German parliament holds minute's silence for Gorbachev

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German parliament holds minute's silence for Gorbachev
Politicians hold a minute's silence in the German Bundestag for Mikhail Gorbachev. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Kay Nietfeld

German lawmakers on Wednesday observed a minute's silence in honour of the last Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, who played a decisive role in the reunification of Germany in 1990.


Gorbachev died late August aged 91, and hundreds of Russians paid their final respects to him at a weekend ceremony in Moscow although President Vladimir Putin was notably absent.

"We have a lot to thank Mikhail Gorbachev for," Bundestag president Baerbel Bas said in an address ahead of the minute's silence.

"He changed the history of our country, and the lives of millions of people."

"There are few politicians who are as revered in Germany as he is, and we will remember him as a great liberator," she added.

"Germans have lost a loyal friend."

READ ALSO: Berlin to fly flags at half-mast for Gorbachev’s funeral


In power between 1985 and 1991, Gorbachev sought to transform the Soviet Union with democratic reforms, but eventually triggered its demise.

While his legacy in Russia is controversial, he is widely respected in Germany for his role in helping bring about the country's reunification, and his death triggered expressions of gratitude across the political spectrum.

There were calls for a street or square in Berlin to be renamed after him, and official flags flew at half mast in the capital to mark his funeral Saturday.

Gorbachev defended a world order in which states sort to resolve conflicts through dialogue, said Baerbel.

"Russia under Putin has broken with this spirit, and that is a tragic mistake. It is Russia that has attacked Ukraine, and has destroyed European peace by armed force."

READ ALSO: Gorbachev died at a time of ‘failed’ Russian democracy, says German Chancellor Scholz


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