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Russia – August Anniversaries in Russia: A Litany of Bad Memories (Jamestown Foundation)

Pavel K. Baev

Each August witnesses some critical and usually unhappy events for Russia, and this year is particularly rich with round anniversaries. Sixty years ago, on August 13, 1961, the Soviet leadership ordered the construction of a wall to separate West Berlin from the Socialist East Germany, until that barrier finally came down in November 1989. Angela Merkel, the outgoing German chancellor, was a little East German girl back then; and 25 years later, she defended her PhD in quantum chemistry, as a low-level operative named Vladimir Putin arrived to serve at the Dresden station of the KGB. Merkel and Putin are scheduled to meet in Moscow later this week (August 20), but they will hardly engage in reminiscences, because she is committed to the hard task of facilitating new natural gas transit talks between Russia and Ukraine (Nezavisimaya Gazeta, August 12). Kyiv will be her next destination, and she is not exactly popular there, because of her stubborn promotion of the Nord Stream Two gas pipeline (Kommersant, August 12).

August Anniversaries in Russia: A Litany of Bad Memories – Jamestown