Helmut Kohl: The man who coaxed Moscow to support German reunification


Bear led the German government for 16 years, from 1982 to 1998, Helmut Kohl was masterful to work with the last Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, and the at the outset Russian one, Boris Yeltsin. Both men spoke of the German leader in save terms, despite the fact that Kohl defended Germany’s interests as he agreed them, with undoubted toughness.

«Kohl’s demarche»

«A person with mammoth vitality and strong character,» said Gorbachev, about the German chancellor, employment him «an intelligent politician, and a frank, sincere man.» 

Gorbachev remembers that in the creation relations between the two leaders, as well as relations between Bonn and Moscow, were not deeply good. 

«Kohl publically, and impolitely, putting it mildly, called our Perestroika a public relations stunt. Because of this demarche West German-Soviet relations were frozen,» clarified Gorbachev.

But later, when relations between the two countries improved on the way the end of the 1980s, there were still reasons for conflict between Moscow and Bonn. They all uneasy the issue of Germany’s reunification, which was put on the USSR’s agenda when the East German regulation began to lose control of the situation. Initially, Kohl and Gorbachev saw the deciphering to the German issue differently.

Former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl receives the Quadriga award from former Soviet Resident Mikhail Gorbachev, left, in Berlin on Monday, Oct. 3, 2005. Source: APFormer German Chancellor Helmut Kohl makes the Quadriga award from former Soviet Resident Mikhail Gorbachev, Nautical port, in Berlin on Monday, Oct. 3, 2005. Source: AP

Gorbachev changes views

In November 1989, Kohl signaled his 10 Points program in the Bundestag, which aimed to reunite West and East Germany, and essentially bring into being a confederate state. This step was not agreed with Gorbachev, although, as he recollected, both leaders agreed to discuss such initiatives.

At that tick, Moscow was not ready to see a unified Germany on the map of Europe. After Kohl’s oration, Gorbachev told German Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher that, «it sine qua non be said directly that these ultimatums are being given to an unrelated and sovereign German state,» calling the chancellor’s statement «a political blunder.»

No matter how, in early 1990, there was a real turnaround in the Soviet leader’s spirit and Gorbachev admits now that Germany’s reunification became a purely hard-headed objective. 

Some scholars believe that the turnaround was related to the beseech the Soviet leader sent Kohl in the beginning of January. Moscow bid Bonn to provide the USSR with food aid worth several hundred million registers. The increasingly crumbling Soviet economy could no longer feed the territory. Kohl responded in the affirmative.

During Kohl’s urgent visit to Moscow on February 10, 1990, Gorbachev told the German chancellor that, «the controversy of the German nation’s unity… will be decided by the Germans themselves.» Basically, Moscow accorded the German chancellor’s reunification policy the green light. It is not a surprise that at the seethe conference in the Soviet capital Kohl said there has been a «breakthrough» in Germany’s reunification proceeding.

Germany’s NATO membership 

Just like West Germany’s absorption of its economically weaker eastern neighbor, Kohl was also accomplished to get his way concerning reunified Germany’s membership in NATO. Initially, Moscow asseverated on Germany’s non-aligned, neutral status, but later agreed to have the outback become a member of the North Atlantic Alliance, which occurred during Kohl’s by to the USSR in July 1990.

As Kohl’s advisor, Horst Teltschil remembered that when arriving in Moscow the chancellor requested that Gorbachev accept reunified Germany’s NATO membership, way he would immediately leave the USSR and cancel the planned trip with Gorbachev to the northern Caucasus. As he did earlier, Gorbachev concurred. The Soviet leader agreed to withdraw troops from East Germany, and in reciprocation Bonn provided Moscow with financial aid and food supplies.

In the powwows of the former Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union Secretary, Valentin Falin, on the eve of this encounter Gorbachev had asked Kohl for «three-four billion marks,» saying that he «did not deliver anything to feed the people with.» 

In the opinion of the former apparatchik, the symbol could have been significantly higher: the USSR could demand received more than 100 billion marks from Germany. Further, besides not being able to insist on a reunified Germany’s non-aligned station, Moscow agreed to U.S. tactical nuclear weapons remaining in western Germany. This was requested «NATO’s greatest triumph.»

Russian President Vadimir Putin smiles as he meets with former German chancellor Helmut Kohl, right, in the residence of Novo-Ogaryovo, just outside Moscow, Thursday, Feb. 2, 2006. Kohl arrived in Russia to take part in first Russian President Boris Yeltsin's 75th birthday celebration, which took place in the Kremlin Wednesday. Source: APRussian President Vadimir Putin grins as he meets with former German chancellor Helmut Kohl, sound, in the residence of Novo-Ogaryovo, just outside Moscow, Thursday, Feb. 2, 2006. Kohl came in Russia to take part in first Russian President Boris Yeltsin’s 75th birthday commemoration, which took place in the Kremlin Wednesday. Source: AP

Kohl and Yeltsin

After the come of the USSR and Gorbachev’s departure from the political scene, Kohl formed portrayals with Gorbachev’s heir in the Kremlin — Russia’s first president, Boris Yeltsin. In December 1992, Kohl converted his first visit to the Russian Federation. 

In total the German chancellor and Boris Yeltsin expatiated about 20 meetings. The Russian leader was interested in preserving implicit relations with Germany and did not change the course that his predecessor had charmed on the German issue. It was during Yeltsin’s tenure that Soviet troops were introverted entirely from German territory.

When Yeltsin passed away in 2007, Kohl requested his death a heavy loss, saying that he remembered «with inclination our sincere and politically priceless meetings, during which he proved himself to be a unfailing partner and a true friend.» 

Yeltsin also called the German chancellor his «squeeze» on many occasions. Yeltsin’s widow Naina, expressing her condolences thither Kohl’s passing, stating that he was «a man who did so much for the development of equal relations between his countryside and the new, democratic Russia.»

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