Living in a parallel universe

Pep. A man holds a poster in support of Ukraine during a demonstration near the Russian embassy in Berlin on the 22nd. (Marcus Schreiber / Associated Press)

Rene Herman sought a serious move to attract much attention.

When he joined a convoy organized to protest anti-Russian sentiment, he affixed a sign engraved with the Star of David on the hood of his vehicle.

“What an evil Jew he was [during Germany’s World War II Nazi era] Now the evil Russian, ”he said. “Russophobia is everywhere.”

In the aftermath of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, there have been protests around the world against Moscow’s actions, and of course in places like Germany and Berlin. The rise of voices against Russia led to some Russian attacks. But it is no secret that many of the more than 2 million immigrants from the former Soviet Union who now live in Germany are strong supporters of Vladimir Putin. And they are never ashamed to express their support publicly.

This is evident in the acquisition of the widely-recognized symbol of Judaism and Judaism – the people who opposed the Govt-19 vaccination and mask orders, in the same way, expressed outrage using the symbol and the Holocaust. They should brand the return of Nazi Germany to fascism. The German Nazis forced the Jews to wear identification marks as enemies.

Although the use of the Star of David – or the Holocaust – is considered such an attack, it is not the only code adopted by the pro-Russian crowd in Germany. The letter Z on Russian tanks and trucks in Ukraine, in addition to the huge Russian national flags – indicates To win [“For victory”] – and the letter V Power in truth [“Our strength is in truth”] These rallies are also ubiquitous. Many protesters also carried the black and orange ribbon of St. George, a symbol of World War II victory and Russian military pride. In Berlin, anyone who displays these symbols will be fined or prosecuted.

Hermann, a German – not of Russian descent – runs a car dealership east of Berlin. He did not personally experience the anti-Russian onslaught, but said the internet was full of such stories.

Since the beginning of the war, more than 500 crimes related to discrimination against Russians, Ukrainians now living in Germany and supporters of both factions have been reported to the authorities. They mainly involve property damage and insults. These encounters are also reflected in the records on the website of the Russian Embassy in Berlin, where people can report such incidents. However, anonymous reports are all small and sometimes difficult to verify.

German Interior Minister Nancy Fasser said, “We must be very careful that this war does not spread to our community. This war should not be waged on the backs of Ukrainians or Russians in Germany.”

A few days ago, the Soviet war memorial in Berlin was painted with graffiti. In the graffiti, it was written “Ukrainian blood on Russian hands” and “Putin = Stalin”.

Although the crimes committed so far are small, they are food for Moscow’s supporters. The telegram channel “Putin Fan Club” has about 33,000 subscribers. There are more than 127,000 other similar channels, such as “News from Russia”.

“Elite idiots will not learn a lesson from history. Russia is under more pressure and the unity of the people is getting stronger,” the report said.

Among Putin’s supporters based in Germany, the war is often referred to as the “liberation of Ukraine.” Right-wing sites such as the far-right Compact Magazine admire German-Russian friendship.

“If there’s a lesson in history, it’s this: Germans and Russians should not be allowed to confront each other again,” said J பத்திரிகrgen Elsaser, editor-in-chief of the magazine. “There are arsonists in Kiev who want to drag the whole world into the abyss to save their rule.”

These groups all play with existing anti-US, anti-NATO and anti-Western sentiments.

“The mentality of the far right is as anti-Western as Putin,” said Matthias Quent, a researcher at the University of Applied Sciences in Macbeth and one of the most well-known German researchers in the field. One with the other groups.

“The crossroads of interests is evident when Russian flags are flown at anti – Govt rallies in Saxony, or as protesters march in front of the Russian embassy, ​​chanting slogans such as ‘Putin free us’.”

Elsässer’s Telegram channel “Compact Magazine” has 60,000 subscribers. The channel also distributes videos from the banned Russian propaganda television network RT.

“Polarity is definitely on the rise,” Quentin said. “RT’s ban is seen by many as evidence that they are actually telling the truth.”

Reports of Russophobia come in the same pattern.

“When real or fake incidents are reported, they immediately go viral on social media,” he said. “In the end, no one really knows what’s really going on.”

Whether the events are real or imaginary, divisions in society are deeply growing.

With new convoys and protests taking place in German cities recently, the question remains: why is one more minority adopting a pro-Russia stance? Many of them are of German descent. They left the former Soviet Union because they felt like strangers there and wanted to return to their homeland.

“But here in Germany they were seen as Russians, not Germans. At one point, they began to think, ‘Well, if we were seen as Russians, we would act like that,’ said Vladimir Kaminer, one of the most contemporary Russian writers living in Berlin. More than 30 years. ‘ When you lose, you quickly develop an inferiority complex. “

One way to compensate is to accept the role of the victim, says Kaminer, who has long been involved in the German-Russian soul search.

Russian radio hears in the background when the phone rings at the home of a 75-year-old historian in Deadmold, north Rhine-Westphalia. His family of German descent – whom he refused to identify with due to privacy concerns – emigrated from Kazakhstan to West Germany in 1983. Asked about his feelings about Russia, he quickly takes a stand.

“The West supports the bandits in Kiev,” he said. “With the expansion to the east, NATO has broken its promises to Russia. Russia is in danger and had to defend itself.

Everything he says seems to have come from the Kremlin’s playbook. While addressing the hundreds of Ukrainian civilians killed in Pucha, some were shot with their hands tied behind their backs, and he maintains a firm voice.

“They’re all actors,” he said. “It simply came to our notice then. You can’t trust them. “

A week into the Berlin convoy, Herman David regretted loading the star into his vehicle.

“The police fined me, that’s right,” he said dryly.

When asked if he would hold another fight, he said he would do so without question.

“After May 9, I will wait until Putin’s victory march in Red Square is over.”

Zener is a special correspondent.

The story first appeared in the Los Angeles Times.

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