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Vancouver Boycotts Spivakov – Artist Who Supports Putin’s War Against Ukraine

Kostya Tchourine (New York)

Join the Vancouver protest against musicians who support Putin’s annexation of Crimea – more details on Facebook:

When: Tuesday, May 6 at 7:00pm – 10:00pm

Where: Chan Centre for the Performing Arts (6265 Crescent Road, Vancouver, British Columbia V6T 1Z1)

Summary of current events in Ukraine and Crimea and Spivakov’s role in them:

Between February 28 and March 4, 2014, Russian forces seized government buildings in Crimea [1] and blockaded an airport [2], Ukrainian army bases [3], and a Ukrainian missile and air defence unit [4]. Despite claims by the Russian government that these operations were undertaken by local militias, there is overwhelming evidence that these were members of the Russian military and special forces [1,5,6]. Amidst this occupation on February 28, while the Crimean Parliament building was occupied by pro-Russian militia [7], a group of pro-Russian politicians formed a coalition and claimed authority over the Crimean peninsula [7], scheduling a referendum for March 25 (later moved to March 16) on the question of seceding from Ukraine and joining the Russian Federation [7], simultaneously appealing to Putin for help [8]. On the same day in Moscow, Russian legislators presented a bill to facilitate annexation of new territories [9].

On March 11, five days before the Crimean referendum, newspaper Izvestia published a letter that expressed “full support of the position of the president of Russian Federation on Ukraine and Crimea”[10]. The letter was signed by dozens of influential cultural figures, including Maestro Vladimir Spivakov. In signing this letter, Maestro Spivakov and the other signatories of this letter endorsed President Putin’s aggression in Ukraine, his infringement of international law, his violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty, and the continued violence perpetrated on the nation of Ukraine by the special forces and military troops occupying the Crimean peninsula. He has pledged his support to an administration that has put forward an illegal referendum [11] announced merely two weeks in advance of the voting date, held despite a lack of proper monitoring by third-party institutions [12, 13, 14]. Maestro Spivakov has declared himself to be on the side of the aggressor and not the victims of aggression; he has endorsed a regime whose actions have led to ongoing military escalation in Eastern Ukraine [15].

The letter was published with the intent of forestalling substantial backlash against Putin’s regime, in the hopes that a demonstration of support from internationally renowned figures such as Maestro Spivakov, Denis Matsuev, Valery Gergiev, Yuri Bashmet, etc. would sway public opinion and invalidate the concerns of Putin’s critics [16]. We believe that Maestro Spivakov, as well as his fellow signatories, should be held accountable for the irresponsible misuse of their influence in the world of art and culture to enable President Putin’s belligerent tactics.

In light of the aforementioned facts, we demand as responsible citizens the following:

1) that Vladimir Spivakov immediately apologize and withdraw his name from the list of figures in support of President Putin’s policies

2) if no such apology is issued, that the upcoming tour of Maestro Spivakov and the Moscow Virtuosi Chamber [17] be cancelled.

We call to boycott Maestro Spivakov’s concert, and if no such cancellation occurs, we invite you to join us on May 6 to publicly protest Maestro Spivakov and the repressive regime he supports.

1. Russian special forces take seize government buildings, Ukrainian military bases 2. Crimean airports occupied by pro-Russian militia: 3. Pro Russian forces surround Crimea base: 4. Russian forces try to seize anti-aircraft missile base in Ukraine’s Crimea – Interfax 5. 3 lines of evidence that the Russian army is blocking Ukrainian military units: 6. 7. With gunmen controlling the building, Crimea’s parliament voted to hold a referendum on the region’s status on 25 May 8. Crimea crisis: pro-Russian leader appeals to Putin for help 9. Russian Legislators Present Bill to Facilitate Annexation of Ukrainian Crimea 10. Original Izvestia publication (in Russian) – Full list on the Russian Ministry of Culture website (in Russian): – English transliteration of the names of the first 86 people to sign: 11. Is Crimea’s referendum vote legal? 12. OSCE observers barred from entering Crimea 13. OSCE Chair: Crimean referendum in its current form is illegal, calls for alternative ways to address the Crimean issue 14. Leaked UN Report Claims Russia ‘Rigged’ Crimea Referendum 15. Ukraine crisis: Another police building seized in east 16. Russia’s New Culture War 17. Vladimir Spivakov and Moscow Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra touring schedule

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