‘Moon Over’ chapter alert and author’s notes!
Those two Russian guys hanging around outside Ian’s apartment? They’re getting bold. But what are they doing blocking Ian’s path on the sidewalk? And where the hell is Dima? Has the gang underestimated what they’ve gotten themselves into? Borin hasn’t underestimated anything, and he’s at Checkpoint Charlie now, headed into West Berlin. In civilian clothes. What’s he up to?
Until reunification in 1990, Berlin was an occupied city administered by the Four Powers Agreement. The US, UK, France, and the USSR each controlled one occupied “zone” of the city. The Soviet Union walled off the American, French, and British zones to keep East Germans out, but all soldiers of the Allied armies of occupation had the technical right to enter and travel in any zone.
When I was stationed in Berlin, I often took advantage of the right to visit East Berlin. In order to pass out of the American zone at Checkpoint Charlie, I had to present military travel orders to the American border guards. Obtaining orders was a matter of routine.
To cross into the Soviet zone, orders were not required, but proof of service in the American Army of occupation was. My travel orders sufficed for that purpose. The Russian and East German border guards at Checkpoint Charlie were singularly unhumorous. I don’t know if they were taught be harsh and intimidating, but they were very good at it. Sometimes I spoke Russian to the Soviet soldiers at Checkpoint Charlie. They didn’t like that. Upset their equilibrium.
Soviet soldiers rarely ever visited the western zones. Officers did once in a while, but travel to the east dwarfed travel to the west.
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