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Germany

New Cold War Museum Planned For Berlin’s Checkpoint Charlie

An exhibit about the Cold War will open this spring in the “Black Box,” a building that now fills the space where American and Russian tanks faced off in 1961. It will eventually be part of a permanent museum exploring the Cold War, in the city where it b

Checkpoint Charlie in Berlin, Germany (marabuchi)
Checkpoint Charlie in Berlin, Germany (marabuchi)
Sven Felix Kellerhoff<

BERLIN -- Nowhere did the Cold War burn hotter than in Berlin. And nowhere in Berlin were tensions higher than at the crossroads of Zimmer and Friedrichstraße, known around the world as "Checkpoint Charlie." It was only appropriate, therefore, that Checkpoint Charlie was chosen as the site of upcoming Cold War displays set to open this coming spring in a temporary building dubbed the "Black Box." The displays will later be part of a full-fledged museum.

Berlin's secretary of state for culture, Andre Schmitz, publically presented the temporary building last week. It is located on one of the pieces of prime real estate that have stood unoccupied for decades at the crossroads. They were last used by the Berlin Wall Museum for a controversial installation of crosses commemorating those who died at what used to be the border separating the two Germanys.

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Geopolitics

Russia's Military Failures Are Really About Its Soldiers

No doubt, strategic errors and corruption at the highest ranks in the Kremlin are partly to blame for the Russian military's stunning difficulties in Ukraine. But the roots run deeper, where the ordinary recruits come from, how they are exploited, how they react.

Army reserve soldiers go to Red Square to attend a Pioneer Induction ceremony

Anna Akage

To the great relief of Ukraine and the great surprise of the rest of the world, the Russian army — considered until February 24, the second strongest in the world — is now eminently beatable on the battlefield against Ukrainian forces operating with vastly inferior firepower.

Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage.

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After renouncing the original ambitions to take Kyiv and unseat the Ukrainian government, the focus turned to the southeastern region of Donbas, where a would-be great battle on a scale comparable to World War II Soviet victories has turned into a quagmire peppered with laughable updates by Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov on TikTok.

The Russians have not managed to occupy a single significant Ukrainian city, except Kherson, which they partially destroyed and now find difficult to hold. Meanwhile, Ukrainian civilians are left to suffer the bombing of cities and villages from Lviv to Odessa, with looting, torture and assorted war crimes.

The reasons for both the poor performance and atrocities are many, and include deep-seated corruption and lack of professionalism up through the highest ranks, including Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, who had never served in the army, and arrived in his position only because of his loyalty to the No. 1 man in the Kremlin.

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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

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