Film Review – DUNKIRK by Christopher Nolan

How did I watch the movie ?

It is important as I am no professional reviewer. The idea to watch the movie struck my mind at 10 am in the morning. I watched the movie at 11 am in an almost empty theatre in Calcutta. I advised my “business and personal network” that I am going for a very important client meeting ! This ensured no calls.

100 word historical background of the movie 

The evacuation of Dunkirk is one of the greatest mysteries of World War II. It is still not known why Hitler’s Panzers not did follow-through and decimate almost 3,00,000 trapped French and British Armies in Dunkirk. Eventually, the doomed army was delivered in one of the greatest military evacuation  in history, assisted by civilians with all sorts of vessels from the English coast. This was the swan song in greatness of British Navy and the British Empire.

The movie is seen through the eyes of some common soldiers – petrified and trying to survive.

image 1

Opening scene :our surrounded soldiers find one of this airdropped by the Germans


What Bollywood’s producers and consumers (viewers in India and people of Indian origin in other geographies) of movies may  consider and reflect (however painful) in the movie ?

  • In spite of all temptations in terms of the locales, visuals and the grand historical event, the director did not thread a romance / elopement in the story. It would have been as sacrilegious as putting the same in Euclid’s Fifth Postulate.
  • There was no song – patriotic, romantic or not. Nothing. Only a background score that you forget most of the time because you find your ear in your lower abdomen throbbing in terror and mortal fear as what happens next. Movies must move, it must – otherwise you can have a radio drama. Making great movies is not the line of work of faint-hearts.
  • From the first shot to the last, the Director was respectful to three things – time of his own, time of the film’s time, time of the audience – to tell his story. Most of our Indian films literally consider that man’s soul is eternal and hence in 99.9% of the cases, it is always excess, everything in excess. No one knows when to stop or how to stop.
  •  Details money cannot buy : Every building, the paint in the spitfires and Messerschmidt and Hurricanes, the destroyers – all were period authentic. Many of our directors cannot take the ruse under the classic alibi now – “We are poor Sir, no budget Sir, we have none Sir…” No Sir, I disagree. You use 150 crores in a movie and to show what – stars with camera monopoly and nawabi weddings and nautch . Sorry – this alibi will not work.
  • International Appeal : The movie does not need any exposure to English, French, German, Dutch culture or history to absorb the essentials – the essential being Death in its multi-dimensional instantaneous form. The movie does not need any commentary – it is self-contained and self-effulgent. It has no specific target audience (like NRI brothers and sisters) – it is for any one who loves movies without any agenda for the sheer pleasure that only movie can provide.
  • Handling Emotion : One of the most mysterious aspect of movies (or even talkies) is the memory of emotion. Great Directors know this art – many directors with rich producers do not have this. There was no long lecture or perorations even though Churchill’s memorable peroration of “…. we shall never surrender” was depicted minus  its demagogic effect. It was communicated in an undertone.



image 2

This is depicted from land, water and air and they create a new view

I do not think most of our film directors will reflect on this and so will be their viewers. But things are changing. I was told that the last travelogue film – JHMS did not receive very warm reception in domestic market although it does matter little for the team that has made the film. Strange ? How come it does not matter for the entire film-making team if domestic market does not watch it in the theatres ? The Great Risk Mitigation by Indian Film Industry – a read that will be like Sherlock Holmes Report. Capital, Watson

What we, decent and white collar professionals from India can learn from the comparative analysis of this film while comparing majority of  our “blockbuster” films ?

Bollywood and Indian IT both have a fundamental problem – both became “cash rich” very fast and the going was so good that even though some top people always knew but none acted. They knew that once things change, they will be caught unaware. There will be no retreat.

Trust no present, however pleasant. 

Aram haram hain. 

Your clients and users who are not challenging you but lionizing you with their talk, purse and emotion are themselves ill-prepared for the future and will be decimated when “jamana karbat badalte hain.”

I find the same oily smiles, a satisfied look and thoughtless calm in the faces of so called successful people of Bollywood and Indian IT industry.

They will not remain such much longer.


Entertainment Industry in India – outsider’s analysis

This post will try to answer two questions that you might have asked. If you think these are non-questions, do not waste time. This post is not for you.

This post will help you if you are an entrepreneur or interested to start a business. This will provide a clue as how to de-risk your business. Read the questions first. After reading the post, you will be either nodding your head or will become angry. Either way, you read this Film Review which concertizes the whole argument in the post.

