles from Turkey and Cuba, respectively. The world breathed a deep sigh of relief.”

Historical parallels

The chairman of the Russian Historical Society stressed that today many experts and political scientists are trying to compare the current situation in the world with the disturbing events of 60 years ago.

“However, if we draw this parallel to the end honestly, we will not find a political figure equal to President Kennedy among [today’s] leaders, among the politicians of Western countries nowadays,” he said, “And look: in December of last year and January of this year, neither the US leadership nor NATO’s leaders in response to the quite natural proposals of the Russian side were able to actually reaffirm their commitment to the fundamental principle of international law: equal and indivisible security.”

Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin

About the exhibition

The exhibition goes into detail about the political standoff between the Soviet Union and the United States, which reached its zenith in October 1962.

The exhibition features 104 documents from the collections of the Russian State Archive of Contemporary History, the Russian State Film and Photo Archive, as well as other federal and departmental archives.

For the first time ever, unique archival sources, shedding light on the events of the Cuban Missile Crisis in a broader historical context, are being presented to the general public.

They include materials about the establishment and development of relations between Moscow and Havana, documents reflecting the development and implementation of Operation Anadyr, correspondence between Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev and US President John Kennedy, code cables and instructions to Soviet envoy to the US Anatoly Dobrynin and Soviet representative to the UN Valerian Zorin, which make it possible to reconstruct the events of October 1962 literally minute by minute.

  • TASS