Putin Says Russian Culture Is “Abolished” Like JK Rowling

  • Putin says the West is targeting giants of Russian culture
  • Compares the actions to Nazi Germany
  • Shostakovich says, target Rachmaninoff

DUBLIN (Reuters) – President Vladimir Putin accused the West on Friday of trying to cancel out Russia’s rich musical and literary culture, including composers Pyotr Tchaikovsky and Sergei Rachmaninoff, in the same way he said it had scrapped “Harry Potter” author JK. Rowling.

Speaking in a meeting with cultural figures broadcast on national television, Putin complained about the cancellation of a number of Russian cultural events in recent weeks and compared this to measures taken by Nazi Germany in the 1930s.

“Not long ago, children’s writer J.K. Rowling was also canceled because … she did not satisfy fans of so-called sexual liberties,” Putin said at the meeting, referring to the controversy sparked by the “Harry Potter” author’s views on transgender issues.

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“Today they are trying to abolish a thousand-year-old culture, our people,” he said. I’m talking about progressive discrimination against everything related to Russia.

“The last time such a mass campaign to destroy objectionable publications was carried out by the Nazis in Germany almost 90 years ago,” Putin said.

Several events in which Russian cultural figures have expressed support for the war have been cancelled, including some involving Valery Gergiev, general director of the St. Petersburg Mariinsky Theatre, who spoke to Putin during Friday’s meeting.

Gergiev was dismissed as conductor of the Munich Philharmonic and lost the opportunity to do so at La Scala in Milan after failing to condemn the Russian invasion. Read more

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Spain’s Teatro Real, one of Europe’s major opera houses, has canceled its performances later this year for Russia’s Bolshoi Ballet. Christie’s, Sotheby’s and Bonhams Auctions have canceled the sale of Russian art in London.

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting with members of the government via video link at the Novo-Ogaryovo State Residence outside Moscow, Russia on March 23, 2022. Sputnik/Mikhail Klementev/Kremlin via Reuters Attention Editors – This image was provided by a third party.

Events canceled

Far fewer events were canceled due to their association with dead Russian cultural figures.

The Cardiff Philharmonic Orchestra has dropped a Tchaikovsky concert from its program, and media reports have said orchestras in Japan and Croatia have made similar decisions.

Rowling quickly distanced herself from Putin, posting an article on Twitter criticizing the Kremlin and its treatment of jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny.

“Perhaps no better criticism of Western abolitionist culture than those who are currently slaughtering civilians for the crime of resistance, or who imprison and poison their critics,” she wrote.

Russia has denied attacking civilians in what it called a “special military operation” in Ukraine, but Western powers say it has repeatedly bombed civilian targets in what they describe as an unprovoked and unjustified invasion.

The Cardiff Philharmonic Orchestra said it was subjected to “hate speech and vicious comments” after the cancellation of Tchaikovsky’s concert.

“Basic humanity takes precedence over art and history,” she said in a Facebook post. When the humanitarian crisis is over, the debate about ‘wake up’ and ‘abolition of culture’ can have its place.

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Reporting by Reuters. Written by Conor Humphreys and Jay Faulconbridge; Editing by Kevin Levy, Raisa Kasulowski, and Hugh Lawson

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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