This German newspaper thought Russia might invade Berlin

GlobalPost
Russian military ships at the Russian Fleet base, 30 miles from Kaliningrad.
VASILY MAXIMOV

KYIV, Ukraine — Old habits die hard, and the German tabloid Bild might be the first to agree.

On Tuesday, the sensationalist paper published photos of what it said was a bomb affixed to a Russian naval plane at a Baltic Sea base reading, “To Berlin!”

A quick cultural history lesson: The phrase was a major rallying cry for Soviet forces during World War II as they chased the Nazis … to Berlin.

“For Stalin!” was another popular phrase. That was also found on a bomb, according to the tabloid.

Given Russia’s aggressive behavior in Europe these days, as well its penchant for reviving wartime nationalism, the newspaper decided the slogans were a result of “dangerous tendencies” in the Kremlin and the armed forces.

The photos were apparently taken from a Russian military forum depicting naval training exercises in the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad. The fact that that base is only 300 miles from Berlin probably didn’t help.

Russia’s Ministry of Defense chimed in on Wednesday, telling local media the images were either photoshopped or aimed at stoking anti-Russian fervor.

But a source with firsthand knowledge of the incident told a Russian news agency the slogans were real — and simply “naval humor.”