Anatoly Dobrynin

  • Anatoly Dobrynin, who died April 6 at 90, was not your average diplomat. As the current U.N. Security Council so plainly put it in a statement, "He played a major role in saving the world from a nuclear disaster." Dobrynin, who worked with six American Presidents as the Soviet ambassador to the U.S., took on that position in 1962. Almost immediately, he was involved in negotiations with the Kennedy brothers to defuse the Cuban missile crisis. Originally an engineer, Dobrynin was ambassador for 24 Cold War years; altogether his storied diplomatic career lasted more than 40 years. While serving as an ambassador for Soviet leaders from Khrushchev to Gorbachev, Dobrynin was widely admired in Washington for his charm and political skill. After returning to Moscow, he advised Gorbachev and later wrote a well-received memoir. In a historical coincidence, he died the same week as a new arms treaty between Russia and the U.S. was signed.