A new poster by the Vienna Chamber of Commerce has triggered a wave of criticism: it shows a married couple – he is of Russian origin, she is of Ukrainian origin – from Vienna. With a smile on their lips and standing close together – the woman has wrapped her arm around her husband – they hold out puzzle elements in the national colors of the respective country of origin to the viewer. Her clothing is also symbolically chosen in this direction. The following text can be read underneath: “TOGETHER. This is our Vienna”.
But despite its obvious topicality, the subject can no longer be found on the website of the Vienna Chamber of Commerce – and there is a reason for that.
The Ukrainian diaspora finds the poster scandalous: “We are outraged that, after three months of a brutal and unjustifiable Russian invasion of Ukraine, an attempt is being made here in Austria to relativize the guilt in public communication without changing the opinion from Ukrainians,” wrote the diaspora organization “Society of Ukrainian Youth in Austria” (TUMA) on Tuesday on Facebook.
In their eyes, the poster sends the message that Russia and Ukraine are “two warring parties” and that “solidarity is divided equally between the victim and the aggressor,” the Ukrainians said. Also, even those Russians who condemned the war and Putin’s regime would not agree with the subject, as they would be ashamed of their country given the atrocities committed by the Russian army in Ukraine.
“It’s a noble idea to put reconciliation on the political agenda, especially in a cosmopolitan city like Vienna. But reconciliation is currently the wrong mechanism, because it requires acknowledgment of collective guilt on the part of all Russians, regardless of where they live,” the diaspora organization explained its position.
In the meantime, the subject can no longer be found on the homepage of the Chamber of Commerce. It was deleted due to the current discussion so as not to fuel it further, reports “orf.at” with reference to a spokesman for the Chamber of Commerce.
However, it can still be seen as a poster in the federal capital – until the end of next week. According to the Vienna Chamber of Commerce, however, it will no longer be included in the further waves of posters in the course of the campaign. That was planned from the start, as the old ones are to be replaced by a whole range of new subjects.