Friday 12th of August 2022

the game of empire...


Problems and conflicts of the last two decades that could well be solved through peaceful political and diplomatic ways… were dealt with through the use of military force. That was the case in former Yugoslavia, in Iraq, in Libya, and Syria,” Gorbachev said in an address to the participants of a conference in Moscow on Friday. The event was dedicated to the 30th anniversary of the Reykjavik meeting between the former Soviet president and his US counterpart, Ronald Reagan, in 1986.  

Gorbachev warned that invasions have brought no real solutions to problems, and only resulted in eroding international law and establishing a “cult of force.”

The former Soviet leader expressed deep concern about the growing militarization of politics, calling it “a departure from the… principles that allowed us to end the Cold War.”

“There has been a collapse of trust in relations between the world’s leading powers that, according to the UN Charter, bear primary responsibility for maintaining international peace and security,” he said. The speech has been published on the official website of the Gorbachev Foundation.

crimea is russian...

For the public support of Crimea’s annexation, Mikhail Gorbachev has been banned from entering Ukraine for five years,” said a statement on the official Twitter feed of Ukraine’s security agency SBU, ending several days of public debate about the move.

When questioned about the decision, 85-year-old Gorbachev refused to make a statement, saying: “It’s up to the journalists to comment” on what has happened. Earlier this week, Gorbachev said he “doesn’t visit Ukraine, and has no plans to do so,” and insisted he “will not be dragged down into political squabbles.”

“I’m always with the free will of the people and most in Crimea wanted to be reunited with Russia,” Gorbachev told the Sunday Times over the weekend, in reference to the events of April 2014, when its population had a referendum and voted to join Russia.

While Gorbachev was generally critical of Vladimir Putin during the lengthy interview, he said he would have also accepted Crimea into Russia if he had been in the Kremlin at the time.

germans for crimea after reunification...

Ever since Crimea once again became a part of Russia, the peninsula began attracting conservative Russian Germans who apparently became disaffected with Berlin's policies.

It’s small wonder that Crimea, with its warm climate and sea, is a popular destination for Russians. But it turns out that ever since Vladimir Putin made it clear that the peninsula will forever remain a part of Russia, it also started attracting Russian Germans – ethnic Germans who were born in Russia

And while some of them simply want to make their own impression of the new Crimea, others actually entertain the idea of settling there, German TV broadcaster ZDF reports.
Since Crimea’s reunification with Russia, about 1,500 Russian Germans contacted Yuri Gempel, chairman of the Crimean German National and Cultural Autonomy, and asked him to help them relocate there, claiming that they fell a greater connection to the Russian Empire than to modern day Germany.It should be noted that a considerable number of Germans used to live in Crimea since the times of Tsarist Russia, but all of them ended up deported from there during World War II.

"Some of them are displeased with the current refugee problem. And many are unwilling to put up with the dismantling of the Christian and family values," Gempel explained.

One of the would-be settlers, a Russian German named Willi Sdor, said that it is hard to find a decent-paying job in Germany when you have an accent which makes him feel himself as a "second-rate citizen" there.

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encircling china...

Unlike the North Atlantic region, the Asia Pacific “has never been managed by a region-wide, formal structure comparable to NATO in Europe,” Carter said. Instead, with the help of the US, regional powers have formed a security network built on bilateral, trilateral and multilateral agreements. Carter praised the security arrangement and the role played by America in forging it.

“The value of American engagement in the Asia-Pacific is irrefutable. And it is proven over decades,” he said, exemplifying deployments of advanced weapons like F-22 and F-35 stealth fighter jets, B-2 and B-52 bombers, strike submarines and surface warfare ships.

“The United States will remain, for decades, the primary provider of regional security and a leading contributor to the region’s principled security network.”

China’s inclusion would make it stronger, and the US would like to see that happen, the official said. But Beijing’s actions are going against the principles of this network, including the freedom of navigation and overflight, he said.


It would be favourable for the Chinese to join and throw the Americans out...

heavy boost for syrian forces...


'Iranian Hulk' signs up to fight in Syria

1 July 2016 Last updated at 01:51 BST

An Iranian power-lifter, nicknamed after a Marvel superhero, has become an international social media star with more than 100,000 followers on Instagram. Sajad Gharibi has also volunteered to join Iranian forces fighting alongside the Assad regime in Syria.



