• Germany's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Putin feels 'nostalgia' for East Germany

AFP · 8 Nov 2009, 12:35

Published: 08 Nov 2009 12:35 GMT+01:00

Putin said in the interview with the NTV channel that he had good memories of his 1985-1990 posting in the city that included learning German, excursions to the mountains and contacts with his East German counterparts.

"I still remember this warmth and cordiality," he said in the interview to mark the fall of the Berlin Wall two decades ago, excerpts of which were published by all Russia's main news agencies.

"I am very thankful for this. In this respect there is some feeling of nostalgia," Putin told the broadcaster.

"But we see how the Federal Republic (post-reunification Germany) is developing and we are happy that we have good relations on a new basis," he said, adding, "This of course makes any nostalgia secondary."

Opening up for the first time about his hitherto mysterious past in the intelligence service, Putin described his time in East Germany as "not the worst years of my life and I would even say good ones."

"We made friends with our colleagues, got to know a world that was new for us and I became familiar with the language and had contacts with people. Our children went to the German nursery school. We talked to our neighbours.

"This door into a completely different world was very interesting. We had many contacts not only with our colleagues from the Ministry for State Security (Stasi) but from other areas," he said, fondly recalling excursions to the mountains at Christmas.

Putin said he gave great weight to the importance of relations between Russia and Germany.

Despite the burden of World War II, Moscow enjoys better ties with Berlin than most other European states and they enjoy a key trade relationship.

"Whatever happens in Germany domestically there is a definite national consensus on the development of the relationship with Russia," said Putin.

Story continues below…

He described former German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder as "my friend". But Putin said he also had "remarkable, very good personal and business relations" with his successor Angela Merkel even though she is from another party.

"There is an understanding that we need each other. And that is the main thing."

As president, Putin in 2005 described the collapse of the Soviet Union as the "greatest geopolitical catastrophe" of the 20th century, an opinion his successor Dmitry Medvedev declined to endorse in an interview with Der Spiegel magazine this weekend.

Your comments about this article

15:27 November 8, 2009 by Celeon
Dear, Vlad

Rest assured that while may have warm feelings about the good old days, we dont feel any nostalgia for your former employers nor the political system they helped to keep up and running.

The collapse of the Soviet Union was not the "greatest catastrophe of the 20th century" it was the "most deserved catastrophe of the 20th century"

Im still seeing that fact the Soviet Union even failed to reach its 70th birthday by just a few days as a well deserved irony of history.

I cannot think of anything more just and deserved than what happened to the Soviet Union in 1991.
15:55 November 8, 2009 by lordkorner
I have only one thing to say about MR Putin's comments, he would feel this way, after all...4 legs good,2 legs better.
17:09 November 8, 2009 by Guderian
Nostalgia??? He feels nostalgia??? For the GDR??????? Jesus Christ. How can a human being, which is blessed with more or less normal intelligence can feel nostalgia for the GDR?!?! I mean hey, the GDR!!! The GDR was the most ruined, the most ramshackle, the most failed and by a long way the most unnecessary country in the whole european history!
02:00 November 9, 2009 by slobo
Well said, Guderian, completely unecessary, and secondary, given only to Russia herself!
03:08 November 9, 2009 by Fredfeldman
Putin's comments about his nostalgia for the GDR would be hilarious if the gentlemen himself wasn't so deeply involved as a high ranking KGB operative of the catastrophic Soviet Union. Doesn't he realize how offensive and ludicrous he sounds? Maybe he does but thinks the spin is worth it.
07:34 November 9, 2009 by wood artist
Guderian

The GDR existed for many reasons. First, Stalin saw it as a step towards allowing Communism to take over the world (read "Stalin could take of the entire world"). It was "appropriate and necessary" to punish the Germans for causing all the problems in eastern Europe. It also prevented Germany from rebuilding for another go at the Russians in WWIII.

Most importantly, it was an important source of manufacturing that Russia was incapable of creating themselves. Remember, most of the East German economy was based upon making "stuff" for export to Russia (at very favorable prices) to support the Soviet Union, an economy that could not support itself.

In short, the GDR was simply a large slave-labor camp constructed to provide material wealth to Russia and serve as a buffer against those darn, freedom-loving Americans and Europeans. The wall was simply a slight addition to those conditions.

