Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Those who Lived in East Germany Still ‘Immunized’ against Hostility to Russia and Putin, Moscow Commentators Say

Paul Goble

            Staunton, April 16 – Many East Europeans who lived under Soviet occupation are today the most active supporters of Ukraine and of standing up to Putin’s aggressiveness. Estonia, for example, has given a higher percentage of its GDP in aid to Ukraine than any other country. But according to Moscow writers, there is one major exception: Germans who lived in the GDR.

            Indeed, they argue, those who lived in East Germany even as children where Vladimir Putin once served as a KGB officer were “immunized” not only against the Russophobic Western campaign in support of Ukraine but also against the hostility to the Kremlin leader on display elsewhere in the West (

            Polls conducted in Saxony show that many former residents of the GDR have adopted a position of “friendly neutrality” toward Russia and Putin, not as openly supportive as many in Russia might wish but not as hostile to Moscow as their counterparts in the former West Germany or in other countries of the West, Sergey Plotnikov of Svobodnaya pressa says.

            The Moscow commentator says that “sociologists explain this phenomenon by the fact that the eastern part of Germany for more than 40 years was a socialist state under the wing of the powerful USSR.” Its people learned Russian, and they had contact with Russians serving in the military, security agencies (like Putin), and other institutions.

            Plotnikov cites Moscow political scientist Valentin Selivanov as saying that this experience of the East Germans and their subsequent incorporation into the Federal Republic allowed many in this population to compare the two systems and conclude that it was better for them to be more closely allied with Russia.

            According to the Svobodnaya Pressa writer, this attitude has affected “even those Germans who in the 1980s were still children.” He adds that “this sympathy lies at the basis of nostalgia for Soviet times and is a kind of immunity from the virus of Russophobia.”

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