Question 1 : How come Bollywood or for that matter our national film industries continue to produce so  many “flops” – commercially, creatively, artistically ?  How people who fund these “products” endure ?

Question 2: How Indian TV soap operas operate for days, weeks, months and years without audience becoming bored and stopping to watch ?

Answer to Question 1 

Since the first Indian feature film some seventy years back till 2005/05, films were produced by people in India who were filmwallahas, hope you get the idea. They did not have MBA or other fancy degrees and were not employed by multi-national corporations.  Their capital was a mixed one – personal debt, debt at 30% interest from merchants and businessmen and then from businesses of ill-repute. The predominant revenue was from sale of tickets, i.e when people used to go to movie theaters and purchased tickets to watch the movie.  There was distributor, exhibitor, movie theater owner and the end user. More people watched a movie, more money was made for all the people in the chain.  Thus, commercial success of a movie was directly dependent on people paying for watching it in a theater. 

The whole business was risky and it only attracted and retained people who loved films – irrespective of taste or idea on cinematic quality.

International Studios entered Indian film industry as a maker of films.  They immediately recruited MBAs from top institutes (little understanding that most of them did go to these institutes to have a better station in life, neither loving business or its administration and having little creative urge – either for film or for any creative art.) who went into overdrive. 

The home-grown industry has discovered by that time that it is infinitely risky to depend on a film’s “success” on the old model – footfalls in the theaters. So  they structured their revenue mix in such a way that before the film is being made, contracts were signed with satellite TV, music rights, Internet rights, advertising and many such things. In order to convince those buyers (or those who are going to bear the major risk), huge marketing expense is made. Hence you shall see that A-star actors roam like over-worked salesman, “promoting” the movies. They “are” not promoting the movies under promotion per se, but convincing the other “revenue stream providers” convinced that their interest is being taken care of. This exercise ensures 70-85% of the cost being recouped even before the movie is released. 

This business method is reinforced by the following factors :

a. Fickle nature of the audience – Indian audience has been exposed for two decades to many things on which neither the Indian state nor the Indian civilization  had neither any seminal contribution nor any control. For example, Internet.

b. Most of the A-star actors endorse various brands as well – including global brands and they were chosen for their “area of operation” in India – a very large market. It is immaterial for the brands to know whether they are good / bad / ugly actor. In other words, acting skills do not come into the equation as long as the brand-donkey bears the load of the Indian Market.

c. Except the sensor board, ALL players in the industry are freelancers in some way or other. Whether it is A-rate actor,director or producer – everybody has the freelancer’s insecurity and terrible professional jealousy.  So, all of them are searching for avenues to mitigate risk and this business model offers quite significant mitigation of risk.

It is because of this business model, you go to a theatre ( pushed also by the incessant promotion and hype) and you watch a movie and then you ask yourself why did you land up here ?

Answer to Question 2 

One word answer : Populous country.  Every populous country can comfortably rely on statistics on every issue.

Supposing a country of 1 crore (10 million) people, let us do the math

Total days to broadcast in a year  = 365 – 52 (except sundays) = 313 days * 3 hours ( 7 pm – 10 pm) and let us consider 1000 hours of prime time. In other way, 10 million * 3 hours = 30 million hours is the total time you have with you. You need to insert the 1000 hours within some “grid” of 30 million hours.

Now, India – 100 crore (1 billion) and you need to map the 1000 hours into this grid of 1 billion hours. It is quite clear that of this 1 billion hours, there will be a significantly high population that will consider anything in that 1000 hours watch-worthy. Even if the camera looks into an empty room for 1 hour !

It is simply statistics. Nothing else can explain this phenomenon.

Only one question remains to be asked : why advertisers find this attractive to sponsor these soap operas ? They must be getting something out of it.

Of course they do.  They also get warmed up by the statistical glow – 400 million people watching your advert – although it is also clear that majority of the people who watch these adverts do not fall into any customer segment of the product being advertised ! Yes, it is true.


I have highest regard for the freelancers in these industries in various departments. I know what it takes to deliver in spite of ever present insecurity, dealing with predators of various kinds specific to third-world economies, competition of a typical kind in a populous country and the soul-crushing pettiness of professional rivalry in these industries.

