“The implosion of East Germany in the following months marked a huge rupture in his and his family’s life.
“We had the horrible feeling that the country that had almost become our home would no longer exist,” said his wife Ludmila.
“My neighbour, who was my friend, cried for a week. It was the collapse of everything – their lives, their careers.”
One of Putin’s key Stasi contacts, Maj Gen Horst Boehm – the man who had helped him install that precious telephone line for an informer – was humiliated by the demonstrating crowds, and committed suicide early in 1990.”