How 1989 brought an end to the Cold War: Legacy





For two decades, the world has been living with the consequences of events in 1989. As well as the changes in Eastern Europe, the Cold War was winding down. BBC Diplomatic Editor Brian Hanrahan, who has spent the year assessing 1989's legacy, looks at what happened next.

The hard men of the KGB were glued to the TV screen. Upstairs, President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev were dealing with great power confrontation.

But down in the basement, Mr Gorbachev's protection detail were watching a different confrontation - between Tom and Jerry.

Behind them smoke started to emerge from the wastepaper basket where one had dropped his cigarette - but they were so engrossed in the Western decadence they were sworn to protect against that nobody noticed.

The all-wooden building would have gone up in flames if the sharp nosed Icelandic caretaker had not ignored diplomatic protocol and stepped into the Soviet sanctum to douse the flames.



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