I have no problem with shunning anyone — Russian or otherwise —- who supports Putin after he invaded a peaceful sovereign nation and committed war crimes. But what is the point of this?
A young Russian pianist who was set to perform with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra this week has been struck from the schedule after protest.
However, the orchestra maintained its praise for 20-year-old Alexander Malofeev, who has been outspoken against the invasion of Ukraine, where he said he has some family members.
. . . .
In two Facebook posts, Malofeev has decried the war, first writing on March 2 that “the truth is that every Russian will feel guilty for decades because of the terrible and bloody decision that none of us could influence and predict.”
On Monday, however, he added that he’s upset by the “hatred going in all directions, in Russia and around the world,” and that he “still believe[s] Russian culture and music specifically should not be tarnished by the ongoing tragedy, though it is impossible to stay aside now.”
This is part of a sadly predictable wave of anti-Russian sentiment across the world, and a lot of ordinary people of Russian descent, many of whom hate Putin, are paying the price. It has to stop. It’s bigotry of the most blatant type.
I would contrast this decision with the decision in New York to replace a conductor who openly supports Putin:
Carnegie Hall and the Vienna Philharmonic announced on Thursday that the Russian conductor Valery Gergiev, a friend and prominent supporter of President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, would no longer lead a series of concerts there this week amid growing international condemnation of Mr. Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.
Mr. Gergiev, who had been slated to conduct the Philharmonic in three high-profile appearances at the hall beginning Friday evening, has come under growing scrutiny because of his support for Mr. Putin, whom he has known for three decades and has repeatedly defended.
No reason was cited for his removal from the programs. But the extraordinary last-minute decision to replace a star maestro apparently over his ties to Mr. Putin — just days after the Philharmonic’s chairman insisted that Gergiev would be appearing as an artist, not a politician — reflected the rapidly intensifying global uproar over the invasion.
While Mr. Gergiev has not spoken publicly about the unfolding attack, he has supported Mr. Putin’s past moves against Ukraine, and his appearance at Carnegie was expected to draw vocal protests. He was the target of similar demonstrations during previous appearances in New York amid criticism of Mr. Putin’s law banning “propaganda on nontraditional sexual relationships,” which was seen as an effort to suppress Russia’s gay rights movement, and his annexation of Crimea.
Yascha Mounk pronounced himself disgusted with the latter decision:
How is canceling the performance of a Russian conductor—however stupid his opinions on Putin might be—going to help the brave Ukrainians fighting for freedom?
These kinds of performative cancelations disgust me, even when I deeply disagree with the opinions of those they target. https://t.co/smFrCr0WaE
— Yascha Mounk (@Yascha_Mounk) February 25, 2022
I understand his point. After all, as David French said last night, in tweets that I intend to write more about and agree with entirely:
Private actors have the right to shame, exclude, boycott, etc., but that's a right that should be exercised sparingly, in extreme circumstances. Our default posture should be one of openness, tolerance, and curiosity. Students shouldn't fear engaging in good faith debate.
— David French (@DavidAFrench) March 8, 2022
But Putin’s invasion of Ukraine is one of the “extreme circumstances,” as is the genocide of the Uighurs in China. I don’t want to pay one red cent to support anyone who agrees with any of that. And that’s my right of association.
I see some people saying it’s all a slippery slope, and if they cancel you for supporting Putin then the next thing you know they are freezing your bank accounts for funding people blocking roads in Canada. Well, I don’t like people blocking roads and I also don’t like war crimes — but I can tell the difference between the two. So don’t tell me I can’t raise my voice in protest if someone supports a war criminal.
But don’t boycott or beat or harass people for being Russian. Instead, humiliate them for supporting Putin.
Here is the video of the public humiliation of Salvini in Poland. The same should happen with the other right-wing populists who made public declarations of support for Putin. pic.twitter.com/2Pl7Qwnibc
— Paolo Gerbaudo (@paologerbaudo) March 8, 2022