In Russia, culture summoned to march in step

In Russia, culture summoned to march in step

Departures into exile, arrests, canceled shows, closed theaters, patriotic exaltation, underground resistance… While the West wonders about the boycott of Russian artists, or their ” cancelation “in the words that President Vladimir Putin is fond of, in Russia itself, the world of culture is the object of a brutal adjustment, which spares no sector.

The case of the theater is certainly the most spectacular, with daily announcements of redundancies and a vocabulary, among observers, which more readily evokes the apocalypse than creation: here, we are talking about the ” dead “ of a troop, there of the“assassination” of a theatre…

Suddenly, at the end of June, three Moscow institutions, among the most famous and most appreciated by the public, saw their management change, with the ousting of their founders or emblematic artistic directors. This is the case of the Sovremennik Theatre, the School of Contemporary Dramaturgy and the Gogol Centre, transformed by the director Kirill Serebrennikov into a pillar of Russian creation and a popular success.

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He also denounced, from his Berlin exile, the “murder” of the institution he has shaped since 2012, sanctioned “for his honesty, for having tried to be free, for the fact that, for all these months that the war has lasted, the actors, who protest against the war, no longer salute, but end each show on the picture of a dove ». Moscow City Hall has announced that the establishment will return to its original name, Nikolai Gogol Drama Theatre.

The Gogol Center and Serebrennikov had already experienced, in the past, problems with the authorities, even with justice. The Sovremennik, for its part, had already been forced not long ago to deprogram a room accused of making “gay propaganda” and offend veterans.

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“There is still a turning point, almost a cultural revolutionnotes specialist Marina Davydova, who went into exile herself and put the work of her journal on hold, out of caution, Theater. It used to be that political opinions could get you in trouble, but with the exception of a few sensitive themes, the content of the shows remained relatively free. One could still take shelter behind a formal neutrality. Today, it is the content and the spirit of the shows that are at stake, the freedom displayed by certain institutions. Neutrality is no longer enough, you have to show your loyalty. And no official will dare to defend a theatre, they are far too afraid for themselves. »

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