In the bygone era, things were brutal but there was a grandeur in the industry where some extremely passionate people stood directly in front of the end-user.  For this courage and risk, we do remember them – not only for the technical aspects. They were more autonomous and free.

The current business model has provided security but at what cost !!!!  The first world business model is imposed on an industry with different evolutionary path and the Indian men and women who are “installed”by the “international studios” do not have access to the “soul” of the industry.  The mediocrity is written all over.

In passing, similar thing has happened in IPL. I read in the newspaper that when first teams were brought and sold, there were these “managers” who dared to ask a batsman f the class of Dravid as why did he play the way he did ?

The “manager” who asked this most likely can be mapped as below :

“A lower middle or middle class youth who had invested his entire youth to get into the I-institute – technology or management does not matter. His entire knowledge of life came from text books, TV and men of the same class of the same world-view. He never played any game for pleasure or played an instrument as to cultivate some high culture. An I-pad brandishing peasant, his only identification is the job he holds as a manager.”

This man now goes and asks as why one of the greatest batsman of the world played the way he played.

This is the greatest tragedy of our populous nation.

Business Suit, Tie, Business Conference

I have a friend, a business owner who attends or at least tries to attend most of the business conferences / conclaves / meet / summit / workshop in the city. I have always wondered at his energy and drive. In this narrow domain, he exemplifies the command in the Bhagawad-Gita : “To work, you have the right, not to the outcome thereof.”

I, on the other side of the spectrum always have a gnawing question : “What will be the result ? The outcome ?”  My thinking instead of clearing my confusion, clouds my judgement.

To my readers, I sketch below the thoughts that come while I put my suit and tie and start for the campaign with all the chatter of the mind.

  • I ask myself whether in such a crowd, will someone listen to what I am going to say ? What will be the attention span ? Isn’t the campaign more looks like getting a date in a party ? I am a shy person and this is not my area of expertise. 
  • Then I did see many “repeat” faces and some “conference rats” who nod and then go their own way. 
  • I have also observed that some have been forced to attend the conference, i.e. they “represent” some entity and it is part of their day-job. Most of them roam listlessly with a vacant expression and wait eagerly for three sessions : Lunch, coffee, cocktail. 
  • I have also observed a species whom I call “Business Card Hunter” – they gather business cards from all in a sundry with great enthusiasm and alacrity.  It has become a habit as I have been asked multiple times by the same person and when I had mentioned that I had already parted with that piece of paper, he apologized and moved away. 
  • There is another group that I call as “Yes, we can group” –  they do not listen to and do not ask anything. They have understood everything before you or anyone has spoken anything and they have “solutions” for the problems. They will ask for a meet later to discuss further but they obstinately refuse to listen to. 
  • The Evidence Man – Twenty years back, when I was a Federal Government of India Officer, there was always the admonition to keep all receipts and vouchers for claiming TA / DA (Travel Allowance / Dearness Allowance) after the business tour. These were the evidences that you had traveled, stayed, slept, eaten etc. In Conferences, I see many men and women who gather evidence with the same intensity – photos with suitable background, face-book and other social media uploads etc. I do not know but do this incentive or catalyze business ? If yes, how ?

A personal Realization 

I was thinking that business is a very intimate affair if we consider the fact that getting a new paying client is extending one’s hand inside the purse of the business, the sanctum sanctorum and extracting its expense as one’s income.

This is no fly-by thing. This process cannot be cultivated in a crowd. This cannot be left to the whims of situation or mood. This must be very very attentive process from both the parties.

One way is to research and design a message that penetrates the very core of the business one is targeting.

Such conferences perhaps provide one with the face, name and some visible ensigns of the tagged target.

Selecting a Target and Penetrating the target are not the same thing.

Customer, Engagement and beyond

“For those who understand what is a customer, no training is needed. Those who do not understand, no training is sufficient.”

Rains of Bengal is at the root of her immense fertility. This is also the season when she becomes fatal in terms of water-borne diseases. I became victim and suffered for almost a week, most likely a salmonella infection.

Before that, I happened to deliver a workshop, attended by 30+ business owners / managers / entrepreneurs on the theme of Customer Engagement. My brief presentation was followed by  Sales Philosopher and Thinker Mr. Kaushik Bhattacharya  who discussed in detail the theme of Customer Loyalty and Advocacy. 

A summary of my reflections :

Question : Who is a customer ?

