A Brief History
On October 27, 1988, President Ronald Reagan made one of his most shocking Cold War related announcements while President when he decided to have the newly completed US Embassy in Moscow mostly destroyed and started over again!
The US and Soviet Union were nearing the end of the Cold War that had gone on since the end of World War II, and each country had a hard line leader that was unlikely to back down. President Reagan in the US was a staunch anti-communist and cold-warrior, and the USSR was led by Mikhail Gorbachev, a Ukrainian-Russian that talked about opening up relations with the US, but allowing the new embassy to be built with hundreds of covert electronic monitoring device built into the structure which was discovered by the Americans in 1985.
The outraged Americans had to continue to use the old embassy for security reasons, and the Soviets were not allowed to occupy their new Washington embassy in retaliation. Eventually, much of the new American embassy was taken down in 1994 and entirely new structures were made under US supervision to prevent a repeat of the sneaky bugging of the new building. The new embassy was not fully open and occupied until the year 2000, a building that had started construction in 1979.
The Cold War lasted from 1947 until the Soviet Union dissolved in 1991, with the US leading the democratic, capitalist countries of the West against the Communist Bloc led by the USSR. President Ronald Reagan is often given credit for forcing an end to the Cold War, mainly by forcing the Soviets into an arms race that they could not match with the much richer United States. Of course, skeptics claim otherwise, that the increased military spending prolonged the Cold War.
After a short period of relative relief, Russia ended up with Vladimir Putin, ex-KGB (Soviet spy agency) head as the virtual dictator and relations between the Russia and the Western Allies (led by the US) are once again quite strained. And the circle goes round and round!
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For more information, please see…
Kessler, Ronald. Moscow Station. Scribner, 1989.