Russian & Soviet Flags Banned at Berlin Victory Day

A court in Berlin has outlawed the display of the Russian and Soviet flags on May 8 and 9 celebrations of victory over Nazi Germany because they can “convey a readiness for violence.”

The Soviet War Memorial in Treptow in Berlin, Germany, on May 9, 2015, the 70. anniversary of Victory Day, at which Soviet and Russian flags appeared. (Kleiner Eisbär/Wikimedia Commons)

By Joe Lauria
Special to Consortium News

The Berlin Higher Administrative Court on Monday banned Russian and Soviet flags from rallies in the city commemorating victory over Nazi Germany.

The court agreed with the police, ruling that,

“The prognosis of the police that the symbols are suitable to convey a readiness for violence in view of the ongoing war of aggression against Ukraine is correct. In any case, in the current context, they could be understood as an expression of sympathy for the warfare.”

The Soviet Red Army was responsible for the destruction of the vast majority of the Wehrmacht, making the single greatest contribution to the defeat of Nazi Germany of any of the allied nations. The Soviet army suffered 95 percent of all allied military casualties. Eighty Soviet soldiers died to every one American G.I.

The West rarely acknowledges this. Even before Russia’s intervention in the Ukrainian civil war in February 2022, Russia was not invited to take part in either the 70th anniversary commemoration of the Normandy invasion in 2014 or the 75th anniversary in 2019

A lower court in Berlin had previously lifted the ban on the display of Russian and Soviet flags, but that ruling was overturned by the higher court on Monday, the Berliner Zeitung reported. “In the opinion of the court, it is not possible to separate the commemoration of the end of the war and the renewed war in Ukraine,” the newspaper said.

Nazi flags and other symbols are already banned in Germany. Ironically, Ukraine, which this decision is intended to protect, permits open glorification of its World War II-era Nazi collaborators, principally Stepan Bandera, and allows some of its soldiers to display Nazi symbols.

Neo-Nazi groups played a major role in the 2014 coup that overthrew the elected president in Kiev, eventually sparking the civil war that continues until today with Russian intervention. 

Russia is on alert for possible attacks on Moscow’s Victory Day celebration by Ukrainian terrorist cells operating in Russia, especially following the failed drone attacks on the Kremlin.

CORRECTION: 80 Soviet soldiers died to every one U.S. G.I., not 8 as previously reported. 

Joe Lauria is editor-in-chief of Consortium News and a former U.N. correspondent for The Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, and numerous other newspapers, including The Montreal Gazette and The Star of Johannesburg. He was an investigative reporter for the Sunday Times of London, a financial reporter for Bloomberg News and began his professional work as a 19-year old stringer for The New York Times.  He can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @unjoe     

17 comments for “Russian & Soviet Flags Banned at Berlin Victory Day

  1. Tony
    May 11, 2023 at 08:37

    Last year, the Wimbledon tennis tournament banned Russian or Belarusian players because of the invasion of the Ukraine.

    By contrast, US, British or Ukrainian players were not banned after the invasion of Iraq (nor should they have been).

  2. Lois Gagnon
    May 8, 2023 at 21:28

    Western governments are all being run by spineless cowards. They produce results their benefactors demand which keeps the cowards in office with all the perks that go with it. They have neither morals nor intellect. Their comeuppance cannot come soon enough for the rest of humanity.

  3. Hopper
    May 8, 2023 at 18:27

    So a Berliner celebrating Victory Day can’t celebrate Germany obviously, since they were the ones defeated. And can’t celebrate USSR/Russia, who was the one that defeated Nazis in Berlin. What then exactly are they doing, or who are they thanking? Why even bother showing up for a parade if you’re banned from expressing the reason the parade exists? So weird.

  4. AA from MD
    May 8, 2023 at 16:23

    Western culture has become a series of empty gestures.

  5. Katharina
    May 8, 2023 at 16:06

    Germany knows no shame – and I am a German. But what the heck, Russia has defeated Nazis before and I’m confident it will eventually defeat them again. Germany, on the other hand, will go down the drain, driven to rack and ruin by the monstrous cabal that seems to be hellbent on destroying her.

