World politicians celebrate the 30th anniversary of its fall
Celebrations will take place in Berlin and throughout Germany today to mark the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. For leading Western politicians, this anniversary was an occasion not only to recall the past, but also to assess the current situation in Europe and the world. So, the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who arrived at the celebration, regretted that the hopes that the fall of communism would lead to the triumph of democracy were not fulfilled. And in connection with this, he cited two examples of "unfree societies" - China and Russia.
On November 9, 1989, the Berlin Wall fell - not all at once, but the inhabitants of East Berlin were suddenly able to break into its western part, and vice versa. Thirty years later that day, a series of commemorative events - including exhibitions and film screenings - will take place in the capital of a united Germany, which will end with a grand concert at the Brandenburg Gate. For almost three decades, they remained in East Berlin, but the Wall stood right behind them.
The leaders of Slovakia, Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary, the countries that once joined the Warsaw Treaty Organization together with the German Democratic Republic, came to Berlin to participate in Saturday's official events with the FRG President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Chancellor Angela Merkel. The President of Germany will deliver a ceremonial speech today in the city center, and the Chancellor away from the main tourist attractions in the chapel of Reconciliation in the metropolitan area of Mitte. It was built on the site of the church of the same name, which unsuccessfully appeared at the Wall itself and was blown up in 1985.
Meanwhile, on the anniversary of Angela Merkel receives not only the above-mentioned leaders of the countries of the so-called Visegrad Four, but also a series of other high-ranking guests. Secretary General Mike Pompeo is visiting Germany on Wednesday, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg visited Berlin on Thursday, former Chancellor’s associate, and now future Commissioner Ursula von der Leyen. And on Sunday, negotiations are due with French President Emmanuel Macron.
“For me, November 9, 1989 was and remains a moment of happiness in German history. So many people in the GDR between 1949 and 1989 dreamed of freedom — and suddenly we were able to talk openly about it! We were able to raise our voice. And today, everyone can also raise their voices, ”she said in an interview with Der Spiegel. “Of course, for me these are all exciting memories,” she shared on Friday at a meeting with Mike Pompeo. “I lived and studied on the other side of the Iron Curtain (in the German Democratic Republic. -“ Kommersant ”), and what we are today close partners and friends (from the USA. - “Kommersant”), we will never forget. ”
Her guests - and after them other politicians and diplomats - did not lag behind and sought to share both their memories and thoughts about the real Europe, which they mainly described with alarm. So, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who served in the US Army in West Germany in 1986–1991, remembered this time and complained that “he could not go to see East Germany,” he compensated for this omission during his current visit by traveling around the country along the former border and drove into Leipzig. Jens Stoltenberg, in turn, recalled: “For my generation, the fall of the Berlin Wall was a decisive moment, that night we were all Berliners. Like many others, I watched TV with my son in his arms, who was then several months old. It was like a new beginning. ”
Thirty years later, as the US Secretary of State made clear, the situation in Europe remains troubled. And it was clear to him who was to blame. According to Mr. Pompeo, in the West it was believed that “the fall of communism in Berlin, Moscow and the rest of the eastern bloc will begin an irreversible trend throughout the world,” and “free societies will flourish everywhere,” but this did not happen.
Today, Russia, led by a former KGB officer, once based in Dresden, is invading neighboring countries and cracking down on political opponents. And in China, the Communist Party is shaping a new vision of authoritarianism, ”said Mike Pompeo in Berlin.
“We protest against the Secretary of State’s attempts to denigrate our political system, against allegations of a certain“ Chinese threat ”, ideological prejudices and thinking of the Cold War era,” the Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang quickly said. Accusing Mr. Pompeo of “malicious intention to accumulate political capital,” he called for “an end to the constant and baseless criticism of the PRC.”
In Moscow, the US Secretary of State’s attack on Friday did not comment. But the media widely spread the commentary of the press secretary of the President of the Russian Federation Dmitry Peskov on the skirmish, which lasted several days between leading Western politicians. In an interview with The Economist on Thursday, Emmanuel Macron compared the NATO crisis to "brain death," but Chancellor Merkel and her other guests did not publicly agree with him. “What parts of the body of this alliance are in a coma is not for us to decide, we are not pathologists,” Dmitry Peskov joked.
Vladimir Putin, ten years ago, on his 20th anniversary, calling the collapse of the Berlin Wall “one of the most striking manifestations of change in the world” and “a historic day for the German people, which drew a line under the sad past and, in fact, became a landmark for the unification of Europe ”, will not join the holiday in Berlin. Moscow at the festive events will be represented by the Russian ambassador to Berlin Sergey Nechaev.
Speaking about the “collapse of the Wall and then the collapse of the USSR”, he assured: “We do not want to return to the state in which the Soviet Union was when it imposed on its neighbors, including countries of Eastern Europe, a way of life, a political system and so on . It is counterproductive, it is too costly and has no historical prospects. You cannot force other nations to live according to their own patterns. ” “Apparently, this sad experience of the Soviet Union is not taken into account by some of our partners in the West,” he noted. “They repeat the same mistakes, step on the same rake based on the fact that they themselves are empires and build their policies in the imperial spirit. ”