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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Yeltsin in Berlin for Farewell

President Boris Yeltsin arrived in Berlin on Tuesday to take part in farewell ceremonies marking the final withdrawal of Russian troops after 50 years, under an agreement signed by Moscow and Bonn in 1990.


Yeltsin told reporters at Berlin's Tegel airport that the departure of the troops, who helped defeat Hitler and stayed for the duration of the Cold War, was an historic event.


Although the Soviet army played a major role in defeating Hitler's Nazis, Yeltsin said that "today one can no longer speak of victors and vanquished."


Before his departure from Moscow, Yeltsin told reporters that the pullout would further improve relations between the two countries.


"As long as you have another country's soldiers on your territory, there is always ground for misunderstanding," Yeltsin said.


Inside Russia, the feelings of the population about the withdrawal appeared to be mixed. Intensely patriotic, many Russians still resent the fact that the Soviet collapse transformed their motherland from world power to struggling outsider.


"It's good we are leaving, it's high time," the semi-official daily Rossiiskaya Gazeta said in a front-page story on the withdrawal Tuesday. "But there is a trace of bitterness in the elated mood of today's celebrations."