Cultural Ties With Russia Are Severed Over Ukrainian Crisis

9:34 PM PST 03/11/2014 by Vladimir Kozlov
AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky

Several people and organizations have cancelled their cultural projects in Russia out of protest against Moscow's invasion of the Ukraine.

MOSCOW -- Russian culture has been dealt a severe blow, as foreign companies and individuals are cutting ties over the Ukraine crisis.

Polish director Christian Lupa, the winner of the Russian Stanislavsky Award, has canceled its visit to Russia, while Latvia's New Riga Theater has withdrawn its Russian tour and head Alvis Hermanis has refused to be involved in a performance at the Bolshoi Theater, Radio Liberty reported.

In a similar move, Latvian movie and theater actress Guna Zarina, who was scheduled to appear in a theater play at Moscow's Gogol Center this month, refused to come. "Muses are silent," she said in a statement. "See you after the war!"

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However, Gogol Center's head Kirill Serebrennikov has disapproved of the Latvian actor and director's move. "I can't accept this kind of stance," he said on his Facebook account. "Theater doesn't speak to the authorities, theater speaks to regular people who could also be absolutely against the war."

"If [Hermanis'] theater were invited to perform [for top officials] in the Kremlin, it would be fine to refuse and express protest, but now friendly relations and ties turn out to be severed," he added.

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Cinematheque Ontario the Czech film festival Flahertania have canceled screening programs in Russia, which were supposed to run under the auspices of the local documentary festival ArtDocFest, programming director Viktoria Belopolskaya said on her Facebook account. "And these are results of the invasion in Crimea, which I'm personally facing," she commented.

Meanwhile, the contemporary arts festival Manifesta 10, scheduled to run in St. Petersburg from June through October, may be canceled as well as a group of artists from Amsterdam and Dusseldorf are collecting signatures for its suspension.

"We believe that participation in cultural activities with Russia at this time means legitimization and acceptance of Russian aggression towards the democratic nation of Ukraine," reads their petition on Change.org.

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