The Russian tank, which has been on display on Leidseplein in Amsterdam since Thursday, is intended to draw attention to the fragility of European democracy. That says director of debate center De Balie Yoeri Albrecht Thursday evening in Op1 at Omroep WNL. “It is a gesture of concern about the state of democracy,” says the initiator.
“Democracy does not survive by itself. You have to maintain it, you have to talk about it,” says Albrecht. According to him, democracy is under pressure, “partly due to the threat of dictatorship. This tank is also a warning.”
According to Albrecht, the West has reacted laconically to dictatorships around us for too long. “We thought: it will be. But if you let a dictator sit in the Kremlin for too long, it will bother you.”
Hitler salute at unveiling
Albrecht is amazed by “the anger” that has resulted in putting down the tank. “We live in a free country, it’s great that people can demonstrate. But at the inauguration, people gave the Hitler salute,” says the director of De Balie.
“My mother and her brother were in an armed resistance group during the Second World War. As a child I always wondered: who are those people who were in favor of the dictator in the east? Now people who are in favor of the dictator in the east are coming again,” says Albrecht.
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‘Thinking about the indifference’
The tank in the center of Amsterdam was used by Russia in the war in Ukraine near Boetsha, a suburb of Kiev where many civilian casualties occurred at the start of the Russian invasion. Albrecht: “The tank was part of a regiment that killed civilians near Boetsja. Lots of civilians. 8500 war crimes have been documented to date. The indifference to that and the indifference to dictators, we really need to think about that.”
“It is important to continue to maintain your own democracy. This monster is a shocking sign of that,” says Albrecht. The 44-ton combat vehicle will be on Leidseplein in Amsterdam until June 4.
Russian tank on display in the heart of Amsterdam: ‘More attention needed for the reality of the war’
By: Peter Visser
Tags: Russian tank Leidseplein warning state democracy People brought Hitler salute