Finnish TV and toilet paper did as much to undermine the USSR as the nuclear deterrent – an Estonian friend once explained to me.
He grew up in Tallinn – under Kremlin rule but within antenna range of American soaps broadcast from Helsinki.
What Dallas did for eyes that craved glamour a smuggled supply of soft tissue did for bums rubbed raw by Soviet-issue bog roll.
The Balts had too much exposure to what they were missing to be reconciled to the privations of communism.
That feels like a long time ago because it was.
The post-cold war realignment has now lasted almost as long as the confrontation itself.
The Berlin Wall has now been down for longer than it was up.
The period is politically definitive for those who grew up in it and strangely remote to those who came after.
The generation that occupies most positions of power in ‘western’ countries has a crisp sense of what it means to be ‘the west’ but it is vaguer in their children and nebulous to their grandchildren.