But Burbulis, who served in Yeltsin’s government, said Western sanctions and a harsh line against Moscow are ineffective. He called for a softer, more nuanced dialogue with the Kremlin.

“There is no other way than consensus, but consensus implies a different understanding of politics, a different culture of relations, not guided by the principle, ‘I am stronger and you are poorer.’”

Two and half decades later, the signatories of the treaty remembered the events differently and traded lively and often emotional remarks. Who takes credit for preparing the treaty? Who invited whom? Which leader got the first call warning that the treaty was about to be signed: Gorbachev or U.S. President George H. W. Bush? But the most heated exchange was over a different matter: Which of the signatories went hunting during the retreat?