Answer : Prime Cause of your business, sometimes un-caused. If you accept this definition, then a customer is an abstraction – a cause and hence one can say that customer engagement is “continued research.

Any research pre-supposes a starting point – a baseline and then a re-search continues. A matrix


The above matrix is deceptively simple but business of all variety, type, objectives of now or of anytime will satisfy some of the co-ordinates.

At this point, I asked : “Do you have any definition of customer from your own experience?”

One gentleman replied : “A customer is someone who always asks for discount ?”

Why ?

Because we gave some discount once…..

Did he ask for it explicitly ?

No – we felt.

How ?

Because he did not show the level of interest we wish they had..

Oh, so you offered discount to amplify his interest towards your proposal although he did not explicitly mention this.

Yes, sort of…

Note something interesting happening here. A proposal (may be to a stranger or to an existing customer) is sent – waiting  to trigger “interest” from them. Then, to have them interested, a bribe in the form of discount is offered. Yes, repeat – bribe.  There were no explicit communication from client telling :

a) I find the proposal very interesting.

b) I wish I could afford this at the current pricing with value pack.

c) I cannot afford now but will you see whether some value / price trade-off can be done ?

A discount without taking into account the whole value pack of the service / product is offered which means – a bribe.  To bye-pass the interest-counter offer- reconfiguration of the value pack – closure cycle.

Twenty years back, I used to be the junior most member of a negotiating team. I was working in a very large telecom service monopoly and the vendor was one of the largest Japanese telecom OEM of that time.

A dramatized summary

TM (Telecom Service Monopoly) Rep : (thumping on the table) : No, you must give us at least 20% discount on the total. Such a large order and more to come. 

Japanese OEM : The older Japanese man, heading the Division listened to, looked sideways with his colleagues, sought permission to speak in Japanese. They spoke for 2-3 mins. He cleared his throat and said that he could not take such an unilateral decision on price as the deal is very complex.

TM : No, you must.Let us meet tomorrow again but I am telling you, without a discount, superior authorities will not allow the deal. We have very strict purchase rules and procedures.

Next day, the Japanese Team came and we all went for the Battle. 20% money we are surely going to save for our organization. Our leader was up-beat and as soon as the Japanese team said that they did agree to such a discount, I could see our leader beaming. Then, he added that he had modified the offer – nothing major and submitted the offer once again – signed and sealed and with a cover letter. It was clear, they had worked the whole day.

Since I was the junior-most fellow, was entrusted with the responsibility to verify the changes. Bosses left happily – Mission accomplished.

I took the documents ( some 500 pages each) home and started checking.  Everything identical. Everything except in the Post-Commissioning Service Agreement where the previous offer had free support for 4 years including all hardware, now, the free support is for 3 years and leaves some of the peripheral hardware out of free replacement. The Cover Letter did mention that clearly.

Sign on the dotted line.

Conclusion : The Japanese Team had a business imperative to fulfill – to satisfy client’s psychological need of 20% reduction on price and they did. But they did so by unpacking the whole value chain delicately, hedged risk and offered their re-configured value chain in black and white. And with highest courtesy and cool.


I must add something that is generally not spoken in such workshops – Firing Customer or Disengagement. 

In India, we all know the age-old tradition of matching horoscopes before marriage. Many of my readers in India must have their horoscopes passed through the 32-point Basic Test, followed by 128 point microscopic check as per Indian Astrological Framework. Your customer and your horoscopes also get “entanglement” as two particles in Quantum Physics are entangled.

Now, it might so happen that a few customers will be such positioned that they will influence such a way that you shall have your energy sapped, mind disturbed and peace of mind destroyed. What is to be done ?

If everything fails, Fire the customer. Yes, Dis-engage artfully.

The moment dis-engagement happens, your very vitality and sense of being broken free will invite more entanglements.

Your business is like a force-field. Some “entanglement” was restricting the field lines.

Your business will have better magnetic power to attract and retain more valuable customers.

I thank my audience for listening then and now, I  thank you for reading this.




Guest Quartet – “An extra in Relationship” by Mallika Chatterjee – a 4 part prose-work releasing soon

Wordsmith University – Freelancer Business and Life school and Wordcon-  Collaborative Platform for Indian Freelancers, commissioned a 4-part prose-work on a theme highly salacious for the vulgar horde but profoundly important for the thoughtful. Thoughtful about the contemporary Life and Times – for us and for our children.

