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Ukraine calls on its Western allies to boycott Russian culture | Ukraine


Ukraine’s culture minister called on the country’s Western allies to boycott Russian culture, calling for a halt to performances of music by Tchaikovsky and other Russian composers until the end of the war.

Write in the GuardianOleksandr Tkachenko maintains that such a “cultural boycott” would not amount to “cancelling Tchaikovsky”, but would amount to “suspending the performance of his works until Russia ceases its bloody invasion”.

He argues that such a step is right given that the war is “a civilizational battle over culture and history” in which Russia is “actively trying to destroy our culture and our memory” insisting that both States constitute one nation.

Many Ukrainian cultural figures have said that the Russian state was actively instrumentalizing its artistic heritage during the conflict. Billboards in Russian-occupied Kherson, for example, showed images of Pushkin, with text referencing the Russian poet’s connection to the city.

Tkachenko – a former television executive who was criticized in Ukraine for do not intervene stop a controversy threat of reorganization of the Dovzhenko Center, Kyiv Film Center and Archive – also urged art institutions not to soften their resolve not to hire Russian artists who support the war.

Ukrainian cultural figures use the language of decolonization to describe a process of separation from a once-dominant Russian culture, which was encouraged as Ukrainian artistic expression was suppressed, sometimes violently, by the Russian Empire and later by the Soviet Union.

Such events included the 1937 massacre of a generation of Ukrainian artists and writers, known as the “executed renaissance”. No Russian music is currently played in Ukraine.

However, as the Christmas season approached, with The Nutcracker being the winter fare of ballet companies from New York to London, Britain’s cultural leaders stopped short of boycotting works from the Russian canon.

“Presenting great historical works such as The Nutcracker, performed by an international roster of dancers, should send a powerful statement that Tchaikovsky – himself of Ukrainian descent – ​​and his works speak to all of humanity, in direct opposition and powerful cramped and nationalist vision of culture peddled by the Kremlin,” said a spokesperson for the Royal Ballet in London.

He added that the company’s policy throughout the war continued to be that “we do not work with Russian state actors, such as the Bolshoi, or individuals who have a clear association with the Putin’s regime in the Kremlin”.

A spokesperson for the English National Ballet, which is also staging a production of Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker this Christmas, said that while the company “stands in solidarity with all those affected by the invasion of Ukraine by the Russia”, his program will continue as planned.

Kathryn McDowell, managing director of the London Symphony Orchestra – which performs programs such as Stravinsky and Rachmaninoff in Germany under Sir Simon Rattle – said: “We continue to play Russian music from the past. She also noted that the orchestra continues to work with Russian artists “who do not identify with the current management”.

“While we at Hallé abhor Putin’s invasion of Ukraine and do not play music or work with artists who support this illegal war, we, as allies of Ukraine, we oppose the Russian state, not its people or its culture,” said David Butcher, the executive conductor of the Hallé Orchestra in Manchester, whose upcoming programs include works by Stravinsky and Shostakovich.

“I don’t think it’s appropriate, as a pioneering creative organization, to cancel, pause or self-censor, in our case, good music that deserves to be played and heard. “

A BBC spokesperson highlighted its programming of Ukrainian music and culture on Radio 3 and elsewhere, including a summer ball featuring the Ukrainian Freedom Orchestra.

“We continue to carefully review Russia-related programs, considering everything on a case-by-case basis,” he said.


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Post expires at 9:09pm on Friday January 6th, 2023