Putin blasts west for ‘cancelling’ Russian culture ‘like JK Rowling’

Putin blasts west for 'cancelling' Russian culture 'like JK Rowling'
Russian President, Vladimir Putin

The Russian president, Vladimir Putin, on Friday slammed the west for discriminating against Russian culture, comparing the treatment of Russian cultural figures with that of the “cancelled” Harry Potter author JK Rowling.

At a televised meeting with leading cultural figures, Putin said the west was “trying to cancel a whole thousand-year culture, our people”, citing the cancellation of events involving Russian artists in some western countries.

“They’re now engaging in the cancel culture, even removing Tchaikovsky, Shostakovich and Rachmaninov from posters; Russian writers and books are now cancelled,” Putin said.

A number of events involving Russian cultural figures who have expressed their backing for the war have been cancelled, most notably concerts by the award-winning Russian conductor Valery Gergiev, a friend and supporter of Putin, who was part of the meeting on Friday.

Some events involving dead Russian cultural figures have also been cancelled, with the Cardiff Philharmonic Orchestra removing the Russian composer Tchaikovsky from its programme, a move that was widely criticised by western cultural figures.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said the west was “trying to cancel a whole thousand-year culture, our people.”

Putin in his address added that the “last time” such a campaign was waged against “unwanted literature” was when Nazi supporters burned books in the 1930s.

The Russian leader further compared the treatment Russia has received following the country’s invasion of Ukraine with the controversy surrounding the British author JK Rowling’s comments on transgender people.

“Recently they cancelled the children’s writer Joanne Rowling because she – the author of books that have sold hundreds of millions of copies worldwide – fell out of favour with fans of so-called ‘gender freedoms’. Today they want to cancel a whole thousand-year culture, our people,” Putin said.

JK Rowling on Friday distanced herself from Putin’s comments by sharing an article about the jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny on Twitter.

Andrei Kolesnikov of the Carnegie Moscow Center said that Putin’s address on Friday gave another insight into the “distorted” view the Russian leader had of the west.

“Putin uses the information he receives from advisers and then creates his own reality of the west,” Kolesnikov said.

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