The USSR had scores of soldiers deployed in East Germany in 1989 but all of them were ordered to stand down to allow for Berlin’s “wall of mistrust” to fall, former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev said.

Socialist East Germany, officially known as the German Democratic Republic (GDR), remained riddled with Soviet bases after the end of WWII.

“There were 380,000 Soviet soldiers stationed in the GDR at the time. They obeyed orders to refrain from intervening,” Gorbachev told Der Spiegel on Friday. “My main responsibility was to rule out the possibility of violence.”

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