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gorbachev: the cold war is being reheated by the USA...


  • Former Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev has accused Nato of preparing for "offensive operations" against Russia.

As the Western alliance held a summit in Warsaw, Poland, Mr Gorbachev criticised Nato’s decision to deploy 4,000 more international troops in Eastern Europe.

Tensions have been mounting between Russia and Nato member states, in particular the US, as diplomatic spats and military excercises have increased in frequency.

Mr Gorbachev, the eighth and last leader of the Soviet Union, said: “Nato has begun preparations for escalating from the Cold War into a hot one.

“All the rhetoric in Warsaw just yells of a desire almost to declare war on Russia. They only talk about defence, but actually they are preparing for offensive operations.”


However, Nato’s Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said the organisation’s decision to triple its military presence in Eastern Europe was a purely defensive move.

“Nato poses no threat to any country. We do not want a new Cold War. We do not want a new arms race. And we do not seek confrontation," he said.

The move comes after concerns among Western countries regarding the intentions of President Vladimir Putin after Russia's annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.

Prior to the Nato summit, Russia assembled troops, trucks and equipment at its Baltic bases, highlighting its military readiness.

In a speech after Nato leaders agreed to increase troop numbers in eastern Europe, Mr Stoltenberg said: “What we have seen is a Russia which has invested heavily in modern defence capabilities over many years, which has modernised its forces, its equipment, and has used military force against a sovereign nation in Europe, violating Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, and that's the reason why we have increased our presence in the eastern part of the alliance.

“Russia is neither a strategic partner – we are not in the strategic partnership with Russia which we tried to develop – but we are neither in a Cold War situation.

“We are in a new situation which is different to anything else we have experienced before.”

As part of the reinforcement, Britain will send a 500-strong battalion to Estonia and a further 50 troops to be stationed in Poland.

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the world is tired of tension...


A day before the Russian and US presidents are due to meet, former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev has called on Moscow and Washington to make up for lost time and restore trust in order to de-escalate global tensions.

"First of all, it's good that this meeting will finally take place, but it's a pity that this is happening only now,” Gorbachev told RIA Novosti on the eve of the first meeting between Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump.

“Much time is lost. We have to restore trust.”

"At one time, people in President [Ronald] Reagan’s own administration would literally not let him go to [our] meeting in Geneva. But he did not succumb to pressure, and we, for our part, came forward with serious constructive proposals."

“We now need an impulse from the leaders, as happened in Reykjavik in 1986. We must put everything on the negotiating table and establish a mechanism for interaction, not on any single points, even important ones, but on all issues,” Gorbachev emphasized.

At the 1986 Reykjavik Summit, Gorbachev and then-US President Reagan came close to a sweeping agreement that would have radically reduced the number of nuclear weapons possessed by both super powers. Nevertheless, the progress attained at that meeting eventually resulted in the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty between the United States and the USSR.

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no-one wants war? tell this to the US neocons....

Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev has urged Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump to stage direct negotiations, warning that an incidental clash between American and Russian forces could lead to open warfare.

'Return to sanity': Gorbachev calls for US-Russia summit amid fears of nuclear treaty collapse

“I am very alarmed,” Gorbachev, who led the Soviet Union between 1985 and 1991, told Interfax news agency. “The situation hasn’t been this bad in a long time, and I am very disappointed in how world leaders are behaving themselves. We see evidence of an inability to use diplomatic mechanisms. International politics has turned into exchanges of accusations, sanctions, and even military strikes.”

Gorbachev, whose Nobel Peace Prize in 1990 was partly awarded for his ground-breaking summits with Presidents Ronald Reagan and George Bush that helped end the Cold War, urged the current leaders in the Kremlin and the White House to follow his example.

“Because Russia and the US are at the sharp end of the current crisis, their leaders must meet. They need to meet half-way, for a day or two of serious negotiations with involvement from foreign and defense ministers,” Gorbachev said.

In the current absence of diplomatic progress, Gorbachev is particularly worried about “preventing incidents involving Russian and American troops and armaments.”

“I am sure no one wants war, but in the current febrile atmosphere could lead to great trouble,” said Gorbachev, 87, who added that the present escalation of disagreements between the major powers is due to the fact that “ordinary people are not yet aware of the threat hanging over them.”

