Bush, George Herbert Walker

(1924– )
   American politician. As the 41st president of the United States (1989–1993), George H. W. Bush oversaw dramatic changes in relations between Washington and Moscow. Having previously served as vice president (1981–1989) under Ronald Reagan, director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and U.S. ambassador to the United Nations (UN), Bush was well versed in foreign policy and had a deep understanding of Soviet affairs.
   During the first six months of the Bush presidency, it became clear that the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) had loosened its hold on the Eastern Bloc, a fact underscored by the destruction of the Berlin Wall in October. Shortly thereafter, Bush met with Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev in Malta to discuss the future of AmericanSoviet foreign relations; the summit soon came to symbolize the beginning of the end of the Cold War. A careful diplomat, Bush later won support from Gorbachev for the U.S.-led Persian Gulf War (1990–1991) even while his administration openly condemned Moscow’s actions against pro-independence forces in the Baltic States. In 1991, the two met again in Moscow where they signed the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START II), significantly reducing both countries’ stockpile of nuclear weapons. During the August Coup, Bush provided public support to Boris Yeltsin against the Communist hard-liners, thus laying the groundwork for a positive relationship with the newly independent Russian Federation. Though the two signed a number of agreements solidifying the radically altered relationship, Bush did little to assist the new regime in efforts to democratize and institute free-market reforms during the campaign year of 1992. Bush, preoccupied and weakened by domestic issues, was defeated by Bill Clinton that November. Both he and Clinton attended Yeltsin’s funeral in Moscow in 2007.

Historical Dictionary of the Russian Federation. . 2010.

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