On 24 February 2022, at 5 am the armed forces of the Russian Federation attacked Ukraine, launching a full-scale invasion on our country. It is a completely unjustified attack that, as of 29 March, killed 1324 civilians, including 145 children and caused great destruction of civil infrastructure and architectural heritage. Explosions, bombings and air raids have hit all major Ukrainian cities. The aggressor’s tanks and heavy artillery crossed the Ukrainian border from the north, the south, and the east. On 27 February Putin threatened to use nuclear weapons in Ukraine. This is a war of a scale unseen in Europe since 1945, and the whole world is watching it happen.
We are grateful to our allies for imposing economic and political sanctions on the Russian Federation. However, the aggressor continues to use the metaphor of ‘the great Russian culture’ to justify, downplay, and steer public attention away from its countless war crimes, acts of aggression, violation of human rights and international law.
For decades, cultural institutions and individuals affiliated with the Russian state have instrumentalised culture for political propaganda, hybrid warfare and whitewashing of Russia’s international reputation. This has to stop now!
Therefore, on behalf of cultural organisations and institutions in Ukraine, we are asking for your solidarity and support. We call to suspend any cultural cooperation with Russia until it completely withdraws from Ukraine and is held responsible for its war crimes:
- Suspend Russian participation in international cultural events such as festivals, biennials, exhibitions, art and literature fairs, including the Russian pavilion at the Venice Biennale;
- Boycott events organised by Russian institutions as well as international foundations that are directly and indirectly linked to or funded by Putin’s regime and Russian capital;
- Cancel any cooperation with Russian artists, no matter how great or famous, as long as they openly support Putin’s regime, silence its crimes, or do not publicly and directly oppose it;
- Remove representatives affiliated with the Russian state or Russian capital from supervisory and advisory boards of your organisations;
- Refuse any donations, funding or sponsorship from Russian organisations, their proxies and affiliates based in other countries.
Today, the trope of ‘the great Russian culture’ is dangerous. Based on colonial and imperial legacy, it promotes aggression, exclusion, intolerance, and crimes against humanity.
Please help Ukraine by stopping any cultural cooperation with the Russian Federation and communicate your decision publicly to encourage your peers to follow your example.
We have the power to stop the bloodshed and war. Let’s combine our efforts and end Russia’s war on freedom, democratic values, truth, and the whole civilised world.
The Ukrainian Institute team