Recent international flashpoints involving Moscow have included the Sergei Skripal incident in the UK last month and the alleged chemical attack in Douma, Syria, last week, which may yet provoke an armed intervention from the West in an area where Russian forces are already stationed.


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See toon at top... Note the date.

Note also that Putin is trying his darnest to deal with a completely mad US administration. 


"Nevertheless, we still hope that common sense will eventually prevail and international relations will enter a constructive course, the entire world system will become more stable and predictable.”

Moscow will continue to advocate strengthening “global and regional” security, and will fully adhere to its “international responsibilities and develop cooperation with our partners on a constructive and respectful basis.

“We will pursue a positive, future-oriented agenda for the world; and work to ensure stable development, prosperity and the flourishing of mankind,” Putin said.

Putin’s statements came shortly after a new batch of threats from by his US counterpart. Earlier on Wednesday, Donald Trump warned Russia to “get ready” for “nice and new and ‘smart’” missiles targeting Syria. His tweet followed a promise by Moscow to intercept any incoming projectiles in Syria, and to hit the locations from which they were launched.

Washington is presenting its probably strikes as a “response” to the alleged chemical incident in Syria, which was reported on April 7. While no solid evidence that the purported chemical attack has emerged, top US officials have squarely pinned the blame for it on Damascus.


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meeting of boogeymen...

If it actually occurs, never in the 75-year history of such US-Russian meetings will an American president have had so much opposition and so little support at home.

Discussing the apparent decision to hold a prepared Trump-Putin meeting in July, Cohen points out there have been dozens of such US-Soviet/Russian top leadership events since the precedent was set by FDR [Franklin D. Roosevelt] and Stalin in 1943, during World War II. That was a meeting of allies, and included Winston Churchill. After the war, all the rest have been between the two Cold War “superpower” rivals or purportedly post–Cold War leaders. Every American president after FDR participated in at least one summit with his Soviet or Russian counterpart, and some presidents in multiple ones, including Eisenhower with Khrushchev, Reagan and George H.W. Bush with Gorbachev, and Clinton with Yeltsin.

If “summits” with large agendas and all of their political and media rituals are distinguished from occasional meetings on the “sidelines”of other events, the former have usually had several purposes: to solidify a mutual national-security partnership between the two leaders, typically on behalf of improving relations, or what became known as détente; to enhance both leaders’ political standing at home and in the world; to send a message to their respective elites and bureaucracies that obstructing, let alone sabotaging, the leader’s détente policy will no longer be tolerated; and by way of announced agreements and positive media coverage to broaden domestic elite and popular support for détente. Summit agendas have varied over the decades, some shaped by ongoing regional or other issues, but one item has been constant from Eisenhower and Khrushchev in the 1950s to Obama and then–Russian President Medvedev in 2009: managing and reducing existential dangers inherent in the “nuclear superpower arms race.”

Full summits have had various results. Some had few consequences for better or worse. The third Eisenhower-Khrushchev meeting in Paris in 1960 was aborted by the Soviet shoot-down of a US U-2 spy plane (sent, some think, by “deep state” foes of Eisenhower’s détente policy). Several summits were historic achievements, at least eventually. The Eisenhower-Khrushchev “spirit of Camp David” in the 1950s diminished the mutually isolating Cold War that prevailed until Stalin’s death in 1953, opening up new possibilities for “peaceful coexistence.” Nixon and Brezhnev established the modern tradition of détente, in the 1970s, including the expanded role of summits in that process. The multiple Reagan-Bush-Gorbachev summits claimed to have ended the Cold War. Several summits did more longer-term harm than good, particularly the highly touted Clinton-Yeltsin meetings, which were mostly decorative covering for Clinton’s winner-take-all approach to a weakened post-Soviet Russia; and Obama’s with Medvedev—the “reset” summit—which was badly conceived and conducted by the White House. During his 18 years as Russia’s leader, Putin has had two full summits with American presidents, though both are mostly forgotten or ill-remembered: with Clinton in Moscow in 2000 and with George W. Bush in Washington and at the latter’s Texas ranch in 2001. Clinton and Bush spoke positively about Putin at the time, but, of course, do so no longer. (Therein lies a serious debate yet to be had as to who and what changed, and why.)

