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作者: 来源: 日期:2016-11-09 8:43:45

The long shadow of 1989





On November 9 1989, a 35-year-old physicist in East Berlin saw the startling news on TV that the border with West Germany was opening. But she didn’t rush to the Berlin Wall. Instead — in the definitive display of her trademark patience — Angela Merkel went to the sauna, as she did every Thursday evening. Only afterwards did she walk to her local border crossing and into West Berlin. She drank beer in a stranger’s home in the west but made sure to get back to bed on time, because she had work the next morning.

1989119日,东柏林一位35岁的物理学家在电视上看到一条令人震惊的新闻——东德和西德的边界开放了。但她并没有匆忙赶往柏林墙。相反,安格拉•默克尔(Angela Merkel)按照每个周四晚上的习惯去了桑拿房——充分显示出其标志性的耐心。在洗完桑拿后,她才步行前往当地的过境通道,进入了西柏林。她在西柏林一个陌生人家中喝了啤酒,但还是确保准时回家上床就寝,因为第二天她还要上班。广州新闻翻译公司。


One month after the Wall fell, exultant East German protesters surrounded the KGB’s mansion in Dresden. A 37-year-old KGB lieutenant-colonel named Vladimir Putin phoned the local Soviet military to ask for reinforcements but was told that nothing could be done because, “Moscow is silent”. Putin would never forget that moment. Meanwhile in Budapest, the 26-year-old lawyer Viktor Orban shot to fame after a speech demanding that Soviet troops leave Hungary. Over in Poland, the velvet transition from communism left the Solidarity official Jaroslaw Kaczynski so disappointed that he began his long battle to complete the revolution.

柏林墙倒塌一个月以后,狂喜的东德抗议者包围了克格勃(KGB)在德累斯顿(Dresden)的大楼。37岁的克格勃中校弗拉基米尔•普京(Vladimir Putin)打电话给当地的苏联驻军请求增援,但被告知军方无能为力,因为“莫斯科沉默了”。普京永远不会忘记那一刻。同时,在布达佩斯,26岁的律师欧尔班•维克托(Viktor Orban)发表了要求苏军撤出匈牙利的演讲,从此声名鹊起。在波兰,摆脱共产党统治的天鹅绒革命让团结工会(Solidarity)官员雅罗斯瓦夫•卡钦斯基(Jaroslaw Kaczynski)如此失望,以至于他开始自己的长期斗争,目标是完成未竟的革命事业。


Today, these four people lead their countries. Merkel, Putin and Orbán have done so for a combined 37 years, while Kaczynski is Poland’s unelected power behind the throne. All four were shaped by the 1989 revolutions.



Putin had witnessed the first successful nationalist uprising against Soviet rule. Deserted by Moscow, he had gone out into the Dresden street alone — “in spirit, bare-chested”, adds Timothy Garton Ash, author of the book We The People, on the 1989 revolutions — and told the protesters, in German, that anyone entering the mansion would be shot. The crowd duly backed off. But the East German agents Putin worked with had their lives ruined, the country he liked so much vanished, and the Putin family ended up driving back to Leningrad with little more than a 20-year-old German washing machine. The lesson he drew from the 1989 revolution was: never again. Putin concluded that if Moscow hadn’t been silent and weak, it could have crushed the mob. Garton Ash told me: “Everything Putin has been is about trying to ensure the revolution does not happen in Moscow. He is the counter-revolution.”

普京目击了第一次成功的反抗苏联统治的民族主义起义。在被莫斯科抛弃的情况下,他独自走出德累斯顿克格勃大楼的大门。有关1989年革命的著作《我们人民》(We The People)的作者蒂莫西•加顿-阿什(Timothy Garton Ash)补充说,这时候的普京“情绪激昂,裸露着胸膛”。他用德语告诉抗议者,任何人如果胆敢进入克格勃大楼都会被射杀。结果人群知趣地退去。但与普京共事的东德特工的生活被毁了,他情有独钟的国家消失了。最后,普京一家驾车回到列宁格勒,车上最贵重的财物只是一台用了20年的德国洗衣机。他从1989年的革命汲取的教训是:绝不能让这一幕重演。普京得出了一个结论:如果当时莫斯科没有保持沉默,表现出软弱,就能够制伏那些暴民。加顿-阿什告诉我:“自那以来普京一切的一切都是为了确保莫斯科不会爆发革命。他是革命的克星。”


In 1989, Merkel lived in East Berlin’s Prenzlauer Berg neighbourhood. Today, the “Prenzlberg” is totally gentrified, but when I moved there in 1990 some of the rundown apartment buildings still had bullet holes from the second world war, telephones were rare and the air reeked of black coal. Prenzlauer Berg had attracted East Germany’s bohemians, and, in 1989, most of them dreamt of a new, better system than West German democracy. Merkel didn’t, says Garton Ash. She simply wanted to do West German centrist politics, but better. The veterans of 1989 who went on to capture power were the realists.

1989年,默克尔住在东柏林的普伦茨劳贝格区(Prenzlauer Berg)。今天,这里已经完全被改造为高档地段,但在1990年我迁居到这里的时候,我依然能在一些破旧的公寓楼看到二战时期留下的子弹孔,电话非常少见,空气中弥漫着煤炭的味道。当年普伦茨劳贝格吸引了东德一些放荡不羁的人,在1989年,其中大多数人梦想着一种比西德民主更好的新型体制。加顿-阿什说,默克尔并不这么想。她只想投入西德的中间派政治,但希望自己做得更好。经历了1989年革命、后来掌握了权力的老将都是现实主义者。广州新闻翻译公司。


For Merkel, the end of East Germany was unambiguously positive. She emerged from the sauna and was free. No longer would she have to run communist “agitation and propaganda” at her workplace, East Berlin’s Institute for Physical Chemistry. She also appreciated the DM100 in “welcome money” that West Germany handed out to East Germans. Later, she instinctively wanted to pass on this experience of welcome to future freedom-seekers. Last year’s opening of German borders to one million refugees has “a very strong ’89 connection,” says Garton Ash.



Today, as Merkel sits in the chancellery, 5km from her old flat, she remains marked in another way by 1989. She feels that just as East Germany collapsed in a night, so could the European Union and all that goes with it. Stopping that from happening is her unspectacular political mission.



Poland had no single revolutionary night in 1989. Rather, Solidarity and the ruling communists negotiated a transition. It had to be that way, as there were still Soviet troops in Poland then, but Kaczynski, the editor of Solidarity’s weekly magazine, was left frustrated. His father, a veteran of Warsaw’s 1944 uprising against the Nazis, had raised his twin sons on tales of heroic resistance to foreign rule. In 1989, the Kaczynski twins “felt marginalised, left out by people in Warsaw”, says Garton Ash.



Today, Kaczynski aims to finish 1989’s unfinished revolution. That means rooting out the “communists”, whom he sees in every ministry, company and media outlet, and freeing Poland from foreign oppression — which, to him, now means Merkel’s Germany, Putin’s Russia, the EU, gay marriage and refugees. With hindsight, the 1989 revolutions were probably more nationalist than liberal.



Since 1989, Orbán has morphed from a liberal into an authoritarian but has always remained a nationalist. He seems to have figured out that in Hungary nationalist votes outnumber liberal ones. He may also feel that as a hero of his country’s revolution, he has a right to rule — a sentiment once common among Africa’s liberators-turned-dictators. For central and eastern European leaders, 1989 was only yesterday.