London, Nov. 4 (ANI): Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev has revealed that the Kremlin could have triggered off the Third World War in 1989 had it used force to prevent the Berlin Wall from falling.
Gorbachev, who is hailed in the West for ignoring hardliners who advised him to guarantee the Soviet Union's future by crushing a growing protest by Eastern Bloc countries, has revealed that the move would have sparked-off a world war.
"If the Soviet Union had wished, there would have been nothing of the sort (the fall of the Wall] and no German unification. But what would have happened? A catastrophe or World War Three," said Mr Gorbachev, 78. "My policy was open and sincere, aimed at using democracy and not spilling blood. But this cost me very dear," The Scotsman quoted him, as saying.
Most Russians condemn Gorbachev for his weakness in allowing the collapse of the Soviet Union and the loss of Moscow's global empire.
A poll last year found that 60 per cent of Russians still viewed the demise of the Soviet Union as a "tragedy".
Thousands of East Germans crossed to West Berlin in November 1989 after the Soviet-backed authorities unexpectedly ordered the opening of tightly-guarded border crossings in the Wall.
Gorbachev, who could have used nearly half-a-million Soviet troops stationed in East Germany to crush the rebellion, quipped that he had "a good night's sleep" after the Wall was opened.
"I am very proud of the decision we made. The Wall did not simply fall - it was destroyed just as the Soviet Union was destroyed," e said. (ANI)