"I do not think that the GDR population attached as much importance to the Staatssicherheit as is claimed in hindsight. Did people really experience it, or did they read somewhere that they could have done so? It’s all a bit different to what’s said today."
This is the last leader of the GDR talking, Egon Krenz. Just for some perspective. The Stasi had files on a 30% of the citizens, and themselves were 3% of the population. They drove many people to suicide through intense campaigns of psychological warfare, breaking into people's houses and rearranging things to make them think they were crazy. Their friends and family members informed on them, so this meant that more than 30% were affected. If your spouse is informing on you (because of implicit threat: if you don't inform you become a target too), then your spouse is also morally compromised.
We see in the answer that he is still gaslighting. It didn't really happen; people just read a book about it and thought they might have been victims of it.
He doesn't want to call it the Stasi, because that creates an equivalence with the Gestapo, so he has to call it by its complete name.
Left wing totalitarian systems get a pass, because the only genuine threat can come from the right.
But the banality come in small things, with Krenz's idea that the reason for the collapse of his country was that people wanted to travel. Well, why didn't he let them travel, then?