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What Margaret said to Mikhail

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Among the many very interesting Russian documents published in today’s Times is a conversation between Thatcher and Gorbachev on 23 September 1989, when Thatcher declared she and George Bush were against the reunification of Germany. Anatoly Chernyaev, then responsible for the Soviet Union’s relations with Communist parties in Western Europe, also recorded it in his diary (MS is Mikhail Sergeevich Gorbachev):

Thatcher, when she asked to go off record during the conversation with MS, expressed her views decisively against Germany’s reunification. But, she said this is not something she can openly say at home or in Nato. In short, they want to prevent this with our hands.

A few days later, Chernyaev wrote:

Record of conversation with Honecker… MS called him an asshole. MS said: ‘He could have said to his people that he has had four operations, he is 78, he does not have the strength to fill his position, so could they please “let him go”, he has done his duty. Then, maybe, he would have remained an esteemed figure in history.’ Shakhnazarov and I were doubtful that he would get a place in history if he did this right now. Two or three years ago, maybe. Right now he is already in a position similar to Kadar’s. He has been cursed by the people.

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