Russian crackdown on Ukrainian… composers


Moscow police on the night of April 13 broke up a concert by pianist Aleksey Lyubimov and singer Yana Ivanilova at the city’s Rassvet Cultural Center. The official reason for the raid was an anonymous bomb threat on the venue. But concert organizers noted that the program included songs by the Ukrainian composer Valentin Silvestrov, which had apparently been chosen as an implicit anti-war statement. Lyubimov continued to play the song he was in the middle of even as uniformed police took over the stage and hovered over him menacingly. As the classical music news site Slipped Disc stated: “Lyubimov’s final chord was an act of defiance.” Moscow Times reports that police then ordered the premises cleared, but applause from the audience drowned out the officers’ words. After the theater was evacuated, police brought in dogs and had it searched for two hours. No explosives were found.

Russians have been detained for displaying Ukrainian flags and symbols since Moscow launched its “special military operation” on Feb. 24. Some have been detained for carrying balloons or wearing nail polish with the blue-and-yellow of the Ukrainian flag.

See our last report on the fast-escalating crackdown on dissent in Russia.

Photo via Facebook

  1. Russian crackdown on… Tolstoy

    Since the invasion, Russian police have arrested more than 15,000 people for criticizing the war. On April 10, police detained activist Konstantin Goldman for standing in Red Square with a copy of Tolstoy’s War and Peace.

    Anonymous attacks on dissidents also continue. Last week, Nobel laureate Dmitry Muratov, editor of one of Russia’s few remaining independent newspapers, Novaya Gazeta, was attacked with red paint. (PBS, NPRMoscow Times)

  2. Russian Eurovision star faces hate campaign over anti-war stance

    The singer who represented Russia at Eurovision in 2021 is being targeted by a cyberbullying campaign over her opposition to the war in Ukraine. Manizha Sangin has been an outspoken critic of the invasion, calling it a “fraternal conflict” that goes “against the will” of Russian people.

    Many of her concerts this summer have been scrapped after the organizers were doxed. One message shared on Telegram includes the phone number and address for organizers of September’s Aleksandrovskaya Fortress festival, which celebrates the Cossack culture of Ukraine and southern Russia. It urges people to “demand to cancel the performance of Manizha, saying that she opposes the Russian army.” (BBC Music)

  3. Russia shuts newspaper, imprisons reporter for treason

    A Russian court on Sept. 5 revoked the print licence of top independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta. On that same day, former reporter Ivan Safronov of newspapers Kommersant and Vedomosti was sentenced by a Moscow court to 22 years in prison on treason charges for allegedly divulging state secrets. (AFP)