September 30, 2016

October 3, 1990


Twenty-six years ago, on October 3, 1990, the Ukrainian Parliament (known as the Supreme Soviet at the time) voted by an overwhelming majority to greet the reunification of Germany after 45 years of separation and one year after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.

In its letter of greeting, Ukraine’s Parliament raised the issue of Ukraine’s suffering during World War II and subtly included the possibility of addressing associated reparations.

However, some deputies said that the question of compensation was entirely premature. “I don’t understand why they brought it up,” said Serhiy Selenets. “The 14 billion DM [Germany offered the Soviet Union] was economic aid, not reparations for the war; the two issues are entirely unrelated.”

The annual commemoration of the reunification, known as “Day of German Unity” marks the unification of the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany, which was aided by France, the United States and Great Britain) and the Democratic Republic of Germany (East Germany, dominated by the Soviet Union).

The city of Berlin itself was divided into areas of occupation following the second world war, with the Soviets in the east, and France, Great Britain and the U.S. in the west.

The Soviets built the Berlin Wall overnight in 1961 to prevent the flow of Germans crossing from east to west and vice-a-versa.

From the signing of the unification treaty, five states in the east, Brandenbrug, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia, became part of the Federal Republic of Germany. The signing of the treaty also marked the shift of Germany’s capital from Bonn to Berlin, although Bonn served as the seat of government until 1999.

In 1991, a year after the treaty was signed, the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991 and many observers saw the reunification of Germany as marking the end of the Cold War. The U.S. noted that its recognition of a reunified Germany would not be part of a compromise with the Soviets in its attempts to annex the Baltic states, as the Baltics were in the midst of independence movements from the Soviet Union and as Moscow threatened retaliation with military force.

In 2015, Russia had raised the issue of declaring the reunification of Germany as illegal, and has made comparisons between German reunification and Russia’s annexation (or “reunification” as Moscow refers to it) of Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula.

Sources: “Parliament greets German unification,” by Mary Mycio (Rukh Press International), The Ukrainian Weekly, October 7, 1990. (Wikipedia)