The Show Can’t Go On: Russian Arts Canceled Worldwide | Russia

The Russian invasion of Ukraine sparked reactions from the cultural sphere, with Russian artists and companies beginning to feel the repercussions of decisions taken by the Kremlin. Not only has Russia been stripped of two high-profile events – the men’s Champions League final and Formula 1’s Russian Grand Prix – but an increasing number of Russian performances are being canceled around the world.


The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) said that Russia would no longer be allowed to participate in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest.

The EBU, the producers of Eurovision, said the event promoted “international exchange and understanding”, adding that the inclusion of Russia could discredit the annual competition “in light of the unprecedented crisis in Ukraine”.

State broadcasters from countries including Iceland, Finland, Norway and the Netherlands had called for a ban on Russia from the contest, which takes place in Turin in May. UK Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries also endorsed the move.


The Royal Opera House has canceled a planned residency by the Bolshoi Ballet of Moscow, one of the oldest and most prestigious ballet companies in the world.

“A Bolshoi Ballet summer season at the Royal Opera House was in the final stages of planning,” ROH said. “Unfortunately, under the current circumstances, the season can no longer continue.” The dance troupe was scheduled to perform 21 performances from July 26 to August 14.

Performances by the Siberian Russian State Ballet have also been canceled by the Wolverhampton Grand Theater and the Royal and Derngate in Northampton. The local Ukrainian community had previously called for the cancellation.

And Dublin’s Helix Theater canceled a performance of Swan Lake by the Royal Moscow Ballet “to show solidarity with the Ukrainian people”.


Concert appearances by Russian conductor Valery Gergiev, who was to conduct the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra at Carnegie Hall in New York, have been canceled. Russian pianist Denis Matsuev was also replaced. Both had publicly endorsed Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014. A Carnegie Hall spokesperson attributed the decision to “recent world events”.

A pair of upcoming performances in May by the Mariinsky Orchestra of Russia, which were to be conducted by Gergiev at Carnegie Hall, have also been cancelled.

Meanwhile, Green Day has canceled their next concert at the stadium in Moscow.


The Russian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale will not take place as planned this year after the withdrawal of Russian artists and curators themselves.

Artists Alexandra Sukhareva and Kirill Savchenkov, as well as curator Raimundas Malašauskas, said they would no longer participate.

“There is no place for art when civilians die under missile fire, when Ukrainian citizens hide in shelters, when Russian protesters are silenced,” Savchenkov and Sukhareva said in a joint statement. Pavilion organizers said in an Instagram post that the pavilion would remain closed.

The Garage Museum of Contemporary Art in Moscow has announced it will halt preparations for upcoming shows, while exhibitions at the GES-2 House of Culture – including one by Ragnar Kjartansson – have also been suspended.

In the UK, the Victoria and Albert Museum has says he’s in talks with the culture department on the “rapidly evolving situation”. The museum’s exhibit on Peter Carl Fabergé features several of his priceless eggs on loan from Russian museums.


The Ukrainian Film Academy has called for an international boycott of Russian cinemaincluding banning Russian films from international festivals.

In an online petition, the organization said, “At a time when world powers are imposing economic and political sanctions on the Russian Federation, the country continues to be active in the cultural field.” However, no action has yet been taken.

James C. Tibbs