In fact, the Soviet press may have been more accurate in describing the thoughts of Soviet officials than we ever imagined. I remember attending a long press conference – a speech, really – by Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko, who spoke for 45 minutes, almost without notes, about Soviet arms control policy.
My first thought was, "He talks just like Pravda." In fact, however, it was Pravda that talked just like Gromyko. Central Committee documents that were declassified in the 1990s show that top Soviet officials, even in secret communications to each other, used the same stilted, bureaucratic language that we saw in the Soviet press. It may well be that the Soviet news media, which we felt were concealing the real nature of the Soviet leadership, was in fact channeling it with extraordinary authenticity.