Charles de Gaulle’s Visit to the Soviet Union and Moscow’s International Policy Strategy between 1966 and 1969

Mikhail Lipkin


The article is based on recent archival findings that throw a new light on the preparations for and results of President Charles de Gaulle’s state visit to the USSR in 1966. The results are analysed as part of the expansion of Soviet bi- and multilateral relations which developed in the context of European cooperation in the late 1960s. Special emphasis is given to the unprecedented media support for Franco-Soviet contacts. Focus is placed on the preparation and organisation of the visit, with reference to new archival materials from the Russian State Archive of Contemporary History. The author also illustrates the Soviet authorities’ realistic and flexible approach to foreign affairs. It is also noted that, regardless of the social structure of European states, issues of economic and technical collaboration were the objects of a great deal of attention. This state visit is compared with the visits of other leaders, such as Richard Nixon, Harold Macmillan, and Konrad Adenauer, to the Soviet Union. The article demonstrates that Soviet diplomats and highly-ranked officials had a very special attitude towards de Gaulle even during his resignation in 1969. The ‘special relations’ between Moscow and Paris after de Gaulle’s visit could be considered as one of the best examples of peaceful convergence between the West and the East in the 1960s.


Franco-Soviet relations; USSR; France; Charles de Gaulle; L. I. Brezhnev; Détente; security; state visit; media space; scientific and technical connections; mass media.


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