As an American who lived through those times...before, during, and after...and wish I could be there tonight to join in. The Mauerfall was a victory for mankind, not for capitalism or any other political system. One need only look at the pictures from that night to know the truth.
08:09 November 9, 2009 by CJSweatt
@Expaticus: I really hate that the BBC documentary is not available here in the U.S. Does anyone know where else this may be available for download? I would really love to watch the documentary.

I was six years old, living in Nürnberg when this happened. I didn't really understand everything that was going on at the time. I now live in Mobile, Alabama, and feel a bit disconnected from the rest of the world...
Today's headlines
Munich pulls together after shopping mall shooting
Photo: DPA

In the chaos after the Munich mall shooting, city residents spontaneously offered shelter to strangers - a move that Chancellor Angela Merkel said showed that Germany's strength lies in its values.

Merkel deplores 'night of horror' in Munich
Photo: DPA

Chancellor Angela Merkel on Saturday said Munich had suffered a "night of horror" after a shooting spree in the southern German city left nine people dead.

Munich shooting
Munich attacker was shy video game fan
People laying flowers at the site of the shootings. Photo: DPA.

David Ali Sonboly was a quiet, helpful teenager who loved playing video games. His neighbours say there were no warning signs before his deadly rampage at a Munich shopping mall.

Munich shooting
Munich gunman inspired by rightwing Breivik: police
Photo: DPA

The lone teenager who shot dead nine people in a gun rampage in Munich was "obsessed" with mass killers such as Norwegian rightwing fanatic Anders Behring Breivik and had no links to the Islamic State group, police said Saturday.

Munich shooting
Turks, Kosovans and a Greek among shooting victims
Photo: DPA

Three Turkish citizens were among the nine people killed in Germany's Munich mall shooting. Three Kosovans were also among the nine victims.

Munich shooting
Munich gunman was likely not Isis terrorist: police
Flowers laid at the Olympia Shopping Centre underground station. Photo: DPA

According to initial investigations by Munich police, the young man who went on a shooting rampage in Munich on Friday evening was a lone gunman without motive, not a terrorist.

Munich shooting
'Lone' Munich shooter kills nine, commits suicide
Photo: DPA

A teenage German-Iranian gunman who killed nine people in a shooting spree at a busy Munich shopping centre and then committed suicide had likely acted alone, German police said Saturday.

As it happened
Nine dead in shooting rampage in Munich
File photo: DPA

Nine people are dead after "at least one person" went on a shooting spree in a Munich shopping centre on Friday evening. An attacker is believed to be among the dead.

German Turkish community split by unrest after coup plot
Pro-Erdogan protesters in Berlin. Photo: DPA

Hatred between supporters of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and those opposed to him has exploded on social media in Germany in the wake of a failed coup attempt last Friday.

Germany stresses defence of Baltics after Trump comments
Photo: DPA

Germany on Friday stressed its promise to protect its NATO allies after White House hopeful Donald Trump called the commitment into question.

Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Analysis & Opinion
Nice was an attack on France, not on Germany
Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
National
Bavaria train attack: Were police right to shoot to kill?
National
How to get German citizenship (or just stay forever)
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
Technology
Brexit will turn Berlin into 'Europe’s startup capital'
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
Travel
Six soothing day trips to escape the bustle of Berlin
International
'Germany needs to make UK come to its senses'
Features
Six odd things Germans do in the summer
Travel
These 10 little-known German towns are a must see
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Features
How two gay dads cut through German red tape to start a family
National
Five things to know about guns in Germany
Sponsored Article
Health insurance for expats in Germany: a quick guide
Culture
10 things you need to know before attending a German wedding
Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
National
Eight weird habits you'll pick up living in Germany
Lifestyle
Six reasons 'super-cool' Berlin isn't all it's cracked up to be
Society
Only one country likes getting naked on the beach more than Germany
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
Lifestyle
23 ridiculously fascinating things you never knew about Berlin
Culture
8 German words that perfectly sum up your 20s
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Lifestyle
Can't make it past the door at Berlin's most famous club? Help is at hand
Business & Money
Why Frankfurt could steal London's crown as Europe's finance capital
Features
6 surprising things I learned about Germany while editing The Local
Culture
Five sure-fire ways to impress Germans with your manners
10,799
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd