American Cold War Adviser Asks 'Gentleman' Vladimir Putin for Russian Citizenship

An American historian who advised the former President Ronald Reagan about the Soviet Union in the final years of the Cold War, has appealed to Vladimir Putin to grant her Russian citizenship.

Suzanne Massie, 90, is a Russia expert who schooled the late Republican president about the country and its people during his dealings with the last Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev.

The New York-born author of the book, Land of the Firebird: The Beauty of Old Russia, met with Reagan many times in the 1980s.

She taught Reagan the proverb "doveryai, no proveryai", meaning "trust but verify" which, although it does not rhyme in English, was a catchphrase still snappy enough for the soundbite-friendly U.S. president to frequently use in referring to nuclear disarmament discussions.

Former Reagan adviser historian Suzanne Massie reportedly seeking Russian passport from @KremlinRussia_E https://t.co/9n4y5THrpg

— Andrey Davydov (@FarEasterner) May 16, 2021

Former Reagan Suzanne Massie advisor asked Putin for Russian citizenshiphttps://t.co/kCztGHbC5F pic.twitter.com/TPJOSPEXHD

— BSA (@BSA32747289) May 16, 2021

In 1987, Reagan and Gorbachev signed the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, which expired in 2019. Her memoir, Trust But Verify: Reagan, Russia and me, outlines the key role in helping the former president reach a peaceful end to the Cold War.

Massie was the focus of a documentary on Kremlin-friendly TV channel NTV this week, titled "Grandmother with a secret" which it bills as a "world exclusive."

She is filmed in a number of locations, including taking a seat to view the annual Victory Day celebrations in Moscow's Red Square on May 9 to mark the Soviet Union's role in defeating Nazi Germany.

In interviews in Russian, she criticized the current U.S. administration, American media outlets and praised Putin. She described how she thought U.S. media were unfair in their portrayal of Russia, saying, "They hate Russia," and that western media outlets, "speak against you all the time."

Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev
Ex-U.S. President Ronald Reagan (right) and ex-Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev signing an arms control agreement 1987. Reagan's former adviser says she wants to become a Russian citizen.

"The American people know nothing about Putin. They (only) know what they read in the newspapers," she said.

Her comments come as relations between Moscow and Washington, DC continue to spiral downwards, amid tit-for-tat sanctions, accusations of Russian election interference, and the arrest and jailing of opposition politician, Alexei Navalny.

The NTV film also refers to tensions between Russian and Ukraine.

She said she had met Putin in the 1990s, and said that "when he speaks about America, he is like a gentleman," using the English word, "perhaps because he is from St Petersburg."

At various times, she describes Washington as a "swamp" and Biden as a "puppet," and makes a direct appeal to the Russian president.

"Dear Vladimir Vladimirovich," using the president's formal patronymic title, "I would be very happy if I could become a citizen of Russia," she said, "It is a great honor to be Russian."

Separately, she said, "I know what they will say, 'that I am a traitor, I am a person who is against America'. They will say: 'traitor'. This is a person who works for the enemy."

When asked by reporters about the status of her citizenship request, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Monday, "We are not familiar with the request, we have not had a chance to watch this TV program.

"You need to submit an application, and so on. After these procedures are completed, then the issue would be considered," he added, Tass reported.

Newsweek has contacted Massie for comment through her website.

There have been a number of prominent American citizens who have taken up Russian citizenship in recent years. Among them is the action movie star Steven Seagal, former professional boxer, Roy Jones Jr, and former mixed martial arts star Jeff Monson.