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Putin Discusses Russia’s Rich ‘Human-Centric’ Culture, but Under Attack from the West

March 25, 2022 (EIRNS)—At a time when every aspect of Russian culture is under attack in the West, President Vladimir Putin spoke today on the “invaluable contributions” that Russian culture has made to “the development of world civilization.” For centuries, he said, “Russian masters of literature, music and fine arts have given humankind new aesthetic traditions and, more importantly, ideals and meanings that have become moral and spiritual guidelines for millions of people and entire generations.”

He was speaking to the winners of the 2021 Presidential Prize for young cultural professionals and for writing and art for children and young people on Cultural Workers’ Day, a holiday, he explained, that was established to honor “an enormous cohort of people ... who dedicated their lives to Russian culture. Magnificent and inexhaustible, our culture reflects the entire diversity of the spiritual and historical legacy and traditions of our multiethnic country.” Russian culture is “human-centric,” he said. “The best classical works are focused on the inner life, personal quests and emotional experiences of human beings. They ask relevant questions, help people to think, understand and draw conclusions.”

It is this quality, he said, that “reliably protects the Russian people even today, when seemingly eternal concepts and norms are being eroded and undermined in different countries, history is being distorted and the laws of nature itself are being violated.” After addressing the pernicious effects of “cancel culture” more broadly, which he said is being “aggressively imposed,” Putin pointed to the attacks on Russian culture—its musicians, artists, writers—internationally, using Russia’s military operation in Ukraine as a pretext. “Today, they are trying to cancel an entire millennium-old country, our people. I am referring to the mounting discrimination against everything related to Russia.... The names of Tchaikovsky, Shostakovich, Rachmaninov are being removed from playbills, Russian writers and their books are being banned,” he said.

“The last time a campaign like this happened, it was the Nazis who began destroying objectionable literature in Germany nearly 90 years ago,” he stated. “We know well and remember from documentaries the burning of books right on public squares.” And, he added, the attacks today on Russian artists in Western nations are being carried out “with complete connivance and sometimes with encouragement from the ruling elite.”

“It is impossible to even imagine such things in our country! We are immune to such things thanks to our culture. It is inseparable from [our] homeland, from Russia, where there is no place for ethnic intolerance, where people of dozens of nationalities have been living, working, and raising their children side by side and where cultural diversity is the pride of society, the strength and advantage of our state.” Putin expressed the hope that eventually “mutual sympathy and culture which link and unite all of us, will pave the way for truth, that art and education will only promote wisdom, kindness and other time-tested values, as they should.”

For English-speakers who wish to understand what President Putin is referring to, the Schiller Institute has posted some translations of Pushkin and Vernadsky on its website.

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