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.”
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.
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