If the summit with Putin happens in July, it will be Trump’s first with him, though the two had a long “sit-down” at the G-20 meeting in Germany a year ago. A Trump-Putin summit will resemble its many predecessors in various ways, but also be unique in two unprecedented respects. Rarely if ever before, as Cohen has previously argued, have US-Russian relations been so perilous. And never before would an American president have gone to a Soviet or post-Soviet summit with so much defamatory opposition and so little political support at home, indeed so defiled in his capacity as commander in chief. Two years of still-unproven Russiagate allegations that Trump is a “Putin puppet,” a “quisling,” or an otherwise “treasonous” president, are without precedent in the 75 years of such crucial meetings. As already adumbrated in commentary on a possible summit, any Trump-Putin agreements that enhance American and international security, of the kind for which previous US presidents were applauded, are likely to be denounced by most representatives of the bipartisan political-media establishment at best as “a grand illusion” and at worst as the treacherous acts of Russia’s “useful idiot,” as a “reward” to Putin for his misdeeds, as “Putin…essentially being given a free hand,” as “upsetting our closest allies in Europe.” If Trump’s laudable summit breakthrough with North Korean leader Kim was widely traduced as incompetent, security cooperation with Putin will be construed as sinister.

Cohen ends with two larger points:

As he has argued previously, Russiagate, by crippling Trump’s presidential duty to cope with the gravest international threats, has itself become the number-one threat to American national security, a reality for which the Democratic Party, though not solely, bears a very large responsibility. In other circumstances, we might reasonably hope that a Trump-Putin summit would begin to reduce the dangers inherent in the new nuclear arms, the trip-wire proximity of US and Russian forces and their proxies in Syria, the smoldering civil and proxy wars in Ukraine, the growing NATO buildup and provocative military exercises on Russia’s borders, and the near-vaporizing of Washington-Moscow diplomacy by the large-scale expulsions of diplomats on both sides. (Regarding politically charged sanctions, Trump does best leaving this to the European Union, which must vote, also in July, on whether to continue the ones it imposed on Moscow.) Summits have traditionally diminished such crises, but the ever-looming Russiagate crisis makes this “leadership meeting at the top” unprecedented in this regard as well.

Nor is Putin himself immune. Even apart from the lack of any facts or logic supporting the charge that he “attacked American democracy”during the 2016 presidential election, a failed or discredited summit would diminish his own political position at home. Hard-liners in Russia’s military-security (and intellectual) establishment continue to believe that Putin has never really shed his admitted early “illusions”about negotiating with an always-treacherous Washington and, still more, that the Russiagate-plagued Trump would be unable to carry out any commitments made at the summit. Meanwhile, Putin’s popular ratings at home, while still very high, are being eroded by a long-overdue decision to gradually raise the pension age for Russian citizens—from 55 for women and 60 for men, an entitlement taken for granted for many decades. However rational and necessary the decision may be, popular protests are already underway and spreading.

Given the unprecedentedly perilous nature of US-Russian relations today, a Trump-Putin summit is imperative. Nevertheless, efforts will continue to be made, publicly and in the shadows, to prevent it from happening. If Russiagate or another “scandal” does so, or subsequently undermines any of its achievements, Trump might not try again. Nor might Putin. What then?

Stephen F. Cohen, professor emeritus of Russian studies and politics at NYU and Princeton, and John Batchelor continue their (usually) weekly discussions of the new US-Russian Cold War. (You can find previous installments, now in their fifth year, at

Stephen F. Cohen is a professor emeritus of Russian studies and politics at New York University and Princeton University and a contributing editor of The Nation.


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a war with no victory possible...

Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev has lashed out at American plans to withdraw from the crucial INF Treaty that he signed with Ronald Reagan 30 years ago. It means a new arms race is on, he says, and Russia must not give up.

READ MORE: Trump threatens to build up US nuclear arsenal until Russia, China 'come to their senses'

Gorbachev criticized the planned US withdrawal from the milestone Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, which was announced last week. On Thursday, the retired leader offered his take on what is currently happening between the US and Russia, and what is likely to come next in an op-ed published in the New York Times.

A new arms race has been announced. The INF Treaty is not the first victim of the militarization of world affairs.

The first and only president of the USSR warned that Donald Trump's decision further dismantles the security system forged after World War II. The Republican president is keen to "release the United States from any obligations, any constraints, and not just regarding nuclear missiles," Gorbachev wrote. And that, in turn, would see the demise of all accords that helped secure peace since the defeat of the Axis.

