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With Anastas Mikoyan, Fidel Castro, Che Guevara, Nikita Khrushchev, John F. Kennedy

Thanks to recently declassified documents, A History of an Assignment uncovers an unknown episode of the Cuban Missile Crisis. The threat of nuclear conflict was not eliminated by the Khrushchev-Kennedy negotiations. Indeed, Fidel Castro, who was not invited to take part in the talks, learned about them from the press and was greatly hurt to see Cuba become a bargaining chip between the USSR and the USA and his own role reduced to that of an extra. Castro vigorously stepped in and made his move. In a secret message to Khrushchev, Castro declared that he would not allow the removal of Soviet missiles, much less an American inspection, a necessary prerequisite of the Soviet-American agreement; that Cuba, left alone with its enemy, would defend itself and would launch a preventive nuclear strike if necessary.

Khrushchev had no leverage over the obstinate comandante but could not admit it when talking to Kennedy. The only thing he could do was to send a trusted emissary, Anastas Mikoyan. He was accompanied in his mission by Roman Karmen, the legendary cameraman who filmed the Spanish Civil War, World War II, and the Nuremberg Trials. Mikoyan talked to Castro and to Che Guevara, listened to their appeals “to die beautifully” and to destroy the enemy with a single blow, and tried to convince Cuba to reach a compromise for peace.

About the Director
Vladimir Nepevny graduated from the University of Odessa in mechanical engineering and mathematics in 1989, and from the St. Petersburg Theatre Academy in 1997. he has been shooting documentary films since 2001. He is known to be the author of many unique films-portraits about outstanding writers, artists, and musicians, like Kira Muratova, Victor Chklovsky and Roman Jacobson, Anna Akhmatova, Arthur Lourie, Victor Sosnora, Gayvoronsky, and Koulakov.