Columns 10.11.2014 06:00 am

When the floodgates opened

Gwynne Dyer

Gwynne Dyer

In China, the Communists had just massacred the students in Tiananmen Square and won themselves another quarter-century in power. On the other hand, the Poles voted overwhelmingly for Solidarity in June, and by September Hungary had opened its border with the West. But it was the fall of the Berlin Wall on November 9, 1989 that really opened the floodgates.

I had been spending a lot of time in the old Soviet Union since 1987, when I visited Moscow after a five-year absence and found the place unrecognisable. People had lost their fear: in the kitchens, and sometimes in the streets, they were saying what they really thought. It was the first time I had gone to Russia without feeling that I had le Planet Earth.

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