The isolation and discrimination of Russian culture is opposed by cultural figures in Europe

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The isolation and discrimination of Russian culture is opposed by cultural figures in Europe
The isolation and discrimination of Russian culture is opposed by cultural figures in Europe
16 March, 16:41CulturePhoto: The Guardian
The cultural isolation of Russia and the sanctions against Russian artists, writers and scientists provoke protests from their colleagues in Italy, Germany, Belgium, and the UK.

Since the beginning of the special operation in Ukraine, many Russian scientists, writers and artists have become victims of the “cancellation culture”. Western institutions are terminating contracts with stars like Netrebko and Gergiev and canceling tours of entire troupes, renouncing the heritage of late Russian classics and excluding young prodigies of Russian origin from competitions. But more and more voices from the opposite camp are heard, calling for an end to discrimination based on nationality.

Italian cultural figures launched a petition on change.org calling for continued cooperation with the Russians, Classical Musica News reports. The appeal was prompted by several high-profile incidents that have taken place in Italy in recent weeks, including the cancellation of performances by Valery Gergiev and Anna Netrebko at La Scala and lectures on Dostoyevsky at the University of Milan.

The authors of the appeal recall that after the start of the special operation in Ukraine, many scientists and artists who worked in Italy lost their contracts, and continue: “Our concern is caused by the fact that discrimination against the people, especially its most prominent representatives, can lead to irreversible consequences in the long term. The dehumanization of the people is a process that has characterized absolutist regimes throughout history and has often led to manifestations of uncontrolled violence”. Addressing the Italian authorities, the signatories urge them to “not allow any acts of ostracism”, on the contrary, to conduct “a broader academic and cultural dialogue” that will help Russia avoid isolation.

The Association of British Orchestras (ABO) also issued a statement refusing to boycott Russian composers. Its executive director, Mark Pemberton, told The Telegraph that Russian culture is part of the "historical canon of Western classical music" and the political situation should not influence the music.

The fact that Russian musicians will not be allowed to compete this year was announced by the Czech music competition "Concertino Prague", the winners of which in previous years were pianist Anton Batagov and violinist Dmitry Sitkovetsky. The competition website announces the decision not to accept applications that are traditionally sent by the All-Russian radio station: “VGTRK is a propaganda tool for the regime of Vladimir Putin”. The organizers stipulate that "young and, undoubtedly, very talented musicians from the Russian Federation do not bear any responsibility for unleashing the conflict on the territory of Ukraine", however, they admit that they are forced to resort to this measure in protest against the All-Russian State Television and Radio Broadcasting Company.

At the same time, the Queen Elisabeth Competition, which is held in Brussels in May-June, said it would welcome Russians: that art should continue to unite people around universal human values such as peace, justice and freedom”. The Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in Fort Worth will also host Russian contestants.

Opera star Jonas Kaufman also spoke in defense of his Russian colleagues, saying in an interview with Corriere della Sera that "culture in Russia should not be destroyed." “There were moments in history when reconciliation was preceded by a joint concert. Perhaps this is the contribution that we as musicians can make: to build a bridge through art and thereby strengthen the will to peacefully resolve this conflict. Let's hope so", - said the German tenor.

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