Eduard Shevardnadze: the fall of the Berlin Wall could be the beginning of a new war

The rise and fall of the Berlin Wall – Konrad H. Jarausch

Eduard Shevardnadze: the fall of the Berlin Wall could be the beginning of a new war

Eduard Shevardnadze: the fall of the Berlin Wall could be the beginning of a new war

From the archive &# 171; Voices of America&# 187 ;: Exclusive interview with the former Minister of Foreign Affairs of the USSR

On November 9, 1989, new rules for entry and exit from the German Democratic Republic were announced, according to which citizens of the country could obtain visas to immediately visit West Berlin and the Federal Republic of Germany. In the evening, hundreds of thousands of East Germans rushed to the border, and the fall of the Berlin Wall began..

We bring to your attention archival material on this topic – an exclusive interview of the Voice of America correspondent Anna Leonidova with Eduard Shevardnadze, a former member of the Politburo of the CPSU Central Committee and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the USSR from 1985 to 1990. Shevardnadze played a key role in the implementation of the policy of perestroika, glasnost, detente, in the end of the Cold War and in the destruction of the Iron Curtain..

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In the meantime, there is no need to know about it. ”Anna Leonidova: Mr. Shevardnadze, the Iron Curtain fell along with the Berlin Wall, the era of the Cold War is over. As the head of the Soviet Foreign Ministry, you took a direct part in this historic event. Could you please share your memories of those days?

Eduard Shevardnadze: I learned about the fall of the Berlin Wall from the Soviet ambassador in Berlin. I was in Moscow then. The ambassador called and informed me that the Germans were beginning to break down the wall. There was a half-million Soviet army. If the army intervened in these events, then we could talk about the beginning of a new war. Gorbachev and I flew to Berlin and did everything possible to ensure that our troops did not interfere, so that they did not prevent the Germans from destroying the wall..

A.L .: During perestroika, you provided foreign policy victories for President Gorbachev’s team. What was the main difficulty in preparing for these victories? Who hindered you, and did you have true companions?

E.Sh .: There were associates, there were opponents …

A.L .: You were the architect of the foreign policy of the USSR during the existence of the two superpowers. How did you manage to rebuild the country’s foreign policy?

E.Sh .: The first duty was to decide how to normalize relations between the Soviet Union and the United States of America. It wasn’t easy. This was facilitated by a meeting in Malta, which was attended by Bush Sr., Baker, Gorbachev, myself. Then a declaration was adopted that we are not opponents. This was the first attempt at warming the global climate. Second. I very often traveled to Washington, met with the president. Baker persuaded me to fly to Wyoming and negotiate there. We flew for four hours. The weather was sunny and we were negotiating in the open air. There we signed a declaration that the Soviet Union and the United States of America are not only not opponents, but partners. This is called a partnership agreement.

A.L .: Mr. Shevardnadze, there are new people in the building on Smolenskaya Square today. How do you assess their work in building the foreign policy of the Russian Federation??

E.Sh .: It’s hard for me to judge. They defend their national interests, the interests of Russia, but they make many mistakes. I believe that Russia made a gross mistake when it recognized the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. By this, they showed their peoples (I mean the Chechens, Ingush, other North Caucasian peoples, Tatarstan, Bashkortostan and others) that they can all fight for independence. Such a movement has already begun in Russia..

A.L .: In your time, Soviet-American relations experienced an unprecedented rise. How do you see the current level of Russian-American relations??

E.Sh .: Now we can say that this relationship is not very attractive. There are a lot of contradictions, mainly related to Russia’s recognition of the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

A.L .: One of your predecessors as foreign minister – Mr. Gromyko – was called “Mr. No” in the West. Can you, Eduard Amvrosievich, be called “Mr. Yes”?

E.Sh .: No, I don’t like such expressions. Gromyko was a great diplomat. He created a school of Soviet diplomats. Gorbachev invited me to become a minister after Gromyko. I still believe that Gromyko has great achievements, especially in the creation of the diplomatic school of Russia and the Soviet Union. What kind of minister I was, it’s not for me to judge.

Eduard Shevardnadze: the fall of the Berlin Wall could be the beginning of a new war

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