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AP: Across Eastern Europe, Gratitude to a President Who Helped End Communism
AP ^ | 06/05/04 | William J. Kole (AP)

Posted on 06/05/2004 3:19:47 PM PDT by Kieri

Across Eastern Europe, Gratitude to a President Who Helped End Communism

By William J. Kole Associated Press Writer Published: Jun 5, 2004

VIENNA, Austria (AP) - Leaders, former dissidents and ordinary citizens across eastern Europe expressed gratitude to Ronald Reagan for helping to end decades of "evil empire" communism and Cold War-era oppression. Most of the region threw off communist rule in 1989, the year Reagan retired from a presidency marked by determination to loosen the grip of the Soviet Union through diplomacy and unrelenting appeals to the masses via Radio Free Europe.

As the world paused to remember the sacrifices of Allied troops 60 years ago on D-Day, leaders such as former Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban reflected on Reagan's influence in bringing democracy to those starved for it behind the Iron Curtain.

"Hungary and Europe do not forget Ronald Reagan's help and his support for the former communist countries," Orban, 41, told The Associated Press on Saturday.

In 1983, Reagan stunned the world by denouncing the Kremlin as an "evil empire" whose nuclear arsenal threatened the globe.

In 1987, in a speech at the Berlin Wall, he challenged Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev: "If you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization ... tear down this wall."

Throughout, the Reagan administration devoted manpower and cash to quietly expanding its contacts in East bloc countries such as Poland and Czechoslovakia.

"He is the one who allowed the breakup of the Soviet Union. May God rest his soul," said Bogdan Chireac, a foreign affairs analyst for the Romanian newspaper Adevarul.

Reagan appointed a deputy secretary of state to shuttle in and out of the region, and encouraged others to do the same. He poured millions of dollars into programming by Voice of America and Prague-based Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, using the airwaves to encourage fledgling pro-democracy movements like Poland's Solidarity.

"During his administration, U.S. citizens at all levels and of all walks of life - politicians, senators, journalists, academics - systematically and repeatedly were visiting Czechoslovakia and other communist countries, meeting the dissidents and the opposition," former Czech dissident Jiri Dienstbier told AP.

"Their open support was very important for our safety and for our position in society," he said.

As his presidency wound down, Reagan lashed out at communism in eastern Europe as "an artificial economic and political system, long imposed on these people against their will."

Within a year, the Berlin Wall had fallen.

"Mr. Reagan, along with Pope John Paul II, was one of the architects who dismantled communism in eastern Europe and stopped the expansion of the Soviet Union," said Ivo Samson, an analyst with the Slovak Foreign Policy Association.

"The fact that today Bulgaria is a member of NATO could happen only after the efforts of this great American president. His name will forever remain in history," said Petko Bocharov, a prominent Bulgarian journalist.

There were some bumps on the road to freedom.

In 1984, while testing a microphone, Reagan cracked a joke that didn't set well with the Soviets at the height of the nuclear arms race. "My fellow Americans, I'm pleased to tell you today that I've signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes," Reagan quipped.

His administration was criticized by human rights activists for waiting until early 1989, the year the brutal Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu was toppled and executed, to withdraw that country's "most favored nation" trade status.

But his speeches, which so often sought to encourage the oppressed while taking aim at their oppressors, stirred a generation.

"For us, Reagan was important because we knew he was really anti-communist, emotionally anti-communist," said Zdenek Kosina, 65, a Czech computer specialist.

"For us, he was a symbol of the United States' genuine determination to bring communism to an end."

Laurentiu Ivan, 35, a customs officer in the Romanian capital, struggled to describe Reagan's legacy and then said: "It is due to him that we are free."

---


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; Extended News; Foreign Affairs; Government; News/Current Events; Russia
KEYWORDS: ap; easterneurope; ronaldreagan
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1 posted on 06/05/2004 3:19:49 PM PDT by Kieri
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To: Kieri

bump


2 posted on 06/05/2004 3:20:44 PM PDT by Velveeta ("Do what's right......because it's right." President Ronald Reagan)
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To: Kieri
"It is due to him that we are free."

