February 2, 2023

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Only “traditional” arts and culture are allowed in Russia

Activists around the world have been calling for a boycott of Russian culture for months, as punishment Vladimir Putin’s relentless aggression in his war on Ukraine. But it seems that no radical measures will be required soon: Russia is destroying its artistic and cultural projects on its own.

Since the beginning of the war State control and the so-called patriots here They rallied for the ban Russian folk theatre, art and film They consider it “pro-Western”.

In a video posted to YouTube this week, the head of the Moscow Department of Culture, Alexander Kibovsky, announced that Decree recently signed by Vladimir Putin “To promote traditional Russian spiritual and moral values” gives the Russian authorities the green light to cleanse the country’s cultural landscape of all “Western influence”.

“The presidential decree gives us, the cultural authorities, guidelines to provide state support only to projects that comply with the requirements,” Kipovsky said. He said on Monday. “Now we feel the hangover effects from all that mashing up [the West] They have been feeding us for so many years… Sadly we need the special operation regime to get to this.” Addressing the West, Kibowski added, “We are not your monkeys anymore.”

Citizens across Russia have already taken measures to avoid the Russian authorities’ wrath under the new policy.

“Some bookstores and bookstores are getting ahead of the government censorship train and removing books from shelves that have not yet been banned,” Alexandra Vakhrusheva, former director of the Turgenev Library in Moscow, told The Daily Beast. “The names of banned theater directors were removed from theatrical billboards, and schools received ‘letters of recommendation’ from the Ministries of Culture and Education advising children to wear costumes from Russian fairy tales, not Western cartoon characters.”

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Earlier this month, the Parents’ Council — a Russian children’s rights group based in Khabarovsk — bought all copies Summer in a pioneer tiea book about a romantic relationship between two Soviet boys, so they don’t end up in Russian homes.

One of the members of the father’s council, A.A video From himself tearing books. “I am happy to be a part of saving our youth, our Russian civilization from the false Western values ​​of horror and darkness,” he said, tearing pages from the book into pieces. “We are not the West, we are a country with a history of 1,000 years.”

Russian children traditionally go to Elochka carnivals during the holidays, but the guidelines for this year’s events are different for some families. The Russian city of Chita has resorted to censoring children’s costumes at carnivals, asking parents to dress their children only “in the style of Russian culture.”

This is the end of culture as we know it.

One fashion problem they encountered is the character of the teddy bear Huggie Wuji, from the American survival horror game Poppy Playtime. “The Huggie Waggie Personality Negatively Affects Children’s Perception of the Outside World,” Chita Education Committee he said in a statement.

Until recently, Russian cultural freedom was protected by law. The fall of the Soviet Union three decades ago saw a creative upsurge in Russian ballet, film and literature. New formats, new ideas, and international artists were welcomed, as Russian art swept the world’s leading exhibitions and won international awards.

Legislation adopted in 1992 obligated the authorities to help finance artistic and cultural projects across the country. But today, officials insist, malign Western infiltration is at play. In his video, Kibowski insisted: “Western neo-colonialism didn’t have to preoccupy us, they influenced us to create an indigenous pro-Western elite.”

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So, what alternative can the Kremlin offer to promote traditional values?

Speaker of the Russian Federation Council Valentina Mutvienko I suggested That the authorities purchase traditional musical instruments, such as the Russian balalaika, and distribute them around regional clubs and houses of culture in Russia. “Let’s calculate the cost of this, so that the program can be implemented in 2 to 3 years,” Motvienko said.

The push for a more “traditional” Russia has left many across the country angry.

“Kibovsky is now talking about ‘artistic councils’ that will decide which play will be shown on stage or which film will be allowed in cinemas – the councils will include members of the military-patriotic societies,” Ksenia Larina, one of Russia’s leading cultural critics, told The Daily Beast. “This is the end of culture as we know it, as culture cannot be divided into pro- or anti-Western.”