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October 28, 1988

Excerpt from the Diary of Anatoly Chernyaev

Kohl met one-on-one with Gorbachev (plus me and Horst Teltschik, assistant to the Chancellor). And when I saw this striving at the highest level to speak as one human being to another human being (mutually), I felt physically that we were entering a new world, where class struggle, ideology, and, in general, polarity and enmity are no longer decisive. And something all-human is taking the upper hand. And then I came to realize how brave and farsighted M.S [Gorbachev] is. He declared a “new thinking” “without any theoretical preparation” and began to act according to common sense. His ideas are: freedom of choice, mutual respect of each other's values, balance of interest, renunciation of force in politics, all-European house, liquidation of nuclear armaments etc. All this, each by itself, is not original or new. What is new is that a person—who came out of Soviet Marxism-Leninism, Soviet society conditioned from top to bottom by Stalinism— began to carry out these ideas with all earnestness and sincerity when he became the head of state. No wonder that the world is stunned and full of admiration. And our public still cannot appreciate that he has already transferred all of them from one state to another…

Excerpt from Anatoly Chernyaev’s Diary discussing a meeting between Kohl and Gorbachev and praising Gorbachev’s boldness for declaring a ‘new thinking’ and creating reforms

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Anatoly Chernyaev, 1991: The Diary of an Assistant to the President of the USSR


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