Moscow could have started WW3 over Berlin Wall: Gorbachev





MOSCOW (Reuters) – The Kremlin could have started World War Three in 1989 had it used troops to crush the demonstrations that preceded the fall of the Berlin Wall, former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev said on Tuesday.

Gorbachev is hailed in the West for ignoring hardliners who advised him to guarantee the Soviet Union's future by crushing a growing wave of dissent in Eastern Bloc countries which led to the fall of the Berlin Wall on November 9, 1989.

When asked by a reporter why he did not use force to halt the demonstrations, Gorbachev said it would have sparked a catastrophic set of events and even a world war.

"If the Soviet Union had wished, there would have been nothing of the sort (the fall of the Wall) and no German unification. But what would have happened? A catastrophe or World War Three," said Gorbachev, 78.

"My policy was open and sincere, a policy aimed at using democracy and not spilling blood. But this cost me very dear, I can tell you that," he said.

Most Russians revile Gorbachev for his weakness in allowing the collapse of the Soviet Union and the loss of Moscow's global empire. A poll last year found that 60 percent of Russians still viewed the demise of the Soviet Union as a "tragedy."


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