Putin slams attempts to 'cancel' Russian culture
The Russian President compares efforts by Western elites to weaponize "cancel culture" against famous Russian composers and writers to "Nazi burning books."
Attempts to "erase" Russian culture in response to the Ukraine conflict are akin to Nazi book burnings, Putin said. The Russian President compared efforts by Western elites to weaponize "cancel culture" against famous Russian composers and writers in response to the country's military operation in Ukraine to Nazi burning books.
“Today, they are trying to cancel the whole of our thousand-year-old country, our people,” Putin said on Friday at a virtual meeting with recipients of presidential awards for achievements in fine arts and literature. The president blasted what he called “progressing discrimination of everything connected to Russia” in some Western countries. He added that the process was “tolerated and sometimes encouraged by the ruling elites.”
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The so-called "cancel culture" has devolved into "cultural cancellation". Tchaikovsky, Shostakovich, and Rachmaninoff's names are being dropped from concert programs. Russian writers and their works are also being prohibited. The Nazis in Germany carried out a similar enormous drive to eliminate undesired material about 90 years ago.
“We remember it well from the footage of book burnings on city squares,” Putin said, referring to the Nazi practice of burning books in the 1930s. “It’s impossible to imagine such things in our country.”
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Following Moscow's military operation in Ukraine, some organizations took action against Russian-linked works. The Cardiff Philharmonic Orchestra in Wales has dropped Pyotr Tchaikovsky's famed 1812 Overture, which commemorates Russia's defense against Napoleon, from its schedule. One of the directors, Linda Robinson, felt the overture was improper at the time since its elements are "military-themed and come with the sound of a barrage of cannon fire."
Similarly, the University of Milano-Bicocca in Milan, Italy, reportedly suspended a course on famed Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoevsky to avoid conflicts. Following a public outcry, the institution reversed its decision and stated that the course will remain on the curriculum.
Following a seven-year impasse over Kiev's failure to fulfill the provisions of the Minsk agreements and Russia's ultimate recognition of the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk, Moscow moved soldiers into Ukraine in late February.
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The treaty negotiated by Germany and France was intended to formalize the status of those districts inside the Ukrainian state.
Russia has now demanded that Ukraine declare itself to be a neutral country that would never join NATO. Kiev argues the Russian operation was unprovoked and denies plans to seize the two republics by force.