This is true for each and every one of us.

3 posted on 06/05/2004 3:24:17 PM PDT by wagglebee
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To: Kieri

Across EASTERN Europe. No gratitude from the ingrates he and we protected from communism.


4 posted on 06/05/2004 3:24:24 PM PDT by blanknoone (Nothing is so dear as self respect which has been earned. John Kerry is a very poor rich man.)
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To: Kieri


5 posted on 06/05/2004 3:24:46 PM PDT by pittsburgh gop guy
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To: Kieri


6 posted on 06/05/2004 3:25:05 PM PDT by perfect stranger
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To: Kieri

"For us, Reagan was important because we knew he was really anti-communist, emotionally anti-communist," said Zdenek Kosina, 65, a Czech computer specialist.

"For us, he was a symbol of the United States' genuine determination to bring communism to an end."

Laurentiu Ivan, 35, a customs officer in the Romanian capital, struggled to describe Reagan's legacy and then said: "It is due to him that we are free."


7 posted on 06/05/2004 3:25:29 PM PDT by jimtorr
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To: perfect stranger

I Remember Ronald Reagan


8 posted on 06/05/2004 3:27:27 PM PDT by Lady GOP
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To: blanknoone

I had the fortune to visit eastern Europe several times in the early 90's and witness the monumental change that occured. It was a fascinating time, President Reagan is owed a great deal of gratitude for hastening the end of the evil empire.


9 posted on 06/05/2004 3:29:20 PM PDT by Central Scrutiniser (Hilarity ensues)
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To: jimtorr

He ended Communism in the Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc countries. Too bad he couldn't end it in the Democrat Party.


10 posted on 06/05/2004 3:29:22 PM PDT by freebilly (Vote Kerry-- 1 Billion Muslims Can't Be Wrong....)
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To: Kieri
Laurentiu Ivan, 35, a customs officer in the Romanian capital, struggled to describe Reagan's legacy and then said: "It is due to him that we are free."
11 posted on 06/05/2004 3:30:15 PM PDT by mdittmar (May God watch over our Military men and women who serve to keep us free.)
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To: Kieri
"Mr. Reagan, along with Pope John Paul II, was one of the architects who dismantled communism in eastern Europe and stopped the expansion of the Soviet Union," said Ivo Samson, an analyst with the Slovak Foreign Policy Association.

Let us not forget the Iron Lady.

12 posted on 06/05/2004 3:30:15 PM PDT by Thane_Banquo
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To: Kieri

Sorry for the duplicate post, but we may be witnessing another historic moment.

The old adage holds that God calls us home when our work here is done. I've a strong sense God picked this hour to call Ronald Reagan home. In some way, I know the passing of Ronald Reagan is going to help cement the opinions of our European allies of the goodness of America on this, the sixtieth anniversary of the D-Day invasion. His passing now may be the last great work God gave Ronald Reagan to undertake.


13 posted on 06/05/2004 3:30:52 PM PDT by backtothestreets
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To: Kieri

As I posted in another thread, our friends in Poland, our allies of the 21st Century, are going to be heart-broken today.


14 posted on 06/05/2004 3:32:07 PM PDT by mabelkitty
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To: Kieri

I never wept for the passing of a public figure until today. He was truly a giant among men. No other American understood his country so well, and no other forward personage so well represented the desire and necessity for human freedom.


15 posted on 06/05/2004 3:33:06 PM PDT by Agnes Heep (Solus cum sola non cogitabuntur orare pater noster)
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To: Kieri
BUMP
16 posted on 06/05/2004 3:33:10 PM PDT by Fraulein
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To: freebilly
Too bad he couldn't end it in the Democrat Party.

Right now Communism is the least of their nasty attributes.

