News from Berlin and Germany, 12 May 2022

Weekly news round-up from Berlin and Germany



Victory Day in Treptower Park

Usually, on every May 9, at S-Bahnhof Treptower Park, one could see Russian-speaking groups because of the Victory Day celebrations. This year, however, any celebration of “Russian” victory has shown another significance. For instance, police dressed in black lined both sides of the large stone arches which mark the entrance to the Soviet memorial. Visitors being checked for any forbidden items. Besides, the Berlin government has not only banned the controversial ‘Z’ symbol, but both the Russian and Ukrainian flags, that of the Soviet Union, and the ribbon of St George, all of that, to avoid provocations. Source: Exberliner.

Berlin considers referendum for car-free city centre not feasible

The planned referendum for a car-free inner city is inadmissible according to the Berlin Senate. It is incompatible with the constitution of Berlin, according to a statement by the interior administration. The draft law, which would ban private car traffic in the area within the S-Bahn ring, is disproportionate, explained the spokesperson of the interior administration, Sylvia Schwab. The alliance “Volksentscheid Berlin autofrei” reacted indignantly against that. Anyhow, the transport administration will now prepare a proposal for a resolution. The Senate must decide on its position on the petition within the next two weeks. Source: rbb24.


Günther has the choice

The polls have been predicting a clear victory for the CDU in Schleswig-Holstein for several months. However, few expected that Prime Minister Daniel Günther’s party would reach the threshold of a significant majority on Sunday – 43.5 per cent. The Northwest CDU is therefore now in the comfortable position of being able to choose its future coalition partner. The most likely choice is a coalition with the Greens (die Grünen). On the other hand, the far-right AfD had to reckon with an already weak six per cent according to the polls, it missed re-entering the Kiel state parliament with even less than this. Source: nd.

Habeck’s pipe dream

The PCK refinery in Schwedt (Oder), Brandenburg, is to be maintained even if there is an embargo on Russian crude oil. This was promised by Economics Minister Robert Habeck (“die Grünen”) before his visit to Schwedt on last Monday. How exactly this is to be achieved, however, it is yet to be explained. Habeck hinted at the possibility of expropriating the previous majority owner, the Russian energy company Rosneft. Besides the idea of its expropriation, there is also the option of putting the refinery under state trusteeship. Whatever the federal government decides, the intervention seems to be a done deal. Source: rbb.

Ukrainian troops arrive in Germany for Howitzer training

Around 60 Ukrainian troopers have arrived in Germany to begin their training on the Howitzer 2000 artillery system. The German government has pledged to send seven of them. Its models are operated by five soldiers each. Targets can be destroyed from 30 to 56 kilometers, depending on the ammunition. Training is set to last around 40 days and will take place at the German military’s artillery school in Idar-Oberstein (Rhineland-Palatinate). Such a move comes amid a policy turnaround by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s (SPD) government, which faced criticism from Kyiv and other allies for not sending so far heavy weapons to Ukraine. Source: DW.

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