If we were to recall recent history, we would remember that a vast army of 300,000 Soviet troops along with 5,000 tanks, 1,500 aircraft and 10,000 artillery pieces (including tactical nuclear weapons) simply left the then just-united Germany without firing a shot.
It was an operation unprecedented in scope and brevity, when the entire Soviet army withdrew literally to open fields. Tens of thousands of Soviet officers, obeying the orders of the supreme command, went from their warm barracks to live in moldy tents set up in the middle of sodden snow-covered fields. In many instances along with their families.
For hope. Hope that the dark pages of history between our two countries were finally and forever past. Hope that we no longer have to keep armies of tanks in the center of Europe, and that Europe would respect and consider our interests. Hope that in a united Germany we would have a good friend and ally, with whom Russia would fulfill the dream of Charles de Gaulle of a united Europe stretching from Lisbon to Vladivostok.
When our armies were leaving Germany, our soldiers were told that Germany had recognized and redeemed its mistakes of the past, there were no undecided issues with Germany, and that we would no longer hear German voices calling for retribution against Russia, therefore we did not need our Army of tanks positioned in the middle of Europe.