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Boris Pankin

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Boris Pankin

Boris Pankin
Борис Панкин
Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Soviet Union
In office
28 August – 14 November 1991
Premier Ivan Silayev
Preceded by Alexander Bessmertnykh
Succeeded by Eduard Shevardnadze
Personal details
Born (1931-02-20)20 February 1931
Bishkek, Kirgiz SSR, Soviet Union
Nationality Soviet and Russian
Political party Communist Party of the Soviet Union
Alma mater Moscow State University
Profession Journalism

Boris Dimitrievich Pankin (Russian: Борис Дмитриевич Панкин) (born 20 February 1931 in Frunze) was Minister of Foreign Affairs of the USSR for a brief period in 1991.

Earlier career

A reformer and journalist, Pankin was Soviet Ambassador to Sweden for eight years from 1982 to 1990. He was brought in to clean up after the Soviet Union's reputation was seriously tarnished in the aftermath of a diplomatic scandal in which a Soviet Whiskey class submarine became marooned in Swedish territorial waters outside of Karlskrona. The incident became widely known as "Whiskey on the Rocks." Pankin became, and remains, very popular in Sweden, and was the Soviet Union's longest-serving Swedish envoy (although Alexandra Kollontai was Soviet Union's leading diplomat in Stockholm 1930-45, and with the rank of ambassador from 1943).

Pankin was the last Soviet Ambassador to Czechoslovakia (1990–1991). Pankin is credited with preventing the Communist-Czechoslovak government from interfering in the Velvet Revolution - which led to playwright and dissident Václav Havel's rise to the presidency. Pankin is best known for being the highest-ranking diplomat to stand against the August putsch which sought to bring down Mikhail Gorbachev, the last Soviet leader and promulgator of Glasnost and Perestroika. Pankin was later recalled to Moscow to become Gorbachev's Foreign Minister.

Soviet Foreign Minister

Pankin had only 100 days to serve as Foreign Minister before the Soviet Union's collapse in 1991. In that short period, he established diplomatic relations with the State of Israel, began the Soviet-US disarmament process, brought the Soviet Union closer to the European Union and purged the KGB from the ranks of the Soviet Foreign Ministry.

Later career

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Pankin was named Russian Ambassador to the Court of St. James (UK), where he served until 1994. He resigned in protest over Russia's invasion of Chechnya.

Pankin now lives in Västerort in Stockholm, Sweden, and works as a lecturer and writer. In January 2005 he was given the "Stockholm Citizen of the Month Award" by the local government, recognizing his dedication and loyalty to his adopted home - the city of Stockholm. Boris Pankin sits on the Board of Advisors of the Global Panel Foundation.


  • Pankin, Boris. The Last Hundred Days of the Soviet Union (ISBN 1850438781)

External links

  • The Global Panel Foundation
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