Why should russian culture be cancelled?

Russia has been expropriating cultural figures in occupied territories for years, erecting monuments to its leaders and pushing its low-grade content into infospace in every possible way. Phrases such as “culture is outside of politics” or “what does Pushkin have to do with it?” under such circumstances become harmful narratives that threaten national security.

Russia, which has been infringing upon Ukrainian culture for centuries, has partly achieved its aim by implanting the idea of its inferiority on the world and Ukrainians themselves. The extermination of Ukrainian intellectuals and their achievements in systematic attempts to russify Ukrainians have unfortunately done their part.

Even before 2014, the myth of the greatness of russian culture persisted in Ukrainian society. Although Ukraine has suffered most from such aggressive colonial policies, this does not mean that the culture of other countries is safe.

Yesenin museum in Saltivka District of Kharkiv (summer 2022)

In 2010, the only museum of russian poet Sergey Yesenin in Ukraine was opened in this very school in Saltivka (a district of Kharkiv). At the time, the townspeople were proud and excited about the opening, unaware that it was a russian missile that would so damage the building 12 years later.

More than six months of russia’s full-scale war against Ukraine are beginning to wear the world out. Discourses about russian culture’s non-involvement in the war are becoming more and more frequent. And this is exactly what the aggressor country is counting on. Cancelling russian culture is an element of self-defence for every country whose identity is encroached upon by russia.