Russia’s war against Ukraine – the main events of May 23
Serebrennikov spoke out against the “abolition” of Russian culture due to Russian invasion of Ukraine and called for helping the families of Russian soldiers and Russian displaced persons, as well as easing sanctions against Russian oligarchs. It is known that the film Tchaikovsky’s Wife, which entered the Cannes competition this year, was filmed at the expense of the sanctioned oligarch Roman Abramovich.
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“Since Feb. 24, 2022, Ukrainian cultural figures and organizations have called on the international community to impose “cultural sanctions” against Russia and to suspend any cooperation with people and institutions directly or indirectly supported by Putin regime and Russian capital,” the Institute’s statement says.
“Many intellectuals in Europe reacted critically to this appeal, defending Russian culture and its cultural figures and arguing that a clear distinction shall be made between art and politics.”
It was also noted that the speech of Russian director Kirill Serebrennikov at the Cannes Film Festival press conference on May 19 showed that the fears of the Ukrainian cultural community are not exaggerated at all.
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In his speech, the director called for the lifting of sanctions against a Russian oligarch close to Putin, defended one of the Kremlin’s main ideologists and called for support for Russian soldiers along with Ukrainian victims of the war. Serebrennikov openly declared his support for Abramovich, introducing him as a patron of arts and stating that “thanks to him, we have an art-house cinema [in Russia].”
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“This statement testifies to the moral short-sightedness shared by many Russian artists. Serebrennikov prefers to ignore Abramovich’s close ties to Vladimir Putin, who has entrusted him to represent the Russian side in peace talks with Ukraine. While praising the billionaire’s philanthropy, Serebrennikov never raises the question of the source of Abramovich’s wealth and influence,” the Ukrainian Institute said.
In a similar feat of moral acrobatics, Kirill Serebrennikov vouched for his old friend and colleague Vladislav Surkov, whom he called a “public official.”
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As a former deputy chief of the presidential administration and assistant to the President on foreign affairs, Surkov has been Putin’s chief political strategist for many years and is considered a key architect of Putinism, the statement says.
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“Serebrennikov’s status as a “dissident” is long overdue for a thorough analysis. His Cannes speech unequivocally renders his apologetic attitude towards the supporters of Russian war against Ukraine. He is a living proof that Russian culture most often advocates the war and can be used very effectively to highlight Russia’s aggressive expansionism,” the Ukrainian Institute concluded.
In addition to the Russian Serebrennikov, a number of scandalous statements were made in Cannes by Ukrainian director Serhiy Loznitsa, who was previously expelled from the Ukrainian Film Academy. In particular, receiving an award for his contribution to cinema, he delivered a speech in which he opposed the boycott of Russian culture and said that it “contradictsEuropean principles of cultural pluralism and freedom of expression.”