READ MORE: Gorbachev: Trump’s move to quit INF is ‘narrow-minded’, a clear ‘mistake’

It's a path to war with no victory possible. "There will be no winner in a 'war of all against all' – particularly if it ends in a nuclear war. And that is a possibility that cannot be ruled out." But Russia will not and should not sit idle and let this happen, Gorbachev said.


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Blame the yankees 100 percent for this dangerous crap...


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when the united nations are in favour of the end of the world...

half a league, half a league, half a league onward...


by George Galloway


The next Crimean War would be the last war and no poet would be left alive to chronicle it for the remaining cockroaches, the only beings which would likely survive it.

Surprisingly, few amongst the general public had yet to wake up to the fact that the endless baiting of Russia, the cycle of war-games sanctions and false accusations could well lead to all-out war between NATO and the Russian Federation – multiple nuclear-armed superpowers, ramshackle no longer. Events this week in the Russian waters off Crimea and the subsequent war-mobilization of the Ukrainian neo-fascist government may well prove a wake-up call.

Ukrainian coup-president Poroshenko, with his country mired in debts and his presidency hanging by a thread trailing miles behind his main rival, has decided on the “Wag the Dog” manoeuvre – look over there he cries as he mounts the most serious provocation yet by sailing military and other ships into Russian territorial waters with the inevitable Russian response.

Invoking martial law, he may even cancel the forthcoming presidential poll and will certainly fundamentally change the political landscape through draconian legislation, including closing down opposition using the actually fascist militias in Ukraine as his shock troops.

Predictably he has called upon his allies in NATO to come to the aid of his beleaguered regime, beggared by his own recklessness. Trump – facing imminent Armageddon in Washington as the Mueller Enquiry closes – may welcome the opportunity to wag his own Dog. Theresa May – possibly in the last days of her premiership otherwise – ditto. Macron, the streets of his capital on fire with 77% of his people favoring the arsonists rather than him, likewise.

A dangerous constellation of weak, collapsing Western governments and leaders suddenly find their interests coinciding with the tin-pot tyrant Poroshenko. And into the Valley of Death they might just be ready to send their people charging. If they do they will find a resolute Russia far stronger than at Balaclava. Strong and united enough in fact to prevail. Unity in NATO countries is something even the Victorian master propagandist Tennyson would find it hard to spin. And certainly the moth-eaten second-rate spin-doctors of the NATO hirelings – the laughably named “Integrity” unmasked by Anonymous last week – “ain't no Lord Tennyson, bruv.”

Subscribe to RT newsletter to get stories the mainstream media won’t tell you.


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the empire's liberal-progressives-neocons want war as they fear the truth more than bombs...

it was one of the most important things I've ever done...

Mikhail Gorbachev was the general secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and the country's president until 1991. During his tenure, he pushed through important liberal reforms with his policies of perestroika ("restructuring") and glasnost ("openness") and helped end the Cold War. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1990.

Today, the 88-year-old Gorbachev lives in a dacha in a Moscow suburb and continues to be an active participant in the political debate. For health reasons, only part of the interview was conducted in person in the offices of his foundation in Moscow. The rest was conducted in writing.

DER SPIEGEL: Mr. Gorbachev, the Berlin Wall came down on Nov. 9, 1989. Thirty years on, how do you look back on this event?

Gorbachev: My view of German unity is the same today as it was back then. Unification was one of the most important things I've ever done. It had a huge impact on many people's lives. I appreciate this day very much and I have great admiration for every person who was involved.

DER SPIEGEL: Did the fall of the Berlin Wall surprise you?

Gorbachev: We followed the events in the German Democratic Republic very closely. The demand for change was omnipresent. In early October 1989, during celebrations marking the 40th anniversary of the GDR's founding, I watched young members of the ruling party marching in columns and expressing their sympathy for our perestroika and chanting: 'Gorbachev, help us!' Spontaneous demonstrations were taking place in the large cities of the GDR and were becoming more massive every day. And there were an increasing number of banners that read, 'We are one people!' On Oct. 18, Erich Honecker had to vacate his post and was replaced by Egon Krenz. But the reforms came too late. In a meeting of our politburo on Nov. 3, a week before the fall of the Berlin Wall, during a discussion about the situation in Germany, the chairman of the Committee for State Security said: "Tomorrow, 500,000 people will take to the streets of Berlin and other cities..."

