Arts organizations scrutinize performers’ ties to Putin in light of Russian invasion of Ukraine

Posted on: March 8, 2022

“As global condemnation of Russia’s attack on Ukraine grows, cultural institutions have moved with surprising speed to put pressure on Russian artists to distance themselves from Mr. Putin, a collision of art and politics that is forcing organizations to confront questions about free speech and whether they should be policing artists’ views,” writes Javier C. Hernández in Saturday’s (3/5) New York Times. “Institutions are demanding that artists who have supported Mr. Putin in the past issue clear condemnations of the Russian president and his invasion as a prerequisite for performing. Others are checking their rosters and poring over social media posts to ensure Russian performers have not made contentious statements about the war…. The tensions pose a dilemma for cultural institutions and those who support them. Many have long tried to stay above the fray of current events, and have a deep belief in the role the arts can play in bridging divides…. On Friday the Annapolis Symphony in Maryland announced that it would replace the Russian violinist Vadim Repin, who had been scheduled to play a Shostakovich concerto in upcoming concerts, ‘out of respect to Repin’s apolitical stance and concerns for the safety of himself and his family.’… There had been threats to disrupt Mr. Repin’s performances.”