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No New Wallpaper (April 10, 1987)

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Question: That makes it sound like the SED would prefer not to have much to do with all that?

Answer: We German communists have always felt great respect and admiration toward the land of Lenin, and nothing will change that. This year we are acknowledging the seventieth anniversary of the October Revolution, which led to the collapse of the capitalists and major landowners and the establishment of the first socialist state in history. It made socialism possible in the 1920s and 1930s, especially industrialization and collectivization. We know that the Soviet Union carried the major burden of the struggle again Hitler fascism, and we will never forget that our people especially owe thanks to the Soviet Union for the liberation from the Nazi regime. We adopted the teachings of Lenin, especially the theory of socialist revolution and building up socialism, as well as the doctrine of the party, and we have benefited from the rich experience of the CPSU.

But this does not mean – nor did it mean in the past – that we copied everything that happened in the Soviet Union.

Question: Those are harsh words . . .

Answer: Even the announcement of the Central Committee of the KPD of June 15, 1945, said: “We are of the opinion that forcing the Soviet system on Germany would be the wrong path, since this path does not correspond to the development conditions in Germany.” And by the way, the Soviet Union does not copy the GDR either. It seems like the Western media is interested in the subject of “copying,” since it fits into their illusions about the “hand of Moscow” or the supposed monotony and uniformity of socialism. Would you, by the way, feel obligated to redo the wallpaper in your apartment just because your neighbor redid his?

Question: So is there an autonomous German path to socialism?

Answer: Of course all socialist countries learn from each other, since they have basic commonalities, such as a Marxist-Leninist worldview and the common goal of socialism and communism. But every socialist country has a certain level of economic and social development, historical and cultural traditions, geographic and other conditions that must be taken into account. Every party is responsible to its people and works for their well-being. At the same time, its policies contribute to the common cause of socialism, to strengthen and stabilize the socialist community.

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