January 01, 2017

Culture Clash



In an unusually frank speech, Konstantin Raikin, the head of Moscow’s Satirikon Theater, decried growing censorship of the arts in Russia. This led to a wider debate that has lasted for weeks, focusing attention on the role of the government in all things culture. But, instead of consolidating the arts community, it seems to have divided it.

Konstantin Raikin, speaking at a meeting of Russia’s Union of Theater Workers on October 24:

“I am very concerned, as I think you are as well, by the events happening in our life. These, shall we say, assaults on art, on the theater, in particular. They are absolutely illegal, extremist, aggressive, and are being cloaked in words about morality and other fine and lofty words like ‘patriotism,’ ‘motherland,’ and ‘high moral standards.’ These are small groups of ostensibly offended people who close down plays, close down exhibits, who behave very brazenly, and the authorities are very oddly neutral toward their actions, very hands-off. I feel that these are outrageous assaults on creative freedom, on the illegality of censorship.”


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