17 posted on 06/05/2004 3:34:29 PM PDT by Agnes Heep (Solus cum sola non cogitabuntur orare pater noster)
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To: Kieri
“Whatever else history may say about me when I’m gone, I hope it will record that I appealed to your best hopes, not your worst fears; to your confidence rather than your doubts. My dream is that you will travel the road ahead with liberty’s lamp guiding your steps and opportunity’s arm steadying your way.”

How do you tell a communist? Well, it?s someone who reads Marx and Lenin. And how do you tell an anti-communist? It?s someone who understands Marx and Lenin.

-President Ronald Wilson Reagan

18 posted on 06/05/2004 3:34:30 PM PDT by wagglebee
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To: knighthawk; McGavin999; SJackson; tet68; sionnsar; Stultis; river rat; risk; F14 Pilot; ...

Similar to today's fight against Islamic Fundamentalism [as opposed to the cold war's Communism] majority in the media claimed that Democracy would not and could not work in former Communist countries and that most these countries embraced dictatorship style regime. President Bush is being lambasted in the same fashion Reagan was for trying to spread global Democracy. Will President Bush be the next Reagan for spreading democracy to the Middle East? I think so.


19 posted on 06/05/2004 3:37:05 PM PDT by freedom44
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To: wagglebee
How do you tell a communist? Well, it?s someone who reads Marx and Lenin.
And how do you tell an anti-communist? It?s someone who understands Marx and Lenin.


Sort of like the old truism:
Democrats are afraid that people will understand the true nature of their program.;
Republicans are afraid for the opposite reason.
20 posted on 06/05/2004 3:38:07 PM PDT by VOA
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To: Thane_Banquo
Let's spend a few moments tonight-while remembering the enduring legacy of President Reagan's stuggle for the emancipation of everyone living behind the Iron Curtain-extending our thoughts to Baroness Thatcher.

She hasn't been in the best of health these past few years, and I think that she deserves some consideration in light of her fragile health.

Even though she was dead wrong about the invasion of Grenada-and migration policy in her native country-she was still a courageous freedom fighter who will always hold a special place in my heart and the hearts of so many others who share her values.

21 posted on 06/05/2004 3:42:18 PM PDT by The Scourge of Yazid (Don't let the light go out! Keep Taiwan strong and free!)
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To: Kieri

Just curious. How did this story get past AP's editors? Are they busy watching the Belmont?


22 posted on 06/05/2004 3:42:58 PM PDT by Tall_Texan ("Vote Democrat - The Election Fraud Specialists.")
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To: Kieri
Leaders, former dissidents and ordinary citizens across eastern Europe expressed gratitude to Ronald Reagan for helping to end decades of "evil empire" communism and Cold War-era oppression.

Uh...any expressions of grattitude from western european leaders yet?? Wouldn't expect it from that pack of communist/muslim "butt kissers".

23 posted on 06/05/2004 3:48:10 PM PDT by kimosabe31
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To: Tall_Texan
Just curious. How did this story get past AP's editors? Are they busy watching the Belmont?

Good question! Even the editors at The Detroit Free Press (aka "Liberal Rag") are asleep at the bat. Their headline?

"Former President Reagan, optimist and patriot, dies at 93"

Followed by:

"A triumpant moment in Detroit: `Reagan comes out swinging'

24 posted on 06/05/2004 3:50:25 PM PDT by Kieri (Who's waiting for the return of her beloved Farscape!)
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To: segis

ping


25 posted on 06/05/2004 3:50:41 PM PDT by austinTparty
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To: ItsonlikeDonkeyKong

Aye. Maggie was a fantastic PM. As some would quip, she is the best man in Europe. I am certain thet her heart is very heavy this day.


26 posted on 06/05/2004 3:56:11 PM PDT by Army Air Corps (Ronald Reagan - The first anti-terror President.)
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To: Kieri
The press typically portrays the fall of the USSR as some sort of gift by Gorbachev without ever crediting Reagan. We will need to review the history books our children read for years to come.
27 posted on 06/05/2004 4:01:27 PM PDT by Incorrigible (immanentizing the eschaton)
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To: Army Air Corps
Most likely.