DER SPIEGEL: What responses did you consider?

Gorbachev: No one doubted that the Germans had a right to decide their own fate. But the interests of neighboring states and of the global community also had to be taken into account. My main responsibility was to rule out the possibility of violence. We negotiated intensively with (West German Chancellor) Helmut Kohl, Krenz, the Americans and Europe's leading figures. We had to prevent the German desire for reunification from reviving the Cold War.

DER SPIEGEL: Did military leaders in the GDR or the Soviet ambassador in East Berlin call for military intervention?

Gorbachev: We communicated with political leaders in the GDR, but I never maintained direct contacts with the military. It was our ambassador's job to inform us as precisely as possible about what was happening in the country and not to make any demands.

DER SPIEGEL: Were any demands made after Nov. 9 for the Berlin Wall to be rebuilt?

Gorbachev: I wasn't aware of any. But I don't rule out the possibility that some irresponsible people or fringe groups discussed such a ridiculous idea. Trying to hinder a historical process in such a manner is like trying to stop a train by lying down on the tracks.

DER SPIEGEL: Were you asked to close the border and deploy troops?

Gorbachev: Which borders should have been closed? Where should the troops have marched? There were 380,000 Soviet soldiers stationed in the GDR at the time. They obeyed orders to refrain from intervening.

DER SPIEGEL: Why did you permit the GDR, a close ally of Moscow's, to fall? In other places, such as the Baltic states in 1991, you were much tougher. Lithuanian demonstrations for their country's independence were brutally suppressed.

Gorbachev: We saw West Germany as a country that embarked on a path to democracy after the collapse of the Hitler regime. And unification is understood today, as it was 30 years ago, as the fulfillment of long-held desires of the citizens of East and West Germany. As far as I can tell from the many letters, these people are still grateful for Russia's support. You blame me for the bloodshed in Latvia and Lithuania. As president, I was of course responsible for everything that went on there. But if you study the documents from this time, you'll see that I always tried to solve conflicts politically.

DER SPIEGEL: When you came to power in 1985, you signaled to Eastern Bloc states that they had to be able to exist independently of Moscow. Did you suspect at the time that one day the wall between East and West would fall?

Gorbachev: Do you really believe that a wall separating East and West was our ideal scenario? Or a model for the future? We created perestroika to lead the country out of a dead end. In order for the state and economy to flourish, we needed good relations not just with our neighbors, but with the entire world. We didn't need the Iron Curtain. We wanted to get rid of the wall of mistrust between East and West -- and all other walls, for that matter, between states, groups of people and individuals.

DER SPIEGEL: You have studied Marxist-Leninist ideas. How did it come about that you began fighting for the right of nations to self-determination? Why did a Marxist, of all people, allow the fall of the Berlin Wall to happen?

Gorbachev: I can see that you've long since forgotten what it was that Marx, Engels or Lenin wrote. Or perhaps you never read them? Here's a famous quote: "A nation cannot become free and at the same time continue to oppress other nations." In 1914, Lenin wrote a book called, "The Right of Nations to Self-Determination." Then, after the October Revolution, he argued with Stalin about this subject. The Stalinist USSR was, in the end, a unified, strictly centralized state. Our allies, the countries of Eastern Europe, were also under the strict surveillance of Moscow. During the years of perestroika, we abandoned the "doctrine of limited sovereignty." When I told the leaders of these countries that they were independent in their decisions, many did not believe me at first. But we turned words into deeds. That is why we did not interfere in the reunification of Germany.

DER SPIEGEL: You gave the Germans reunification but soon after, you lost your position and the USSR disintegrated. How do you look back on this today?

Gorbachev: Why don't you just ask me whether I regret perestroika? No, I don't. It was impossible to go on living like before. And an essential piece of perestroika was this new kind of foreign policy thinking. It included universal values and nuclear disarmament as well as free elections. We couldn't deprive neighboring countries, the Germans, Czechs, Slovaks, Hungarians, of the rights and liberties that we granted our own people. When we began perestroika, we knew we were taking a risk. But the entire state leadership agreed that changes were necessary. The blame for the end of perestroika and the collapse of the Soviet Union lies in the hands of those who organized the August 1991 coup and took advantage of the weakened position of the president of the Soviet Union afterward.

