Russian culture is a tool of conquest and subjugation. Putin uses it to justify attacking Ukraine. Before that he denied Ukraine’s separate culture, history, and language. For Ukraine to survive, they must reject Russian culture until victory over Russia. Then, elements of it must be reevaluated as instruments of oppression.
The Kremlin denies Ukraine’s existence as a state, seeks to annex its territory, and subjugate its people, says ambassador Michael Carpenter in his speech in Vienna, on
January 26, 2023. This is a threat to Europe, not just Russia’s neighbors.
The Russian leadership believes Ukrainian identity does not not exist outside of Russian culture. Putin himself has said “modern Ukraine was entirely created by Russia,” echoing the rhetoric of past dictators seeking to expand their empires.
Russia’s forces engage in atrocities, yet the Kremlin claims they are victims of aggression. Those who oppose Russia are labeled “Russophobic” and those who don’t accept imperial rule are called “Nazi.”
To understand Russia’s actions in Ukraine, one must understand Putin’s language and perspective on Ukraine and its people. This mindset justifies disregard for Ukrainian lives. Since Feb 24, 2022 over 60,000 war crimes have been reported as a result of this thinking.
Thus, anyone in the West who promotes any manifestation of Russian culture now, saying that it is outside politics and war, whether it is ballet, whether it is Russian literature, whether it is quotes by Russian intellectuals – they all contribute to the war against Ukraine and are supporting Russia’ efforts to assert dominance and deny the sovereignty of other nations.
In this context, the celebration of Russian culture becomes a tool of oppression, rather than an innocent cultural exchange. Therefore, it is important to critically examine the political implications of promoting any aspect of Russian culture in the current climate.