She was an amazing prime minister.

I'm sure there are still people in the UK who resent her ouster by those backstabbing Conservative MPs back in 1990.

Somehow, I don't believe that John Major will go down in the history books as the natural heir to Churchill's legacy.

28 posted on 06/05/2004 4:03:06 PM PDT by The Scourge of Yazid (Don't let the light go out! Keep Taiwan strong and free!)
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To: Kieri

The RATS will still never give him credit.


29 posted on 06/05/2004 4:03:52 PM PDT by doug from upland (Don't wait until it is too late to stop Hillary -- do something today!)
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To: backtothestreets

That is what I thought immediately! Just so.


30 posted on 06/05/2004 4:13:21 PM PDT by CasearianDaoist
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To: Agnes Heep
I wept when Churchill died (though I was just a boy.) There was a similar worldwide pause for reflection.
31 posted on 06/05/2004 4:15:07 PM PDT by CasearianDaoist
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To: Incorrigible

NO! We will need to WRITE the history books of our children. The leftists have proven they cannot be trusted with our records, so we MUST take them back!


32 posted on 06/05/2004 4:18:18 PM PDT by mabelkitty
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To: freedom44

Oddly enought CNN's WH correspondent,John King and Aaron Brown said Bush is a lot like Reagan..now whether they think that is very good...I wonder, but it sounded favorable.


33 posted on 06/05/2004 4:18:27 PM PDT by MEG33 (John Kerry's been AWOL for two decades on issues of National Security)
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To: Kieri

Since I have been living half of my time in Slovkia for the last 2 years, I posted this to the Slovensko.com forum:

"The one man who did more then anyone to set central and east Europe free from communist rule has died. Ronald Reagan died in peace at his home today.

Slovaks, as well as all people of Europe should pray for the man that stood in Berlin and said "Tear down this wall"."


34 posted on 06/05/2004 4:20:33 PM PDT by AlexW
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To: mabelkitty

I agree but the people who write textbooks (assemble is probably a better word) are pretty much all libs. And the people who buy them in the school administrations are pretty much all libs.

The way my high school history teacher handled this was to set aside the textbook and get us to read real books that provided a clear view of history.

"The Fabric of Freedom" comes to mind.


35 posted on 06/05/2004 4:22:32 PM PDT by Incorrigible (immanentizing the eschaton)
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To: Kieri

I think historians on all sides of the aisle will always shine a bright star on this former Democrat turned conservative Republican. May he rest in peace.


36 posted on 06/05/2004 4:24:19 PM PDT by summer
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To: MizSterious; rebdov; Nix 2; green lantern; BeOSUser; Brad's Gramma; dreadme; Turk2; keri; ...
Europe-list

If people want on or off this list, please let me know.

37 posted on 06/05/2004 4:24:29 PM PDT by knighthawk (We will always remember We will always be proud We will always be prepared so we may always be free)
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To: freedom44
Will President Bush be the next Reagan for spreading democracy to the Middle East? I think so.

If we just don't lose heart.

38 posted on 06/05/2004 4:35:42 PM PDT by marron
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To: Agnes Heep
"I never wept for the passing of a public figure until today."

I cried a few years ago at the all star game when Ted Williams couldn't find home plate and had to be helped out of the golf cart.

I'm crying harder now.

39 posted on 06/05/2004 4:55:19 PM PDT by muir_redwoods
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To: MEG33
That's funny, because usually, the only time that those type of comparisons are trotted out, is when members of the elite media wish to denigrate the accomplishments of President Bush.

Hopefully, the president will be able to continue Pres. Reagan's legacy in his attempts to preserve unborn human life.

I also think that he's done a pretty good job of standing up to the tin horn dictators-Mahatir Muhammed, Charles Taylor, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, Saddam Hussein, inter alios-that Reagan showed such well-earned contempt for during his tenure in office.

