Pavel Palazhchenko

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Pavel Palazhchenko
Pavel Palazhchenko.jpg
Pavel Palazhchenko in 2011
Born (1949-03-17) 17 March 1949 (age 68)
Monino, Soviet Union Soviet Union
Occupation Interpreter United Nations

Pavel Palazhchenko or Palazchenko[1] (Russian: Па́вел Русла́нович Пала́жченко, born 17 March 1949) is a high-level Soviet conference interpreter who was the chief English interpreter for Mikhail Gorbachev and Soviet foreign minister Eduard Shevardnadze from 1985 and 1991.[2]



Palazhchenko was born on 17 March 1949 in Monino, Moscow Oblast, Russia. He graduated from the Maurice Thorez Moscow Institute of Foreign Languages (Moscow State Linguistic University) in 1972.[3]


Reagan, Palazhchenko and Gorbachev at Hofdi House, Reykjavík, Iceland, 1986

As one of the leading interpreters of his time, Palazhchenko participated in all US-Soviet summit talks leading to the end of the Cold War. He is the author of a personal and political memoir, My Years with Gorbachev and Shevardnadze: The Memoir of a Soviet Interpreter.[2]


Palazhchenko also wrote the Moi Nesistematichesky Slovar or My Unsystematic Dictionary which was published in Russia by R. Valent publications in May 2002. The 300-page Russian-English dictionary provides information, insight and cultural observation on the linguistic twists and turns that lie between the English and Russian languages; and was a sequel to Palazhchenko’s other work: the English-Russian dictionary published in 1999. The 1999 English-Russian dictionary dealt with trends in the political, diplomatic and journalistic usage in the English language.[4][5]

Palazhchenko loves his trade. In his book, My Unsystematic Dictionary, Palazhchenko writes: This very occupation, to imbibe the air of a foreign (and your own) language, to rake through the throng of words and, having found the right one, feel its texture, its size and then grope for the threads connecting the two languages, has always been my favorite thing to do… – from “Book Tackles Those Hard Words”, The Moscow Times, June 3, 2002.[4]

In 2005, the third book of this series, Unsystematic Dictionary-2005 was published.[6]


After becoming a long-time associate and aide to Mikhail Gorbachev for several years, Palazhchenko eventually became the head of the International Department of the International Non-governmental Foundation for Socio-Economic and Political Studies (or The Gorbachev Foundation), where he also functioned as an analyst, spokesperson, interpreter and translator.[7][8][9][10][11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ This variant spelling appears in a number of sources including the cover of the book My Years with Gorbachev and Shevardnadze.
  2. ^ a b Palazhchenko, Pavel (1997) My Years with Gorbachev and Shevardnadze: The Memoir of a Soviet Interpreter, Penn State University Press, 1997, ISBN 0-271-01603-5
  3. ^ Palazhchenko's bio at at the Wayback Machine (archived 26 December 2010)
  4. ^ a b Zolotov, Andrei Jr. (3 June 2002) "Book Tackles Those Hard Words" at the Wayback Machine (archived 18 January 2006), The Moscow Times
  5. ^ Legvold, Robert (July/ August 1997) A Review: My Years with Gorbachev and Shevardnadze: The Memoir of a Soviet Interpreter. Pavel Palazchenko. University Park: Penn State Press, Foreign Affairs
  6. ^ Презентация новой книги П. Палажченко "Несистематический словарь-2005" at the Wayback Machine (archived 26 December 2010). News article about the press conference for the book Unsystematic Dictionary-2005. 17 November 2005.
  7. ^ Borisov, Sergei. Speaking The Queen’s English: History and Symbolism, Oil the Fast-turning Wheels of Russian and British Commerce. (translated title), and S. Borisov, Transitions Online, 7 January 2003.
  8. ^ International Conference “From Fulton to Malta: How the Cold War Began and Ended” at the Gorbachev Foundation at the Wayback Machine (archived 27 September 2007), 3 February 2006
  9. ^ Reports in the Mass Media at the Wayback Machine (archived 27 September 2007). 7 June 2004
  10. ^ News Archives: 24.05.2005 "George Bush Sr. To Pay Private Visit To Russia" at the Wayback Machine (archived 30 September 2007). 24 May 2005.
  11. ^ News articles from and events at the Gorbachev Foundation's official website mentioning Dr. Pavel Palazhchenko working as spokesperson, interpreter, aide and translator for the Gorbachev Foundation and Mikhail Gorbachev, The Gorbachev Foundation at the Wayback Machine (archived 30 September 2007), retrieved on 31 May 2007.

Further reading[edit]

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