Our formal education, in most of the cases do not train us on 2 most important themes / subjects / problems : a) what career should I choose and b) how to handle relationships of all kinds.


Wordcon Edit-Team, led by Himangshu helped the series – “An extra in relationship”, to be presented by Ms. Mallika Chatterjee, CEO of Good Cause Technologies, daughter, wife, mother, observer, social media regular and we call her – a native-bidushi of Calcutta.

Stay tuned. Stay thoughtful.

Wordsmith Speaking Engagement – BNCCI ,Calcutta on “Best ways of customer engagement”

[To ALL PIN codes of Calcutta]

Transmission Starts
Pritam B Wordsmith and Kaushik “Rainmaker” Bhattacharya deliberating on the eve of the Workshop tomorrow at BNCCI House “Best ways of Customer Engagement”, from 2:30 pm to 6:30 pm.



The deliberations took place in a PIN code of Calcutta which can be termed as the “PIN code that was the epi-centre of modern Indian consciousness.”

The workshop will feature “radio-logical examination” of your business, followed by therapy. Unlike super-specialists with poverty of time, the specialists here will involve you completely in the diagnosis and therapy sessions. Your business will thank you for it.

This will be NO ordinary standard issue workshop. This is a promise, in the name of words.
Transmission Ends.

Geopolitics and Cyber security – the context of India – Part I

The Connection

One may ask as what can be the connection between geopolitics and cyber security. The purpose of this post is to discover that connection and then from these premises try to set out the direction of this global theme of Cyber security in case of India.

It is very unfortunate that India, in spite of many great achievements in many areas, did not produce first rate geopolitical thinkers. As long as India was part of the British Empire, the Empire bore the burden of geopolitical thought and initiatives, for better or for worse. Post-independence, we were too busy in economic front and we did produce very top rated economic thinkers. However, geography is destiny, economic destiny included and it is only now, when the whole geopolitical configuration of our region and the world as a whole is being re-shaped (described below) we are taking note of the implications.

In order to reach to the heart of the matter, i.e. to explore the connection between geopolitics and cyber security, some observations (answers will follow at the end of the post)

  • Why did Russia always try to have some buffer in the East? Why is Russia so interested in Crimea?
  • Why did Poland send troops in Middle East wars?
  • Why did Australia do the same?
  • Why did British fight Afghan War?
  • Who helped British to break Enigma code, the code used by Germany in 2nd world war and that ensured sure defeat for German Army as early as 1940?
  • Why did Ottoman Empire try to take Vienna again and again?
  • Why do all major empires of the West land up in Afghanistan?
  • Why every empire of India could hold Gujarat and Bengal at the same time?
  • Why did Gulf states develop very profitable airlines?
  • Why Burma and Sri Lanka are becoming close allies of China?
  • Why did Communist Germany build the most extensive state owned surveillance system of the world after Second World War?

Geo-politics is a game – a game played by powers – great and small, strengthened or hindered by geographical location of its strategic assets and strategic interests and cyber infrastructure is one such asset.

A fundamental and obvious tenet of geo-political thinking is to accept the rules of geography.

World Geopolitics and India: Last 300 years

In 1707, Aurangzeb, the last Mughal Emperor of India died. Eight years back, East India Company received its royal charter to trade. But something more profound was happening in the region which we call Turkey today.

Ottoman Empire – one of the greatest multi-cultural empires of the world and once master of the Mediterranean with capital in Istanbul was declining rapidly. It was losing territory and especially its control on the maritime trading fleet that was passing from West to East, especially to India.  This was the first geopolitical reconfiguration (GPC /INDIA 1.0) that had profound impact on Indian history.

The next major reconfiguration (GPC / INDIA 2.0) came in early 1900s when Middle East oil became a world strategic asset and all major powers were involved in the region. All the Middle East crises of today had their seeds planted at that time. The seed in its essence is geo-politics. British Empire was well secured in India, especially in South, West and East as there were no major challengers and British Navy was the best of that time. Rather, it was the British Navy that was the guardian of the Empire. In the Second World War, airplanes, especially aircraft carriers changed the balance and as Empire withdrew, so withdrew British Navy from the world stage as the “master of the waves”.  However, in the North West, Russia was the great challenger and Afghanistan was the buffer zone and any army that crossed Afghanistan would threaten Delhi and whole upper Gangatic Valley till Bengal. Why? Because – from Punjab to Bengal there is no natural barrier at all. Russians know this too well because from the East, there is no natural barrier till Moscow and this always invited warlords – Napoleon and Hitler included.  Thus Afghanistan, the buffer zone must be neutralized and that was the reason of two Afghan wars.

