The Russian President told members of the artistic community not to “divide society” during a televised debate with theatre and screen star Yevgeny Mironov who voiced concerns about growing restrictions on artistic freedom in Russia.
The Russian strongman said there was a “very subtle line between what I would call dangerously outrageous behaviour and creative freedom”.
“It’s a very subtle thing, a very subtle line. It depends on a feeling of tact, from all of us: officialdom on the one hand and people in creative professions on the other,” he said.
No, it’s not subtle, nor is it a feeling of tact. It’s anything you decide to take offense with, anything you feel just might contain a criticism of some sort, or express a dissatisfaction with the status quo. When you start suppressing artists with made up excuses, you have just screamed “There will be no dissent!” You may as well just come out and say so.
Mironov, who heads the Theatre of Nations in Moscow, told Putin in the televised exchange that fears are growing in creative circles over restrictions on artistic expression.
“Creative freedom is guaranteed by the law of our country” and bans “can be enforced only through a legal process,” Mironov said.
In recent months, religious and politically conservative activists have interrupted theatre productions and stormed galleries and defaced exhibits.
Orthodox activists this year campaigned to close a provincial staging of the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical “Jesus Christ Superstar”.
Last year the director of a Siberian staging of Richard Wagner’s opera Tannhaeuser went on trial for offending believers, although the charges were eventually dropped.
Oh, the boot stomp of Christianity, those lovers of fascism. This is a dangerous time for artists, who are always irrepressible.
Full story here.