July 25, 2022

Artistic Apoliticality


Artistic Apoliticality
All art is political... except this art. Wikimedia Commons, Piotr Drabik.

Major Russian concert agencies have begun including in contracts prohibitions on artists making political statements of any kind during performances or while on tour.

The Russian news outlet RBK, which reportedly was in contact with a source that relayed the information and got hold of a contract, said that the new requirement, while not enforced by the state, is quickly becoming an industry standard for both Russian performers and touring foreigners.

The practice is a response to worldwide outcry over Russia's invasion of Ukraine and is likely to prevent the agencies from getting embroiled in trouble with the state. This development comes as the Russian state continues to crack down on dissent, especially in the arts.

The contract prohibits, among other things, "state symbols of Ukraine, including those confusingly similar to it, as well as other symbols, in order to form incorrect conclusions about the goals and objectives of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation on the territory of Ukraine, any discredit of the Russian Federation, and state bodies Russian Federation, including the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation."

Performers must not "disseminate untrue information about the progress of the special military operation in Ukraine by any means, including audiovisual means," and should "avoid any political topics during the concert."

The fee for breaching the contract is R500,000 ($8,850), but RBK's source says that this could be adjusted based on the performer.

 

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