Kiss of Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and East German President Honecker, 1986

Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev embraces staunch communist and general secretary of the Communist Party (SED) Eric Honecker as members of the SED during the 11th SED Party Congress in East Berlin on April 17, 1986.

The socialist fraternal kiss or socialist fraternal embrace was a special form of greeting among the politicians of communist countries. This act demonstrated the special relationship that existed between the socialist states.

The kiss consisted of a hug, which was combined with a series of three kisses on alternate cheeks. In rare cases, when the two leaders considered themselves to be exceptionally close, kisses were given on the mouth instead of on the cheek.

As a symbol of equality, fraternity and solidarity, the socialist fraternal kiss was an expression of the path and enthusiasm of the labor movement emerging between the middle and end of the 19th century.

In the years following the October Revolution and the subsequent Communist International, a ritual of the hitherto spontaneous essence succeeded in an official greeting among communist peers.

Symbolic reinforcement of the spirit of camaraderie also succeeded through the fact that many communists and socialists had to make long, difficult and dangerous journeys to isolated Bolshevik Russia. Thus the much-anticipated international solidarity found expression in stormy embraces and kisses.

With the expansion of communism after World War II, the Soviet Union was no longer isolated as the only communist country. The socialist kiss of brotherhood among the leaders of communist countries became a ritual greeting.

The greeting was adopted by socialist leaders in the Third World, as well as by leaders of socialist-aligned liberation movements such as the Palestinian Liberation Organization and the African National Congress.

The 11th Congress of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany (SED), held on 17–21 April 1986, explicitly confirmed Honecker for another term as party chief. The SED celebrated its achievements as "the most successful party on German soil", praised East Germany as a "politically stable and economically efficient socialist state", and its efforts to maintain its current policy course. Declared intention.

The successes of East Germany were presented as a personal victory for Honecker, which marked a turning point in his political career. Mikhail Gorbachev's presence in Congress supported Honekar's policy course, which was also strengthened by some reshuffles of the party leadership.

Overall, the 11th Congress showed confidence in East Germany's role as the strongest economy and most stable country in Eastern Europe. Gorbachev praised the East German experience as proof that central planning could be effective and practical in the 1980s.

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