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Digging up Germany's past

Regarding the article "German Reburial Prompts Debate Over Military Past," Aug. 14: Perceptions and misperceptions about the Prussian state abound. Civil and military administration were blended, social life was militarized, and a Prussian Puritanism emerged, in concert with a passive, docile, and unquestioning orthodox Lutheranism. However, it was the rulers of France, Austria, and Sweden that most influenced institutional Prussian absolutism. The Prussian kings and elites - economic interests, high government officials, the bureaucracy, and the military - were indistinguishable from their European counterparts. Indeed, none recognized the limits of power and ambition. Elliott A. Cohen, New York Editor's note: Evgeny F. Saburov, author of yesterday's opinion-page column "Boris Yeltsin's Economic Strategy," was also yesterday named Soviet minister of economic planning and forecasting. Mr. Saburov had been a deputy to Ivan Silayev, prime minister of the Russian Republic, who is now acting prime minister of the Soviet Union - heading a new committee to reshape the federal government. Letters are welcome. Only a selection can be published, subject to condensation, and none acknowledged. Please address them to "Readers Write," One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115.