Status: 07.05.2022 10:50 a.m.
On the anniversary of the end of World War II, security authorities expect pro-Russian actions. FDP leader Lindner criticized the announced protests – and Ambassador Melnyk criticized the banning of Ukrainian flags.
The Office for the Protection of the Constitution expects pro-Russian actions across the country on May 9. On this day, Russia traditionally commemorates the victory of the Soviet army over Hitler’s Germany. It is “an ideal date to exploit for Russian propaganda”, said the president of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, Thomas Haldenwang, of “Welt am Sonntag”. “On this day, pro-Russian activities such as car parades and demonstrations can be expected across the country, which may also show the Z symbol of the Russian invading army in Ukraine,” Haldenwang said. .
The Z symbol is considered a sign of approval of the Russian aggression war. The letter is used by supporters of war and means “za pobedu” (“For victory”).
“Very moving subject”
Federal state security authorities are also preparing for pro-Russian protests and activities, as reported by newspapers from the Funke media group, citing a survey of interior ministries. The focus could therefore be on Berlin and North Rhine-Westphalia. According to information from the countries, there is no indication of an increased willingness to use violence on the part of pro-Russian protesters.
The Ministry of the Interior of North Rhine-Westphalia referred, among other things, to the “very emotionally charged topic”, which is why disputes cannot be ruled out.
Increased spread of fake news
Due to the time difference, May 9 is celebrated in Russia as Victory Day over Nazi Germany. According to the Funke newspapers, as Remembrance Day approaches, security authorities increasingly observe the spread of fake news in connection with the Russian aggression war against Ukraine.
“The potential for disinformation and the spread of so-called fake news is high for the entire federal territory,” said the Hamburg interior authority. “Throughout the country, there is increased activity in spreading pro-Russian and anti-Western narratives and fake news,” Lower Saxony’s interior ministry said.
Lindner criticizes planned pro-Russian protests
FDP leader Christian Lindner criticized the announcement of pro-Russian protests in Germany. “I find it shocking that during a Russian war in Europe, on the day the Nazi regime surrendered, Putin sympathizers abused that day,” Lindner told the Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung. “No one should declare solidarity with the criminal regime of Vladimir Putin,” Linder said. These people should ask themselves if, conversely, it would be possible for Moscow to demonstrate for Ukraine.
Ukrainian Ambassador Andriy Melnyk called on Berlin police to lift the conditions for protests and commemorations on the anniversary. This includes, for example, that neither Russian nor Ukrainian flags may be displayed on or near 15 memorials and memorials. Melnyk tweeted: “Dear ruling mayor Franziska Giffey, this outrageous decision by the Berlin police must be reversed.” It was a slap in the face for Ukraine and a slap in the face for the Ukrainian people.
Military uniforms and chants prohibited
Police requirements also include that uniforms or parts of uniforms – even in modified forms – as well as military marches or chants are prohibited. The Z symbol is also prohibited. According to the police, World War II veterans, diplomats and state representatives and delegations are exempt from the regulations.
The Berlin police want to accompany the planned demonstrations and commemorative events with a large contingent. According to a spokesperson, around 3,400 police are expected to be on the road in the city area on Sunday and Monday.
In view of the Russian aggression war in Ukraine, a “highly sensitive risk situation” is expected. It is important to protect dignified commemoration at places of remembrance and memorials – and at the same time prevent an “instrumentalization of commemoration”, said Chief of Police Barbara Slowik.