DER SPIEGEL: Is the world a better place today than it was during the Cold War?

Gorbachev: I don't feel any nostalgia when it comes to the Cold War. And I don't wish it upon anyone that those times return. We must concede that after the end of the Cold War, new leaders failed to create a modern security architecture, especially in Europe. As a result, new dividing lines were created and NATO's eastward expansion shifted these lines to Russia's border.

DER SPIEGEL: Aren't relations between Russia and the West just as bad today as during the Cold War?

Gorbachev: If one keeps repeating the same demands over and over, nothing good can come of it. There are signs that both the West and Russia understand that communication channels must be activated. The rhetoric is gradually changing. Perhaps this is the first step. Of course, we still have a long way to go before confidence is restored. I am convinced that we must begin with nuclear disarmament. I recently called on all nuclear powers to make a joint declaration against nuclear war. Negotiations must resume between Russia and the United States and consultations must begin with other nuclear powers.

DER SPIEGEL: Many people in Europe are following events in Russia with concern. It seems Moscow has abandoned the principles of perestroika.

Gorbachev: I don't think the situation is as dramatic as you describe it. People know very well to appreciate the progress that has been made in this country. Now we face a new challenge: globalization.

DER SPIEGEL: What attitude should a reunified Germany adopt toward Russia?

Gorbachev: It's important that Germans, including politicians, understand the Russians. Russia went through autocracy, serfdom and the repressive Stalinist regime. It is a difficult history. In the 1980s, we embarked on the path of reform. There were mistakes and failures. We can argue about how far we have come on the road to real democracy, but we're not going to backslide into a totalitarian system. Today, we must forge ahead, using that which we have achieved as a basis. And we must do so in the spirit of the treaty we signed during the reunification of Germany.

DER SPIEGEL: Mr. Gorbachev, thank you for this interview.



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former Soviet leader mikhail gorbachev brought the wall down...

The USSR had scores of soldiers deployed in East Germany in 1989 but all of them were ordered to stand down to allow for Berlin’s “wall of mistrust” to fall, former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev said.

Socialist East Germany, officially known as the German Democratic Republic (GDR), remained riddled with Soviet bases after the end of WWII.

“There were 380,000 Soviet soldiers stationed in the GDR at the time. They obeyed orders to refrain from intervening,” Gorbachev told Der Spiegel on Friday. “My main responsibility was to rule out the possibility of violence.”

Moscow’s ambassador in GDR, meanwhile, was instructed “not to make any demands” to German politicians on how to handle the situation on the ground.

The wall eventually fell on November 9, 1989, leading to the USSR greenlighting the reunification of Germany a year later. Gorbachev called this event “one of the most important things I’ve ever done.”

We didn’t need the Iron Curtain. We wanted to get rid of the wall of mistrust between East and West – and all other walls, for that matter, between states, groups of people and individuals.

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The Berlin Wall was erected in 1961 and separated the country until 1989, serving as one of the symbols of the Cold War in Europe.

As Germany celebrates the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, Chancellor Angela Merkel, who grew up in East Germany, offered some insights into life on the eastern side of the wall before that fateful event.

During an interview with Sueddeutsche Zeitung, the chancellor mused about East Germany’s adjustment to the reunification, noting that "the efforts of freedom, to have to decide everything, have to be learned."

"Life in the GDR was sometimes almost comfortable in a certain way, because there were some things one simply couldn’t influence," Merkel remarked.

She also lamented that Western Germany apparently had a “rather stereotypical notion” of the East, with plenty of people having "a hard time understanding that there was a difference between the GDR state and the individual life of the GDR citizens."

"I’ve been asked if you could be happy in the GDR, and if you could laugh. Yes, and myself and many others attached great importance to being able to look (ourselves) in the mirror each day, but we made compromises," she said. "Many people didn’t want to escape every day or get imprisoned. This feeling is difficult to convey".

The Berlin Wall, which became one of the symbols of the Cold War in Europe, was built in 1961 and separated Germany until 1989, a year prior to the reunification of the country’s eastern and western states.

The demolition of the wall officially began on 13 June 1990 and was completed in November 1991.

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