Berlin court OKs plan to display ruined Russian tank outside embassy

1 min read
18 September 2022, Berlin: View of the Russian Embassy in the early morning. Credit line: Jörg Carstensen / AFP / Profimedia

A shot-up Russian tank can be put on temporary display in front of the Russian embassy in Berlin, a court in the German capital ruled on Tuesday.

The ruling means Berlin’s Mitte district is now obligated to allow a group to set up the display, which mirrors recent Ukrainian exhibits in Kiev of Russian armaments destroyed since Moscow began its invasion of Ukraine in February.

Due to safety guidelines regarding weight limits on the boulevard Unter den Linden, which runs in front of the Russian embassy, the tank will probably not be put on display immediately in front of the building. But the court suggested a piece of a nearby street across the way from the embassy.

The district of Mitte had argued that it would be inappropriate to display the tank, as people very likely died inside it. It also argued that displaying the tank might affect German foreign relation and wasn’t really art.

Additionally, it pointed out that the display could disrupt traffic and upset passers-by.

But the court ruled that the question of whether the tank was art or not was irrelevant. The real issue, it said, was freedom of opinion.

It also ruled that traffic would not be affected and that arguments like the one about foreign policy were not germane. It also noted that the tank is only supposed to be on display for two weeks.

The exhibit is the brainchild of Enno Lenze and Wieland Giebel of the Berlin Story Bunker museum. They first proposed the idea in June.

Ukraine’s ambassador to Germany, Andriy Melnyk, has endorsed the idea, saying it would make Germans face the “brutal war of destruction” Ukraine is enduring.

An appeal against Tuesday’s ruling is still possible. ©dpa

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