, MOSCOW, Nov 9 – Russia’s strongman Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on Monday hailed the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, saying it had drawn a line under the painful division of Germany.
"Today is a very special date for the German people, for all Europe and without doubt the entire world," Putin said at an economics conference in Moscow.
"For the German people it is a historic day that drew a line under a painful past and which was a step towards the reunification of Europe."
But he noted that the situation had been difficult for Russia after the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union plunged it into economic chaos.
"Russia had to start from zero, under very difficult conditions, build a market economy and create institutions of modern law," he said.
Putin, who spent five years as a KGB agent in Dresden under communism, said in a documentary broadcast Sunday that he feels a degree of nostalgia for the former East Germany.