According to reports from multiple sources, artists from both Russia and Ukraine have strongly denounced the merciless assault currently being leveled on the latter country by the former at the behest of Russian president Vladimir Putin. Those in Ukraine urged Western artists to speak out against the atrocity, while those in Russia expressed solidarity and lamented their limited ability to publicly protest the attack.
“Russia’s war against Ukraine has been going on for eight years,” writer Andrei Kurkov told German media site DW. “What I miss is a clear positioning of the leading artists from other countries of the world. Where are the voices of artists from France, Germany, the US? It is up to the artists to shake up their governments. Because the politicians obviously haven’t understood yet how dangerous what’s happening right now is for all of us.”
“It’s now almost impossible to protest against what is going on,” Dmitry Vilensky, a member of the Russian art collective Chto Delat, told The Art Newspaper, noting that dissent had been increasingly been stifled since 2014. “Most people in the Russian contemporary art scene do not support the reactionary turn in Russian cultural politics and certainly do not support any military [action] and colonialism in Ukraine, but because of strict control of the public sphere, it is difficult to articulate your disagreement publicly, apart from posts on social media.”
Despite many being aligned in solidarity, the war has strained alliances between Russian and Ukrainian artists. Billboard earlier today reported that Ukrainian DJ and singer-songwriter Ivan Dorn, who enjoys popularity in Russia, urged his Russian colleagues, “Do not be silent.” Dorn’s label, Masterskaya, announced that it would be halting all projects involving Russian musicians. “It’s time to protect our values,” the label asserted.