  6. Andrew Nichols
    May 8, 2023 at 15:54

    As a kiwi and for as long as,I can remember, the Russians have never been acknowledged.

    • WillD
      May 9, 2023 at 01:12

      Yes, this says more about the west than it does about Russia. Russia, and its people, deserve recognition just like any other country and people.

      There will be no lasting peace until the west recognises both Russia and China properly, and starts treating them appropriately.

  7. JonnyJames
    May 8, 2023 at 15:52

    Thanks Joe, you outline basic facts of history that should be acknowledged by everyone. At least 75% of the German military was destroyed by the Red Army alone. In addition to the military casualties, millions of Russian civilians died as a direct result of Operation Barbarossa. Russia suffered the most from the war, that should be common fact, whether we like Russia or not.

    Churchill wanted to wait until Hitler had destroyed the USSR and then, the Anglo-Americans could come in and take over the much weakened Wehrmacht and take over the destroyed USSR. The plan worked – almost – but the USSR was not destroyed. General Patton reportedly wanted to re-arm the German Army and invade the USSR to finish the job. That plan still exists. The fact that “kampfpanzers” (battle tanks) are being sent to Bandera-worshipping Ukraine is ironic to say the least.

    The hypocrisy and historical irony of Germany trying to erase the USSR out of history is mind-boggling, but I guess should not surprise us, given recent events.

    • Rob Roy
      May 8, 2023 at 20:56

      JonnyJames, well said. Obama shamefully refused to include Russia in the celebrations honoring those who defeated Germany, when, in fact, Russia won the war. I was recently in Russia. It’s a better place to live than Portland Oregon is now, or Seattle, or Los Angeles, for that matter. This country’s censorship of anything Russian…the arts, music, literature…tells the rest of the world that the U.S. not only thinks it has the right to destroy country after country, it owns the world. Thank heavens that hubris and arrogance is at last coming to an end whether the Biden or any administration recognizes it or not.

    • Patrick Powers
      May 8, 2023 at 21:06

      It should be noted that the USSR would have been worse off without Western aid that came in through Murmansk. If the West really wanted the USSR destroyed they didn’t have to send that aid.

      I do believe that the main motive for World War II was destruction of the USSR. I can’t explain this inconsistency.

      • JonnyJames
        May 9, 2023 at 12:05

        Lend Lease was good for the US in two or three ways: it prevented the total collapse of Soviet military resistance (also aiding Britain and other allies), as well as provided a huge economic boost to domestic US industry. Thirdly, Lend-Lease was a loan, not a gift.

        As noted above, without the USSR destroying the vast majority of German military capacity (Before June 1944), D day would not have been possible and we can speculate what would have happened.

        For more: Read Churchill himself, he explains it from a British point of view – he is very frank about his pro-fascist, anti Bolshevik sentiments.

        • X Fretensis
          May 9, 2023 at 16:59

          Hi JonnyJames,
          Russia has only recently paid back all lend-lease reparations to the US. I think it was 2018 or thereabouts. The USSR and then Russia had been paying it back from 1948(?). You are right, lend-lease was a loan by a loan shark, similar to the Marshall Plan.

      • JonnyJames
        May 9, 2023 at 12:06

        Thank you for the kind words Rob Roy and Fyodor.

    • Fyodor M Dostoevsky
      May 9, 2023 at 08:15

      nicely worded, I wholeheartedly agree

  8. Larry McGovern
    May 8, 2023 at 15:37

    Thanks for reminding us of certain important facts about the end of WWII and the sacrifices and losses of the Soviet military.

    And maybe you could check on the rumor I’ve heard that the word “irony” has now been banned in Germany?

  9. TS
    May 8, 2023 at 13:59

    Similar bans have been imposed in several other German cities, as well as bans on verious patriotic Russian/Soviet symbols traditionally displayed on that day by Russians (there are now a large number living in Germaby) and sympathizers.. The orignal ban in Berlin also included Ukrainian flags, but that aspect was promptly overturned by the Local Administrative Court.

  10. Chris N
    May 8, 2023 at 13:55

    From time to time I am shocked at examples of how much our Western culture lacks self-awareness. This is absurd

Comments are closed.