Germans thank Gorbachev for reunification
Several German government officials shared kind words about Mikhail Gorbachev on social media on Tuesday evening, crediting the last Soviet leader for ending the Cold War and their country’s peaceful reunification.
Commenting on Gorbachev’s passing, German Defense Ministry spokesman Christian Thiels pointed out that “Europe and Germany in particular owe him a lot because he helped to tear down the iron curtain so that freedom prevails.”
“We owe a lot to Mikhail Gorbachev,” Education and Research Minister Bettina Stark-Watzinger of the Free Democratic Party tweeted. “He ushered in the end of the Cold War, enabled Germany’s reunification, and gave his country democratic momentum. A brave man of conviction whose voice will be missed.”
“Many people have things to thank Mikhail Gorbachev for, us in Germany in particular,” Agriculture Minister Cem Ozdemir of the Green Party said. “His death is depressing, especially at this time. Thank you and rest in peace.”
His party colleague and Bundestag vice president Katrin Goering-Eckardt said that without Gorbachev, “peaceful revolutions in the countries of the Eastern Bloc and our country would not have been conceivable.”
“His words encouraged us, made me strong. I bow to his achievements, to his life, and think of his family and friends,” she added.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen also tweeted a eulogy for Gorbachev, calling him a “trusted and respected leader” who “played a crucial role to end the Cold War and bring down the Iron Curtain,” which “opened the way for a free Europe.”
Chancellor Olaf Scholz has not yet commented.
Gorbachev, 91, died on Tuesday in Moscow. He was the general secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1985 to 1990, when he became the first president of the USSR. He would also be the last, as the Soviet Union broke up at the end of 1991.