Publication: Monitor Volume: 3 Issue: 163

In remarks yesterday at the conclusion of his four-day visit to Moscow, German president Roman Herzog said that he had purposely avoided detailed discussion on the restitution of World War II trophy art during his talks with Russian leaders. Herzog suggested that he had done this both in order to mute a disagreement that might have made progress more difficult on other issues, and because the trophy art issue should be left to President Boris Yeltsin and German chancellor Helmut Kohl. On another touchy issue — the status of ethnic Germans in Russia — Herzog said that Bonn would accept them if they chose to emigrate to Germany. But he emphasized that the German government would prefer that Russia’s Germans remain in Russia, where, as he put, they could contribute to Russian economic reform and serve as a "bridge between the two countries." On September 1 Yeltsin signed a document setting out a state program for Russia’s ethnic Germans.

Herzog also made a speech yesterday before the Duma, during which he again expressed the German people’s gratitude to Russia for its contribution to German reunification. He countered those in Russia who believe this policy to have been mistaken by arguing that only now could the two countries deal with each openly and without prejudices. At the conclusion of Herzog’s remarks a number of lawmakers from Russia’s opposition factions handed him an appeal asking Bonn to show mercy on the leaders of the former German Democratic Republic, some of whom now face prosecution for their actions in those posts. (Russian agencies, September 2-3) On August 25 former East German Communist leader Egon Krenz was found guilty of manslaughter and sentenced to more than six years in jail for the killings of East Germans trying to escape to the West. Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, who approved the agreement that led to German reunification, protested the verdict as a violation of a pledge given in 1990 not to prosecute East German leaders. (Reuter, August 26)

Alternative Military Service Mooted in St. Petersburg.