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20 Apr, 2023 14:29

Relations with West won’t improve – Putin advisor

That doesn’t mean Russia wants to shut itself off from the world, Mikhail Shvydkoy has said 
Relations with West won’t improve – Putin advisor

The fractured ties between Moscow and the West will not improve anytime soon given that Russian artists continue to be blacklisted and joint projects canceled. That's according to Mikhail Shvydkoy, President Vladimir Putin’s special representative for international cultural cooperation.   

“I don’t think relations with the European Union and the US, with unfriendly Western countries, will be ‘unfrozen’. So far, I don’t see any prospect for change,” Shvydkoy, a former culture minister, told the news agency RIA Novosti on Thursday.  

“On the contrary, they are expanding the lists of [Russians] working in the cultural field that have been sanctioned. There is still a ban in the West for cultural institutions to have contacts with Russian state institutions,” the official said.   

Shvydkoy added that, despite the tensions, some individual artists and scientists from the West are ready to interact with their Russian counterparts. Moscow, in turn, continues to be open to projects with other countries across the globe.   

We are not shutting ourselves off from anyone. But we stress that dialogue in the field of humanities must be depoliticized.  

As part of the restrictions imposed on Russia in response to its military operation in Ukraine, the EU blacklisted a number of public figures who support the Russian government, including Oscar-winning filmmaker Nikita Mikhalkov, actors Sergey Bezrukov and Vladimir Mashkov, singers Oleg Gazmanov, Grigory Leps, and Nikolay Rastorguyev.  

Some artists lost work in the West shortly after the armed conflict broke out between Moscow and Kiev in February 2022. Carnegie Hall in New York canceled a performance by famed conductor Valery Gergiev and pianist Denis Matsuev.  

Putin slammed the reprisals against Russian artists and works last year as “simply stupid,” and said that “attempts to cancel our culture are doomed to fail.”