When Boris Pankin was suddenly summoned to Moscow in late August 1991, he did not know what to expect. As one of the only Soviet diplomats to denounce unequivocally the just-collapsed putsch he did not expect a demotion. But neither did he expect the offer Gorbachev made to him: to become the new Foreign Minister of the USSR, inheriting the mantle of Vishinsky, Molotov, and Gromyko. Pankin was Foreign Minister in the last days of the Soviet Union. While his empire was crumbling around him, Pankin's job was to project an illusion of power and influence. This memoir provides new information and fresh insights into the Soviet political and diplomatic activities in this crucial last three months of Soviet life; the Madrid Middle East Peace Conference, which Pankin co-chaired; the US-Soviet disarmament process; the evaporation of East Germany and the redefinition of relations with Eastern Europe; the reassessment of Moscow's attitudes towards the USA, Western Europe, the Arab world, Japan, Africa and Cuba. Pankin presided over Soviet foreign policy during the strangest period of his country's history. In the process, he came to know well all of the world's most important leaders.
1. The departing Foreign Minister; 2. After the putsch; 3. First impressions; 4. Taking bearings; 5. The human rights conference; 6. James Baker and his five principles; 7. Inside the foreign ministry; 8. Sentimental journeys; 9. The UN general assembly; 10. Towards a Middle Eastern settlement; 11. Madrid: the Arab-Israeli dialogue begins; 12. Gorbachev: last summit in Madrid; 13. Last days of the Soviet Union.