With more at stake than any other Western country, Germany reacted with shock and circumspection over the toppling of Gorbachev, widely credited with opening the Berlin Wall and making unification possible.
More than 1,000 Germans marched in support of Gorbachev in scattered demonstrations. Larger protests were planned today, including another Berlin march called by the mayor and the three major political parties.
In Leipzig, the Soviet Consulate was evacuated and searched after a caller speaking broken German claimed a bomb had been planted there, police said. No device was found.
About 273,000 Soviet Red Army troops and more than 100,000 of their dependents are stationed in what until last October was Communist East Germany. Under the terms of unification, they must complete their pullout by 1994.
There were no reports of disturbances or unusual activity at the garrisons Monday, and the Soviet commandant took the extraordinary step of issuing a public statement assuring that the withdrawal would proceed on schedule.
Chancellor Helmut Kohl, considered Gorbachev's closest ally and a personal friend of the ousted Soviet leader, interrupted his Austrian holiday to fly home for a crisis meeting with his government and major political parties.
Germany is Moscow's biggest trade partner and most generous aid provider. Bonn promised billions of marks to Moscow in exchange for Kremlin acquiescence to the dissolution of East Germany less than a year ago.
"We stress that the Soviet Union can only expect further Western help if it fulfills these conditions and pursues the policy of democratization and reform," Kohl told a press conference.