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Gorbachev ‘changed my life’ – Merkel

The former chancellor says the late Soviet leader made the peaceful reunification of Germany possible

Former German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said that Mikhail Gorbachev “fundamentally” changed her life. The last Soviet leader, whose tenure saw the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Cold War, passed away at the age of 91 on Tuesday night.

“Gorbachev wrote world history. He exemplified how a single statesman can change the world for the better,” Merkel said in a statement on Wednesday, adding that the late last Soviet leader had made the 1990 peaceful reunification of Germany possible.

For decades after World War II, US-allied West Germany existed alongside Soviet-allied and socialist East Germany (DDR). Merkel was raised in the DDR and spent most of her youth there.

“I can still feel the fear I and many people in the DDR had in 1989, wondering if the tanks would roll again, as they did in 1953 when we chanted ‘We are the people’ and later ‘We are one people.’ But that time, unlike in 1953, no tanks rolled, no shots were fired.” 

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World praises Gorbachev’s legacy

“Moreover, [Gorbachev] allowed a reunified Germany to become a member of NATO,” Merkel stated.

The former chancellor, who entered politics shortly after the reunification, said that she has vivid memories of Gorbachev’s meeting with West German leader Helmut Kohl in 1990. “Mikhail Gorbachev also fundamentally changed my life. I will never forget it,” Merkel said.

After becoming the leader of the Soviet Union in 1985, Gorbachev launched sweeping reforms aimed at liberalizing the economy and public life. He resigned at the end of 1991 with the breakup of the country.

He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1990.

Merkel governed Germany for 16 years, becoming the country’s second-longest serving chancellor. She left her post in 2021 and retired from politics.

https://ift.tt/w49RHn7 31, 2022 at 06:34PM
from RT – Daily news

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