Over fifty demonstrations have been announced, in Berlin alone, marking the commemoration of the end of World War II. Most of them are organized by Russian-speaking pro-Putin activists. In the former German Democratic Republic, every town, every village has a monument to the glory of the Soviets victorious over Nazi Germany. The police, afraid of provocations, are on their toes.
With our correspondent in Berlin, Natalie Vercio
Major demonstrations are expected in Berlin on May 8 and 9. Since the fall of the Wall, commemorations of the end of the Great Patriotic War, as the conflict is called in Russia, have mobilized only a few veterans. But things changed with the invasion of Ukraine. 3.5 million Russian speakers live in the Federal Republic of Germany, a society divided over the war. In the early days of the conflict, at the beginning of March, there were rather spontaneous demonstrations, convoys of vehicles flying the Russian flag and The « z In support of Putin’s forces They marched on Berlin, Hanover and Frankfurt, causing a wave of outrage in the country.
A huge parade of cars bearing Russian flags in Berlin, #Germany, today. Reportedly, the rally in support of Russia collected 5,000 cars.
They cannot complain about the media blackout in Germany. They have access to information and they can see what the Russians did in Bucha. pic.twitter.com/20Oco5p3RB
– Hanna Liubakova 3 April 2022
Flags, songs and uniforms prohibited for this anniversary
There is no doubt that you will see such scenes today and tomorrow on the streets of Germany. 1,500 police officers from all over Germany are mobilized in Berlin alone, where protesters will not be allowed to display Russian or Ukrainian flags, sing military songs or wear uniforms.
If the Ukrainian conflict has polarized Germany a lot, it is due to the importance of the Russian community in Germany, and to its composition. The Russians arrived in Germany mostly when the Wall fell. They belong to those German minorities from the Soviet Union, who were deported to the East and persecuted by Stalin after the war, and who arrived in Germany by the millions at the end of Communism.
It is not always well integrated, it can be hacked into Russian propaganda, and many revere Vladimir Putin. Russians in Germany are over-represented in the ranks of the far-right Alternative or anti-extremist parties. On Saturday, pro-Putin Russian cyclists were seen near towering Soviet memorials in Berlin. Groups are organized on Facebook or Telegram networks. Either on the pro-Russian side or on the pro-Ukrainian side.
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