Submitted by fortmis in Europe

The debate on boycotting Russian culture is not what western artistic and intellectual circles should be worrying about now. At least not if they have anything to do with Europe and its values of human rights, dignity and solidarity.

Because while the world debates whether to cancel or to welcome artists and writers who suddenly feel like leaving Russia amidst its economic collapse, it neglects the crucial question: will Russia succeed in executing Ukrainian culture once again?

Before the full-scale invasion, when the threat was already in the air, I kept thinking about Ukraine’s Executed Renaissance. In the 1930s, the Soviet-Russian regime murdered the majority of Ukrainian writers and intellectuals. The few that survived were scared and unfree. And this, of course, wasn’t the first time the Ukrainian elite had been erased or forced to assimilate to Russian imperial culture.

The purges and centuries of unimaginable pressure are why you don’t often hear about great Ukrainian literature, theatre and art. When you look at the map of Europe, you see Dante here and Shakespeare, but only a vast gap where Ukrainian culture should have been to make Europe whole and safe.

Now there is a real threat that Russians will successfully execute another generation of Ukrainian culture – this time by missiles and bombs.

For me, it would mean the majority of my friends get killed. For an average westerner, it would only mean never seeing their paintings, never hearing them read their poems, or never reading the novels that they have yet to write.



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