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Anatoly Dobrynin, former Soviet ambassador to U.S., dies
In the 1950s, he was assigned to the Soviet embassy in Washington and to the United Nations in New York and easily adapted to American ways. He and his wife, Irina Nikolaevna, traveled around the United States by bus and car. His wife of 68 years survives, along with a daughter and granddaughter, whom the Dobrynins adopted and raised in Northern Virginia. Mr. Dobrynin sometimes rode his bicycle to McDonald's with his granddaughter.
Mr. Dorbrynin occasionally played chess with President Jimmy Carter's national security adviser, Zbigniew Brzezinski, who once called the Soviet ambassador "the most delightful foreign adversary of my four years, a charming host and a skillfully evasive negotiator."
Indeed, his gregarious manner and westernized ways led some to think Mr. Dobrynin might have been a crypto-liberal or even an American supporter. But Malcolm Toon, U.S. ambassador to the Soviet Union during the Carter administration, said in 1986, "At no time was he a friend of ours. He's a Soviet ideologue."
After leaving Washington, Mr. Dobrynin returned to Moscow as Gorbachev's top international adviser and wrote a memoir, "In Confidence: Moscow's Ambassador to America's Six Cold War Presidents," that was considered remarkably candid, particularly for a Soviet diplomat.
In his book, he said Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev sympathized with Nixon during Watergate and was determined to be the tormented president's "last friend." At a 1973 summit meeting at Nixon's home in San Clemente, Calif., Brezhnev had too much to drink and started dishing dirt about his Kremlin predecessors and rivals.
The next morning, Brezhnev asked, "Anatoly, did I talk too much?"
"Yes," Mr. Dobrynin diplomatically replied, "but I was careful not to translate everything."