Is Angela Merkel coming or not, is Joschka Fischer bringing his wife with him? – These were the subjects of previous Federal press balls. This year it has become more political – even without the federal president, chancellor and minister.
BERLIN – Political primacy has been largely missing. Clothes were darker, bars and dance halls were less crowded, and speeches were more important. The Federal Press Ball, the annual party of journalists in the capital, has never been as political as it was in 2022.
In recent years, the Corona pandemic has caused many delays. Now, Russia’s attack on Ukraine on Friday night at Berlin’s Hotel Adlon at the Brandenburg Gate has given a new look and turned it into a “solidarity ball” for Ukraine.
For Secretary of State for Culture Claudia Roth, the event had a perfectly fitting character. “If this terrible war, this aggressive aggressive war by Putin in Ukraine is also a war of propaganda, and also a war against culture, the culture of democracy, then it is very important to send a signal, a signal for freedom of the press,” the Green Party politician in Deutschlandfunk said on Saturday, It is clearly still filled with the events of the night before, “a nod to the culture of democracy, and that happened last night.”
Ambassador Melnik has been taken care of
However, other prominent politicians abolished due to the war, led by Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and members of the Federal Cabinet. The attention of many journalists, publishers, moderators, directors, lobbyists and politicians at the 69th session of the federal press focused on Ukrainian Ambassador Andrey Melnik, who has already upset parts of politics in the past few weeks with his demands for heavy weapons and unusually clear words.
The federal press conference, the capital’s union of journalists, had asked Melnick to give a short speech. And use it in clear ads. Melnyk thanked the press for its necessary coverage of the war and credited the ball to Ukrainian performers and fundraising for Ukrainian journalists as a show of solidarity. He apparently criticized Steinmeier and the minister’s refusal: “I think it is unfortunate that so many politicians shine principally through their absence. But if you hope that it will avoid critical questions, you are wrong.”
Melnick said the media alone, by asking questions about the federal government’s “hesitant” position on the subject of arms shipments, increased pressure that otherwise the “tipping point” would not have been possible. Ukraine urgently needs weapons so as not to lose its livelihood. Then he addressed the reporters in the main dining room, who applauded relentlessly: “If the war goes on for a long time, the attention of the media threatens to fade. So I ask you not to lose interest in what is going on in Ukraine, otherwise people die unnoticed. And when he dies People go unnoticed, the truth also dies. ”
Singer Natalia Klitschko thanked her
Due to the Corona pandemic, the organizers reduced the number of guests in tuxedos and evening dresses by 500, so there was less crowding on the red carpet, where singer Natalia Klitschko, wife of Vitali Klitschko, former professional boxer and current mayor. From the Ukrainian capital Kyiv, thanks. “It’s about cohesion and support, the help from the German people is incredible.”
Vice-President of the Bundestag Wolfgang Kubiki (FDP) came in a blue and yellow tie, and many visitors wore blue and yellow brooches or ribbons, the national colors of Ukraine. “We celebrate with the help of journalists,” Kubicki said. “I don’t think we should cancel everything either.” CDU President Frederick Merz and his wife saw it similarly. They came “because we know this press ball will do something for Ukraine”. SPD chairman Lars Klingbeil tried to defend his party friends and said he understood ministers when they said: “We don’t feel like partying”.
“They all have to decide for themselves,” Claudia Roth said the next morning when asked by Deutschland Funk if her colleagues had missed an opportunity. “There are certainly different reasons for not attending. But as the person in charge in the Cabinet, I was there,” said the Federal Government’s Commissioner for Culture and Media. It should also be a clear sign.”
Ukrainian artists in press ball
In my champagne seat on the first floor of the Adlon, at the buffets and beer stalls, the mood was in no way depressed because it was getting late. Ukrainian artists gave performances, dance floors filled up, big bands and quartets played, and later DJs played. The smoker’s bar, hidden away at the end of a corridor behind a restaurant, was the busiest and loudest. Hostesses wandered with large collection boxes filled with banknotes. Someone said a lot is being donated. Most of the guests transferred money via mobile phone.
The theme of the evening can also be seen by tourists who wander by the Brandenburg Gate at the parapets in front of the Adlon. Blue and yellow spotlights lit up the hotel and the sky.