Exclusive: Inside the Kremlin as the Berlin Wall Fell

Nor was Gorbachev's position clear. "I told Baker I needed to talk to Gorbachev. I remember calling him and explaining the plan to form a working group -- the so called Two Plus Four, meaning East and West Germany and the winners of the Second World War, U.S., France, United Kingdom and Soviet Union -- to work on the reunification.

"He was silent for two minutes, then said something like 'You know what, Eduard? Sooner or later this matter has to be resolved.' It was a yes."

There were many who disagreed in Moscow, especially in the Politburo and the army ranks. Chief of Staff Sergei Akhromeyev was against it since the Soviet Army would have to withdraw, and a unified Germany would swell NATO with some 370,000 troops. It was a lot to digest.

"Don't forget that over 20 million people from the Soviet Union died in the Second World War. For many people giving up Germany was like forgetting that human sacrifice," Shevardnadze said.

Eventually the waves set off by perestroika and the downfall of the Berlin Wall reached the Kremlin, he said.

Shevardnadze has engraved in his mind the words he used to described the USSR to Gorbachev during a meal in early 1980s while the two friends were on a holiday on the lush coast of Abkhazia, on the Black Sea. Gorbachev had not yet risen to the presidency of the Soviet Union.

"The system is rotten," Shevardnadze told his future boss. Together, they presided over the break-up of the USSR.

After the Soviet Union was dissolved, Shevardnadze returned to Georgia and served as his country's president from 1995 to 2003 when the "Rose Revolution" toppled him.

He has since retired from the public life. Today from his residence overlooking Tbilisi, surrounded by beautiful Caucasus shepherd dogs and high trees, he welcomes President Obama as "the man with a vision."

"His decision to not deploy a missile shield in central Europe shows prudence. The plan created the premises for a new Cold War as Russia considered it a direct threat and was planning to deploy rockets in Kaliningrad (a Russian enclave near Poland) in retaliation," he said.

For the man who believed in the end of the Cold War, those times should not return. Asked if he's got any regrets, he shakes his head. "I would do all of it again. We ended the Cold War, stopped the armaments race, and created a new world order."

"Today the world is a safer place," he said.

A rainbow-colored stone in his study serves to remind him that he helped write that chapter of history.

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