On November 9, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev will visit Germany to participate in international events to celebrate the 20th anniversary since the fall of the Berlin Wall. The new generation of politicians will join the leaders of the Cold War era to celebrate the existence of undivided Europe, without any separating strips.
The wall, erected in August of 1961 by the government of the German Democratic Republic, separated Berlin into two parts. The wall marked the end of communication between the two parts of the city, which had been divided between allies in 1948. The Berlin Wall became one of the brightest examples of the “iron curtain”, the tough opposition between two different worlds and two different regimes.
The wall was standing for a bit more than 26 years when it was leveled by bulldozers. The fall of the Berlin Wall marked the fall of the iron curtain too.
The destruction of the Berlin Wall triggered major political changes in Europe. European borders began to change for the first time since WWII. Some countries united into one single state, as it happened with Germany, whereas others disintegrated and even collapsed, as it happened with the USSR.
The fall of the Berlin Wall marked the beginning of new times, when the artificial alienation of people was turned into nonsense. Berlin, Germany and the rest of the world were living in a state of euphoria after the wall collapsed – everyone was expecting the Cold War to finally end.
One hundred and eighteen artists turned a part of the wall into an open air art gallery. A graffiti picture made on the wall – Brezhnev and Honecker’s kiss – became known in the world as a symbol of dark times that were going to fall into oblivion.
Nowadays, 20 years after the epoch-making event, one may say that it became a prologue to a significant disruption of the balance of forces in the world and preceded the largest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century – the collapse of the Soviet Union and the disruption of the bipolar world order. The world, if compared to a human being, lost one leg and could no longer be stable.
The fall of the Berlin Wall induced both big hopes and serious disappointments. One should bear in mind the fact that the presentation of the problem about the historical responsibility for the division of Europe and the world was misleading per se. It was understood that the USSR would claim such responsibility – the Soviet administration showed no objections to that.
Therefore, there is nothing surprising about the fact that some nations were rising while other nations were being oppressed. The unification of the Germans, the establishment of democratic regimes in East Europe as a result of velvet revolutions, the new thinking – all of these phenomena led to Russia’s loss of geopolitical positions and the immediate pull out of troops from Germany, Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Poland. The property, which the Soviet Army had to abandon in those countries, was worth billions of dollars.
The USA, Britain, Germany and the NATO administration promised not to expand NATO to the east after the unification of Germany.
USSR ’s ex-president Mikhail Gorbachev said in one of his interviews in the beginning of 2009 that German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, US Secretary of State James Baker and other leaders assured him 20 years ago that NATO would not be moving eastwards. The USA did not keep the promise, whereas Germany showed indifference.
“Perhaps they have rubbed their hands together seeing that they have fooled the Russian government,” Gorbachev said.
NATO ignored all the promises and started strengthening its military potential with the help of the European countries, including former Soviet republics.
It just so happens that the disappearance of borders inside the European Union is accompanied by the creation of new boundaries separating Russia from the West.
The experience of twenty years has unveiled at least two very important things. First and foremost, the loyalty of Western politicians must not be estimated as carelessly as it was done by the last administration of the USSR.
The second conclusion is about the inseparability of security. Russia’s Dmitry Medvedev stated in September 2009 at the UN that the world had not become safer after the end of the Cold War. The security of some nations must not be maintained at the expense of security of other nations.