Baryshnikov urged not to place the “burden of political decisions” on artists

To speak out about what is happening or not is the personal decision of each artist, said Baryshnikov. According to him, in the current situation, for some people, neutrality is already a powerful statement. jpg” alt=”Baryshnikov urged not to place the “burden of political decisions” on artists” />

Mikhail Baryshnikov

Russian artists and athletes should not be forced to pay for what is happening in Ukraine, the Honored Artist of the RSFSR said in an interview with The Guardian, choreographerMikhail Baryshnikov.

«Open Exchange in Art— it's always good. I don't think it's right to place the burden of the country's political decisions on the shoulders of artists and athletes whose relatives may be vulnerable back home. For people who are in such a vulnerable position, neutrality— already a powerful statement, — he said.

In particular, Baryshnikov called for Russian tennis player Dmitry Medvedev to participate in Wimbledon. He noted that to speak out about what is happening or not— personal decision of each artist.

Baryshnikov was born in 1948. He was a star of the Soviet ballet and performed at the Kirov Opera and Ballet Theatre. In 1974, after a tour in Canada, he refused to return to the USSR. In 2017, he received Latvian citizenship.

After the start of the Russian military operation in Ukraine, a number of cultural figures faced the cancellation of their performances or refusals to cooperate. So, in early March, the Bavarian State Opera stopped working with opera singer Anna Netrebko and conductor Valery Gergiev. Gergiev also lost his post as chief conductor of the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra. The local authorities terminated the contract with him because Gergiev did not respond to a request to “clearly and unambiguously distance himself”; from a Russian special operation in Ukraine, said Mayor Dieter Reiter. In addition, this year Russia was banned from participating in Eurovision.

Political demands began to be put forward against the athletes. In particular, due to the requirement of the Association of Tennis Professionals, Russian Dmitry Medvedev will play under a neutral flag.

His participation in Wimbledon is also questionable. “We need some assurance that the athletes are not supporters of [Russian President] Vladimir Putin, and we are considering what requirements we may need to obtain assurances in this regard,” said UK Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston.

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