Days before Germany is set to mark the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, the way has been cleared for the former communists who ruled East Germany to return to power.
The Left Party, widely seen as the successor to the SED, East Germany’s communist party, is expected to head the government of a German state for the first time since reunification, after the Social Democrats voted to enter a coalition with them in the state of Thuringia.
Many of the Left Party’s leadership were senior figures in the old SED, which ruled East Germany as a single-party state. And the prospect of the party’s return to power has caused alarm in some quarters.
How Putin’s KGB past shapes his autocratic rule
It was January of 1990, and a middle-aged, overweight Vladimir Putin was depressed.
Working as a paper-pushing KGB intelligence officer in Dresden, Germany, Putin spent most of his time attempting to recruit undercover foreign agents and writing reports. News from back home in the Soviet Union caused great concern.
Mikhail Gorbachev had ascended to the head of the Communist Party and was pushing liberalizing policies, and by 1989 the KGB leadership had begun to back some of his reforms. Hundreds of thousands protested in the streets of Communist East Germany for reunification—culminating in the fall of the Berlin Wall in November.
On January 15, 1990, protesters stormed the Stasi state security building where Putin worked in Dresden. Putin called for military assistance, but it only arrived hours later after approval from Moscow. Moscow had kept him waiting. Continue reading