Less mourning for Russian victims of terror?

When terrorist attacks are carried out in Western cities the West always reacts with shock and sympathy: Facebook profiles show mourning symbols and famous buildings - including Berlin's Brandenburg Gate - are lit up in the national colours of the attacked city. Some commentators are appalled that the German capital did not follow this tradition after the attack in St. Petersburg and ask why the sense of shock and dismay seems far less profound after this latest attack.

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Life (RU) /

Ignorance of history

The Russian portal Life is outraged by the Berlin administration's explanation for its decision and points to Russia's role in WWII:

“In fact it makes no difference who reacts to what, or how. But when the authorities in a country for which 'Leningrad' isn't just the name of a city, but a historical concept, pass off such mean behaviour as 'rules and conventions', it says a lot about those who are currently trying to govern Germany's capital. ... These people are so incompetent that they can't even finish the airport that was due to open in 2011! They ban airbnb to protect hotel chains and discuss incessantly whether girls should be allowed to wear headscarves in schools. Russians died for Brandenburg Gate; their families still remember them. And history does too. Do people really need to be reminded of such obvious facts?”

Magyar Idők (HU) /

Russia mourns alone, as always

Although Russia is just as broken-hearted, it has a different approach to mourning than the West, Magyar Idők observes:

“Mother Russia is not Belgium, over which the whole world mourns. Russia doesn't have time to be overcome by its own sadness. Life goes on, the police investigate, and the country almost immediately returns to its normal rhythm. … Certainly, the attack in Russia will leave its mark. Stringent countermeasures will make themselves felt in the metro, on the borders, in the Caucasus and in allied Central Asian countries. The intelligence services will be in full swing, but there won't be a flood of news on the Russian news sites, we say in English so that everyone can understand. This is not the same tragedy as in Western Europe; the weight is distributed differently, which is why the responses are also different. … Mother Russia also mourns. But as usual she does so alone.”

To Vima (GR) /

Berlin applying double standards

Berlin's municipal government has explained that as St. Petersburg is not a partner city, Brandenburg Gate may not be illuminated with the colours of the Russian flag. That's preposterous, To Vima finds:

“It's tragic when the authorities of a city that is so important for the world hide behind the 'argument' that the other times Brandenburg Gate was lit up in national colours it was in solidarity with partner cities. ... It's also a lie, because neither Orlando nor Jerusalem nor other cities that have been honoured by this informal tradition are partners of Berlin. But the worst thing is that Berlin is playing political games with innocent victims. If Berlin itself hadn't experienced a terrorist attack first hand it wouldn't be a problem if it did nothing. But it has, so its attitude is unacceptable.”

The Independent (GB) /

Why St. Petersburg leaves the West cold

There are several reasons why there have been relatively few expressions of solidarity with Russia from the West, The Independent explains:

“First, some may find it hard to distinguish between the unsavoury geopolitics Russia prosecutes beyond its borders and its 150 million-strong population. But the only fault that can be laid at the door of Russia's citizens is that too many accept the Kremlin account of Russia's actions abroad at face value - and even that is somewhat excusable as they are force-fed that version through state-directed television. The second reason for the international response being different towards St Petersburg than it was towards, say, Nice is that Russia remains a brutalised society and the official reaction tends to be more akin to revenge than to justice. This makes Western empathy harder.”

Corriere della Sera (IT) /

Terror now blended out

Corriere della Sera offers another explanation for the lack of massive expressions of solidarity such as those given to victims of the terror attacks in Paris or Brussels:

“The jihadist terror has become normality. … Numbed and used to the terror that soaks our cities in blood, we take refuge in the 'lone wolves' rhetoric. We have pushed the war that is being waged in the name of Islamist absolutism into a corner. We have avoided dealing with it, and shied away from open confrontation. … We tried to learn to live with it in the hope that we can escape it and not be the ones to pay for it because we were in the wrong place at the wrong time. We have learned to relegate it to the list of ugly things we have to live with, like robberies and endemic violence against people and objects. 'Je suis St. Petersburg'? No, those times are over.”