May 17, 2022


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Putin says the West treats Russian culture like JK Rowling’s ‘abolished’ Russia

Vladimir Putin accused the West of discriminating against Russian culture, and compared the treatment of Russian cultural figures to that of “cancelled” Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling.

In a televised meeting on Friday with prominent cultural figures, Putin said the West was “trying to abolish a whole 1,000-year-old culture, our people,” citing cancellations of Events involving Russian artists protesting the invasion of Ukraine.

“Now they are engaged in a culture of abolition, even removing Tchaikovsky, Shostakovich and Rachmaninov from the posters. “Now the Russian writers and books have been abolished,” Putin said.

A number of events involving Russian cultural figures who expressed support for the war have been canceled, including concerts by the award-winning Russian conductor. Valery Gergieva friend and supporter of Putin, who was part of the meeting on Friday.

Some events involving dead Russian cultural figures have also been abandoned, with the Cardiff Philharmonic Orchestra removing Russian composer Tchaikovsky from its programme, a decision that was widespread Criticize by Western cultural figures.

In his speech, Putin said that the last time such a campaign against “unwanted literature” was launched was when Nazi supporters burned books in the 1930s.

He went on to compare Russia’s treatment with the controversy surrounding Rowling’s comments on transgender people. “They recently canceled the children’s writer Joan Rowling because – the author of books that have sold hundreds of millions of copies worldwide – she has not been popular with fans of so-called sexual liberties,” Putin said.

On Friday, Rowling distanced herself from Putin’s comments by publishing an article about imprisoned Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny on Twitter. The British author wrote, adding the hashtag #IStandWithUkraine: “Criticisms of Western abolitionist culture are perhaps no better than those who are currently slaughtering civilians for the crime of resistance, or who imprison and poison their critics.”

In the past, Putin has repeatedly expressed his contempt for Western “liberal” values, comparing the culture of abolition with the coronavirus. When asked by a Russian journalist last year about Rowling, Putin said he “sticks to the traditional approach – a woman is a woman, a man is a man, a mother is a mother, and a father is a father.”

Andrei Kolesnikov, of the Carnegie Endowment in Moscow, said Putin’s speech on Friday gave another clue to the Russian leader’s “distorted” view of the West. “Putin uses the information he receives from advisers and then creates his own reality for the West,” Kolesnikov said. He hears about some extreme examples happening in the West and then convinces himself that this is the trend. He doesn’t like nuances.”

Kolesnikov said Friday’s meeting with Russia’s cultural elite was aimed at showing the Russian public that the West is waging a parallel culture war against the country, four weeks after Moscow invaded Ukraine. Putin wants to tell Russians that they are under siege culturally as well. The West sees it as a relentless war against traditional Russian values.

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