Full Citation

  • Title Moscow signals it would allow Berlin communists to fall
  • Author From a Correspondent, Moscow
  • Publication Title The Times
  • Collection The Times Digital Archive, 1785-2008
  • Date Friday,  Nov. 10, 1989
  • Issue Number 63548
  • Page Number 8
  • Place of Publication London, England
  • Language English
  • Document Type Article
  • Publication Section News
  • Source Library Times Newspapers Limited
  • Copyright Statement © Times Newspapers Limited.
POSITIVE VIEW FROM THE KREMLIN Moscow signals it would allow Berlin communists to fall The Soviet Union welcomed changes in the leadership of East Germany yesterday and hinted it would even tolerate the loss of Communist power there provided the country remained in the Warsaw Pact. Mr Gennadi Gerasimov, the Foreign Minstry spokes - man , told Western journalists after a press briefing that the changes at the top of the East German party and govern - ment hierarchy showed the country's leaders were now ready to talk and listen to ordinary people. "These changes are for the better," he said. "They did not talk at all until recently. Now they have a dialogue with the people ." He pointed to Poland as an example of a country main - taining close ties with the Soviet Union despite having a non-communist Government. "Poland is a good member of the Warsaw Pact... Govern - ments change, but inter - national obligations remain." As for East Germany, he said: "It is their decision, just as it was in Poland. It is their country, they know it better. What can we do?" Mr Gerasimov's comments were the first by any Soviet official. The press had been careful not to comment at all, merely reporting the replace - men t of the East German Government and Politburo and quoting remarks made by the party leader, Herr Egon Krenz. Tass went so far as to say East Germany was going through a "difficult period". Under President Gorba - chov , Soviet foreign policy has steadily distanced itself from the Brezhnev doctrine of zones of influence — the most graphic illustrations of which were the invasions of Czecho - slovakia in 1968 and Afghani - stan in 1979. The final seal was set at this summer's Warsaw Pact summit — held in Bucharest — where the final communique formally ac - knowledged the right of every state to follow its political course without interference. Throughout the tumultuous changes in East Europe this year, Moscow has stuck to this Moscow (Reuter) — Aeroflot, the state airline whose poor service has made it the butt of jokes by Soviet air passengers, will soon face competition from a consortium set up by its own pilots , Izvestia reported . The new airline had prelimi - nary parliamentary approval and has until January to present final plans. line, bowing to the inevitable as a Solidarity-led Govern - ment took over in Poland and Hungary's ruling party ditched communist ideology. What Moscow is more con - cerned about is the durability of its military alliance, in which East Germany, with nearly 400,000 Soviet troops based inside its frontiers, is on the front line. In the past few months the Soviet Union has received, assurances from Poland and Hungary that neither intends to leave the Warsaw Pact. Mr Gerasimov said the whole European question would be discussed at next months East-West summit within the context of Mr Gorbachev's often men - tioned , but vaguely defined, concept of a common Euro - pean home. There is no question, how - ever , of the discussions taking in German reunification or the redrawing of borders. Following the pattern of pos t - war Soviet leaders, Mr Gorba - chov has insisted that the 1945 borders — which gave the Soviet Union a considerable amount of territory — are inviolable and not open to negotiation. This insistence is crucial to Moscow not onl y to maintain the support of its allies, but also to hold together the shaky union within which its constit - uen t republics are bound , particularly in the light of growing demands for seces - sion in the Soviet Baltic . Pravda reported yesterday that the ruling bureau of the party in the largest republic, the Russian Federation, dis - banded by Leonid Brezhnev in 1966, would be revived to take control of the provincial party organizations in the huge territory. But the party newspaper quoted Mr Yuri Manayenkov, a recently appointed secretary of the Soviet Communist Party Central Committee, as rejecting the idea of setting up a separate Russian Commu - nist Party, on the lines of those in every other Soviet republic. He said: "In my opinion , this would merely serve to increase the centrifugal forces within the Soviet Communist Party." From A Correspondent, Moscow President Kennedy viewing the Berlin Wall during a visit in June, 1963, when he made his famous speech identifying the free world with the fate of Berlin