Berlin, Germany. Scandal has erupted over Berlin’s decision not to illuminate the Brandenburg Gate in the colors of the Russian flag following the deadly subway bombing in St. Petersburg. Other cities have been quick to take note of the terrible attack upon residents of one of Russia’s largest cities and a cultural Mecca.
A number of critics worldwide accuse Berlin of being indifferent to the deaths of Russians, noting that the city’s iconic monument was covered in the colors of other countries following attacks in London, Paris, Brussels and Istanbul following recent terrorist attacks.
Berlin authorities say those four places are Berlin’s official partner cities, but acknowledge that exceptions have been made. Many point out the gate was lit up with the relevant colors after attacks in Jerusalem and Orlando for example.
Meanwhile Germany, already involved in anti-Russian sanctions is left with a huge public relations disaster. Klaus Lederer, Berlin’s top cultural official, called Tuesday for an end to the practice to prevent debates about the issue in future. He says that until then, Russia’s national colors should be projected on the gate.
France has in response said the Eiffel Tower will remain dark overnight to honor the victims of the St. Petersburg subway bombing.
Paris Mayor Hidalgo said the lights on the famous monument will be switched off at midnight in Paris, when it will be 1 a.m. Wednesday in St. Petersburg. The announcement came in a tweet that carried the hashtag #WeareUnited written in French. The decision was announced as officials in Berlin were being criticized for deciding not to bathe the Brandenburg Gate in the colors of the Russian flag.