The Berlin Senate should be ashamed

About the explosion in St. Petersburg is known not all. But the solution is not to illuminate the Brandenburg gate in colors of Russian flag, morally and politically incorrectly, I’m sure Ingo Mannteufel.

The only thing we know for sure is that the explosion in the subway in St. Petersburg, 14 people were killed and many seriously injured. The choice of the place of the crime and the type of explosive device reminiscent of the Islamist terrorist attacks. In the Russian media ply different names and even pictures of potential performers, they also point to the Islamist trail. Nevertheless, even the next day after the explosion, is still very much unclear.

After the terrorist act the security services — including Russian — takes time to identify hard evidence. It would seem that it should be clear to anyone who in our time of instant dissemination of information requires an immediate response, explanations and opinions. The sad fact is that in Russia against its people in recent decades there have been many terrorist attacks, especially from radical Islamists. The fact also that because of its policy in Syria Russia even more often began to fall under the scope of the supporters of ISIS (a terrorist organization banned in Russia — approx. ed.). But the only reason to consider the crime in St. Petersburg is not disclosed. Hasty political conclusions here.

The correct ritual after the attacks?

What the public gives the intelligence agencies and the media very little time for proper investigation and factual rendering of events, unfortunately, has become a familiar ritual after the attacks. A similar ritual can be attributed to the fact that after only a few minutes after the tragedy on social networks begin to run relevant hashtags. And many politicians hasten to Express via Twitter their sympathy. The usual practice was also to highlight structures, playing the role of national symbols in the colors of the flag of the country where the attack occurred.

There are many reasons to consider such gestures, exposed surface of compassion and cheap. But there is a problem: since I started to do that, then you should do it consistently. Otherwise it begins to look as detracting from the value of the victims — “it was just…”

It is therefore surprising that on Monday the Brandenburg gate in Berlin was lit in the colors of the Russian flag. The explanation of this fact the city authorities to the fact that Saint Petersburg is a sister city of Berlin, is not tenable. Orlando, too, is not among such cities. However, in June 2016 after the tragedy in gay club in Orlando Brandenburg gate shimmered with the colors of the rainbow, forming a huge “rainbow flag”, a symbol of the movement of gays and lesbians.

We sympathize and stand in solidarity with victims of terror in Russia the same way as with the victims of Islamist attacks in Orlando, Paris, Brussels, London, Berlin, nice, Istanbul — as well as Iraq, Nigeria, Kenya, or Pakistan.

Residents of Russia — the victims of terror and their own authorities

Causing so much discussion of Russian policy in Syria is certainly not a basis to deny the victims of St. Petersburg in sympathy. In the end, terror and violence against civilians there is no justification.

And, in contrast to citizens of Western democracies, ordinary people in Russia didn’t ask for free and fair elections about whether they support the policy of the government. Therefore, they are not the only victims of terrorists, but also powerless subjects.

From the beginning of the crisis in relations between the West and Russia, which started due to the annexation of the Ukrainian Peninsula of Crimea and the Kremlin’s aggression in the Donbass, the West stresses its rejection of the Kremlin’s policy, but sees the people of Russia as a full part of Europe.

And if it was declared seriously, the West does not want to look in the eyes of Russians a hypocrite, to show solidarity with the victims of terror is not only a moral but also a political responsibility. That Monday the Brandenburg gate wasn’t shining colors of the Russian flag, was a mistake. And it’s embarrassing.