Leading figures in the Ukrainian art world including Culture Minister Oleksandr Tkachenko have called for sanctions to “limit Russia’s presence within the international cultural arena,” such as a ban on Russian artists in international exhibitions and fairs.
“Russia is effectively a totalitarian state, and too often it uses culture tools picked from its state propaganda toolbox,” a statement published on the website of Ukrinform, the state-owned news agency, said. “The Russian Federation is a rogue state. Russian culture, when used as propaganda, is toxic!”
Signatories included Galyna Grygorenko, the head of the State Agency of Ukraine for Arts and Artistic Education, Volodymyr Sheiko, the director of the Ukraine Institute, and a number of art dealers, film directors, conductors, musicians and artists.
The statement called for all projects involving the Russian government to be cancelled and demanded the suspension of operations of Russian cultural centres in international locations. It urged a ban on Russian participants in the Venice Biennale, Documenta and Art Basel and in international film festivals. It also called for Russian candidates to be excluded from international competitions, citing as an example the European Broadcasting Union’s decision to bar Russia from participating in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest.
The Ukrainian arts figures said they “highly value the stance taken by some Russian cultural influencers who have openly condemned the Russian aggression and military action against Ukraine.”