Russia’s Kremlin Zorya organisers address British PM

Organisers of the military Kremlin Zorya Festival have sent an open letter to Britain's Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, asking who he was intending to punish by banning Scottish army bagpipers from performing in Russia. The event which was scheduled to be h

Britain has ruled that its military bands cannot take part in the Zorya Festival because relations with Russia need to be revised following the events in the Caucasus.

In the open letter, Vitaly Mironov, director of the Kremlin Zorya Foundation, has told Mr Brown that politics has nothing to do with culture.

“The Kremlin Zorya Festival had always been aimed at strengthening cultural links between the countries,” the letter says.

The Kremlin Zorya Foundation is a non-governmental organisation founded with the help of the organisers of the Edinburgh Military, and the Festival had been a brilliant example of the cultural links between Scotland and Russia.

“When the tragic events started in the Caucasus, we thought something could go wrong, but we didn’t trust our feelings, because politics is politics, but culture is culture. We never thought that serious politicians would ban participants’ coming to this, which is actually, a cultural event,” Mironov said.

The second international Kremlin Zorya Festival was being prepared to mark the 325th anniversary of Russia’s historic Preobrazhensky and Semenovsky regiments, and to honour the Russian Imperial Guards.

The letter concludes that the Festival will be rescheduled for May 2009.