We invite you to “close the sky” to Russian culture

A lifeless body of a man with his hands tied behind his back lies on the ground in Bucha, Ukraine. Photo: April 3, 2022. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)

Appeal of the Lithuanian Association of Artists

To the Lithuanian arts and culture community
To the President of the Republic of Lithuania
To the Chairman of the Parliament of the Republic of Lithuania
To the Prime Minister of the Republic of Lithuania
To the Minister of Culture of the Republic of Lithuania
To the country’s news media:

We invite you to “close the sky” to Russian culture

After the first days of April 2022, with the news heard around the world of the killings and violation of civilians committed by Russian soldiers in Ukraine, the Association of Lithuanian Artists is addressing colleagues and the country’s leadership in Lithuania, proposing immediately to “close the sky” to any form of dissemination of Russian culture and art because they identify with these crimes against humanity.

Russian “people” – “soldiers” have brutally destroyed and killed innocent residents of Bucha and other Ukrainian cities – this is an obvious act of genocide against the various ethnicities living in Ukraine. The thoughts and feelings that art and culture bring to society from an aggressive country are polluted by this for ages, if not forever. These de-humanized perpetrators did not appear out of nowhere – they were reared and formed by Russia. Therefore, the state and the nation united with it must be held responsible for the actions of the soldiers and military commanders. This was the case after World War II, and it should be the same this time.

We agree only to communication, without the spread of art and culture, and only with those Russian artists who still at the beginning of the war against Ukraine, until March, with their actions or statements (they must be documented and confirmed by independent sources), condemned the war started by Russia. Those who later expressed various positions, especially ambivalent ones, or without the word “war” and without clear ascription as to who attacked whom – do not qualify as those who clearly understand the responsibility of their nation and state.

Ukraine asks to close the sky to Russian planes, and we ask in Lithuania to “close the sky” to Russian art and culture until the 1994 Budapest Memorandum of Ukraine’s territorial integrity is completely restored, until the last soldier and weaponry of the aggressor is withdrawn and this is confirmed by an international tribunal, until the aggressor takes responsibility as to when, how and how much Russia and its people will pay in reparations to Ukraine, and until the process of punishment for the organizers and executors of this genocide will in reality begin. And only after these actions have occurred can we consider the opening of a closed sky to Russian art and culture.

The Lithuanian Artists Association
Vilnius, 2022–04–04

A lifeless body of a man with his hands tied behind his back lies on the ground in Bucha, Ukraine.
Photo: April 3, 2022. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)

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