40 posted on 06/05/2004 4:59:36 PM PDT by The Scourge of Yazid (Don't let the light go out! Keep Taiwan strong and free!)
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To: ItsonlikeDonkeyKong

I turned away from the computer and looked to see who was saying it!


41 posted on 06/05/2004 5:01:44 PM PDT by MEG33 (John Kerry's been AWOL for two decades on issues of National Security)
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To: Central Scrutiniser
R. Emmett Tyrell wrote a brilliant piece for The American Spectator, which explored the radical transformation that had occurred on the island nation of Grenada in the years since the humanitarian intervention of the United States.

Even though that specific event wasn't the theme of Tyrell's piece-the topic of Grenada was framed within the context of his recent vacation to the Caribbean island-it did serve to illustrate his main point.

Namely, that President Reagan's legacy of resisting the encroachments of worldwide Soviet domination were ultimately beneficial for all of mankind.

42 posted on 06/05/2004 5:04:14 PM PDT by The Scourge of Yazid (Don't let the light go out! Keep Taiwan strong and free!)
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To: MEG33
Sometimes I'm actually glad that I don't have access to cable television.

This is probably one of those rare moments when I should feel grateful that I don't have to tune in to MSNBC or CNN.

43 posted on 06/05/2004 5:10:53 PM PDT by The Scourge of Yazid (Don't let the light go out! Keep Taiwan strong and free!)
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To: ItsonlikeDonkeyKong

That was a channel surfing moment...Fox has been terrific on this.


44 posted on 06/05/2004 5:13:18 PM PDT by MEG33 (John Kerry's been AWOL for two decades on issues of National Security)
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To: MEG33
I can imagine.

I just wish my TV weren't on the blink, otherwise I'd be able to watch "Fox News Sunday."

I'd love to hear what Brit Hume has to say in the wake of President Reagan's lamentable passing.

45 posted on 06/05/2004 5:18:54 PM PDT by The Scourge of Yazid (Don't let the light go out! Keep Taiwan strong and free!)
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To: Agnes Heep

"....and no other forward personage so well represented the desire and necessity for human freedom."

Very well put, Agnes. I was watching Fox News coverage and one of Mr. Reagan's former staffers said that he understood freedom as a "universal imperitive" in a way that so few of our leaders ever have. It occurs to me that that is what is missing in the controversy today over the war on terrorism.


46 posted on 06/05/2004 5:20:19 PM PDT by phil_will1
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To: ItsonlikeDonkeyKong

Look on the sidebar just at 9 est and get on the live thread..Live Sunday Morning Shows..


47 posted on 06/05/2004 5:22:01 PM PDT by MEG33 (John Kerry's been AWOL for two decades on issues of National Security)
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To: Tall_Texan; Kieri

How did this story get past AP's editors?

Weekend staffing comes through again.

Coincidentally, recall that it was on a weekend that the Wall came down. All the caviar eating fat cats were out of town and none of the bureaucrats dared issue an order that would be second guessed later. It was safer to do nothing than to be sacked for giving the order that would spill blood in the streets of Berlin.

48 posted on 06/05/2004 5:22:58 PM PDT by concentric circles
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To: knighthawk; Kieri

May Ronald Reagan live long in our memories. The world has lost a great one today!


49 posted on 06/05/2004 5:28:20 PM PDT by TheLion
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To: concentric circles
Let's just remember that the cretinous, communist slime who tried to stare down President Reagan-Mariam Mengistu, Nicolai Ceaucescu, Jarulzelski, Enver Hoxha, etc., are all either deceased, imprisoned/awaiting trial, or living permanently in exile.

Don't mess with Texas and don't mess with Reagan!

Two adages that should not be forgotten by the despotic tin-pot dictators currently flouting the laws of international decency and human rights.

50 posted on 06/05/2004 5:32:58 PM PDT by The Scourge of Yazid (Don't let the light go out! Keep Taiwan strong and free!)
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