As a side note, in the start of this new millennium, another dimension of trade (export / import of services) started via telecom networks between East and West. This did not diminish or was not at the expense of the maritime trade of goods. But this created “invisible, mobile assets” just like a ship carrying valuables was.  Hence, the geopolitics of the asset remained same, but its mode changed. For example, what were pirates to maritime shipping, hackers are to cyber assets!

The current GPC/INDIA/version 3.0 is unfolding in front of our eyes and geographically much closer to us – the shadow of China is on the world stage. It remains to be seen how the events will unfold but such an event will have moderate to severe geopolitical tremors as we are very close to the epicentre.

India has considerable cyber assets and it has joined this new asset class big time. A significant portion of India’s GDP is on this “invisible and mobile” asset class that touches major strategic tangible assets. So, concern of cyber security for India this time is because of the present historical evolution and not on cyber security per se. Aboriginals living off from the civilization in jungles of Andaman have no risk nor any interest in cyber security. Hope I could make this clear.

In the next post, we shall deliberate on the direction this new asset class threat will take, its counter measures and how this itself will fuel geo-political co-operation, consensus and re-alignment.

Answers to Questions

  • Why did Russia always try to have some buffer in the East? Why is Russia so interested in Crimea?

# Russian plains are a great vulnerability for Russia. Through Crimea, Russia has access to ocean though an all weather port. All other ports of Russia remain frozen or locked and are not open all over the year.

  • Why did Poland send troops in Middle East wars?

# Poland is a victim of geography and all major powers – Russia, Germany, France, UK in various periods created a specific Polish psyche of insecurity and resilience. Poland is looking for a security guarantor and it is choosing US through NATO. Hence Polish forces are in the coalition although Poland has no direct interest in Middle East.

  • Why did Australia do the same?

# If the domaint naval power is not kept happy, Australia will perish without supplies.

  • Why did British fight Afghan War?

# To protect the greatest strategic asset – India so that a buffer may be created between Russia and India. Calcutta, the 2nd largest city of the Empire was 2500km away and between Punjab and Bengal, there is no natural barrier except some rivers which a determined Army can easily overcome with aerial cover.

  • Who helped British to break Enigma code, the code used by Germany in 2nd world war and that ensured sure defeat for German Army as early as 1940?

# National self-interest and geo-political wisdom. With France capitulated, there was no way to stop German advance in direct manner but to anticipate their moves in advance and through covert means.

  • Why did Ottoman Empire try to take Vienna again and again?

# In order to have their foothold in Europe, Ottaman Army needed a supply choke point. Their supply lines anything ahead of Vienna would have made the army vulnerable (what happened to Hitler’s General Paulus’ sixth army in Russia in 2nd world war) and it may wither away at any counter-attack. It is interesting to note that Ottamans never crossed the Gates of Vienna.

  • Why do all major empires of the West land up in Afghanistan?

# The prize of India and having a strategic location in the geo-political pinnacle.

  • Why every empire of India could hold Gujarat and Bengal at the same time?

#  All major empires of India depended on Bengal for food grain and craft and Gujrat for West bound trade. It was always easier for a fast and disciplined army to cover the vast plains and advance very quickly.

 Why did Gulf states develop very profitable airlines?

# Cheap oil and very strategic location while we compare best optimized flying time and performance of modern aircrafts.

  • Why Burma and Sri Lanka are becoming close allies of China?

# China has no direct access to Indian Ocean.  Burma is one choke point from South China Sea to Bay of Bengal and Sri Lanka is the next choke point in the Indian ocean. In the West, the post of Ghadar in Pakistan is a direct drop and passes through Kashmir.

  • Why did Communist Germany build the most extensive state owned surveillance system of the world after Second World War?

 # There was no physical barrier between West and East Germany and it was easy for citizens to just walk from one side to the other. Hence came Berlin Wall.  Moreover, an open East Germany and subsequent buffer states of East Europe constitute a critical buffer zone for Russia. East Germany is the first point of defense in case of a military move towards East.