The good kiss
Honecker had become the leader of German Socialist Party in 1971, after the fall of Walter Ulbricht in disgrace, thanks to Brezhnev support, and in 1976 had become president of the Counsel of State of the GDR, also aided by the latter.
In the new 70's spirit of the "détente", the Soviet Union achieved, in exchange of a relaxation of weapon tensions, that the
Honecker carried out a series of economic reforms in the GDR that lead the country to a so-called "consumption socialism", that resulted in an improvement of the population's standards of living. Apart from that, relationship with its Soviet colleague were a true love story. GDR and the
Nowadays, a painted version of the "Fraternal Kiss" can be seen on the eastern side of Berlin Wall's ruins, performed by Dmitri Vrubel after the collapse. If one looks to it attentively, one can realise that this kiss is typical of a Greek tragedy, a suffocating kiss, in which lovers get too compromised on each other, despite of knowing that there is no future in that poisoned relationship. Actually, the painting is named "The Kiss of Death", and one can read under it "God, help me to survive this deadly love".
The bad kiss
Exactly, when Mikhail Gorbachev came to power, the romance was over. His only ambition was to save his country from economic ruin, after the disastrous conditions in which Brezhnev had left it. After presenting a series of reforms concerning restructuration (perestrokia) and openness (glasnost) he would carry out, Gorbachev announced the end of Brezhnev Doctrine: the
During Gorbachev's official visit to Eastern Germany, in October 1989, Honecker had the intention to ask the
* A contemporaneous joke showed Brezhnev staring at the departing plane of a foreign leader, exclaiming: "As a politician, rubbish... but what a good kisser!".