Call to suspend cultural cooperation with Russia and international presentation of Russian culture

The Ukrainian Institute reiterates its call to international and Ukrainian cultural institutions and individual professionals, academic community, and civil society organisations to suspend any cooperation with Russia. We consider this a necessary step to push back the aggressor that launched a violent and unjustified invasion against Ukraine, a sovereign and peaceful European country, and has long instrumentalised culture and soft power for political propaganda and manipulation of public opinion.

Russia’s war against Ukraine has taken thousands of innocent lives, caused great destruction of civil infrastructure, and devastated architectural and cultural heritage of Ukrainian cities. Recently, the world has seen shocking photographs and evidence of horrific war crimes committed by the Russian army in Bucha, Kyiv region, the city of Mariupol, and other occupied regions – mass murder of civilians, torture, rape, and looting. This is a grave violation of international law.

Suspension of cultural and academic cooperation with Russia shall remain in effect until Russia fully withdraws from Ukraine, including Crimea and the temporarily occupied territories in Donbas, and is held responsible for its war crimes.

We reiterate and enhance our requests to the international community:

  • As a sign of respect and grief, refrain from presenting, performing or promoting Russian culture and art until the war in Ukraine is over;
  • Suspend Russian participation in international cultural and academic events such as festivals, biennials, exhibitions, art and literature fairs, fora, conferences etc;
  • 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 and scholars, no matter how great or famous, as long as they supported Putin’s regime after 2014, do not acknowledge shared responsibility of Russians for the crimes of the Russian state, and have not publicly condemned the war against Ukraine;
  • 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.

We consider it inappropriate to invite Ukrainian and Russian artists, culture makers, and scholars to participate in or perform at the same event, to encourage cooperation, dialogue, or reconciliation while the Russian army keeps killing the Ukrainian people. Discussions on Ukraine cannot take place without representatives of Ukrainian society.

Whilst respecting pluralism of opinion and inclusive nature of cultural relations, we ask you not to legitimise Russia-centric, imperialist, and colonial perspectives on Ukraine, its history and culture.

We are grateful to the international community for the overwhelming solidarity with Ukraine and its artists who have found themselves in extremely precarious circumstances. Instead of cooperating with Russia, we encourage you to help the world discover Ukraine by showcasing its films, performing Ukrainian music, staging dramaturgy, translating Ukrainian literature into other languages, engaging in scholarly exchanges, establishing Ukrainian studies departments and programmes, and rethinking approaches to academic research of Ukraine and Eastern Europe. The Ukrainian Institute is willing to provide expertise and advice to such initiatives.

The victory in this war depends on our solidarity and concerted efforts.