August 18, 2022

Kremlin Cancels Culture


Kremlin Cancels Culture
"Don't be foreigners' puppets." Ilya Varlamov (Twitter post)

Not even film directors, stage actors, or movie stars are safe from falling afoul of Russian authorities if they speak out against the war in Ukraine.

August 3 saw the first meeting of the Russian legislature's Working Group for the Investigation of Anti-Russian Activities in the Cultural Sphere (known by its Russian acronym, GRAD). At the meeting, GRAD published and discussed a blacklist of cultural figures who have expressed discontent with the war in Ukraine.

According to GRAD, these figures must either "publicly admit that they were wrong, in the form of a critical assessment of the special operation in Ukraine," or resign their positions. Some will be required to undergo "educational work."

The list has 56 names, including film director Fyodor Bondarchuk, TV host Ivan Urgant, and theater actor Danila Kozlovsky. Also included are political scientists, journalists, and creatives.

According to the leader of GRAD, politician and author Zakhar Prilepin, the group's purpose is "to correct the personnel policy of the state in the field of culture." Per other members of GRAD, the intelligentsia that these individuals represent is a "liberal mafia" that holds "an anti-people position" of "Russophobic ideas."

This action comes amid a continuing crackdown on dissent as the invasion of Ukraine continues. Several other cultural figures, even those with an international following, have already come under fire.

 

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