“Let’s talk about Culture…”

Vida Press

I don’t like to write something personal, but recently I had to give a talk at a cultural event in a city, of course, in a NATO country, to show a movie. Cinema, theatre, in general, anything from works of art some people may like, some people may not. Yes, I’ll tell you a secret – an author, if he’s not giddy with success and narcissism, knows the drawbacks of this or that work of his better than anyone else. That’s what he is – an author.

The films are over, and suddenly you hear a question from a Russian lady, born more than a long way from the borders of Ukraine in the distant Soviet era when grey-haired people even only dreamed of being a junior lieutenant. Who studied in Kiev in Russian and long ago, long before the war and even before all the Maidans, left the banks of the Dnieper and, at the same time, other rivers in eastern Europe. “Why make us watch this when there is a war going on in Ukraine, and any work on Russian material is inappropriate!” – To be clear, one film is about the Bolshoi Ballet, another is about Yevgeny Yevtushenko, and the third is generally about those who were on the other side all Soviet times and resisted the political and real terror of Soviet power in every possible way. I want to point out that real Ukrainian filmmakers, including those who were at the front not only with a movie camera, liked the films very much, but we are not talking about films. We are talking about culture.

It is useless to explain in a sandbox what World Culture is. Bad when it was not taught in childhood. Wagner, Hamsun, Tchaikovsky, Bunin, Nabokov, – well, anyone – you can prohibit, but you CANNOT! Why? Because they belong to world culture, not to any government, ideology, or state. Taking them away is like removing a colour from the colour palette. Without them, without their creativity, the world would become a poorer, grayer place.

But of course, the conversation is not about some lady…., much less my films. Such questions, such articles, and statements can be found regularly on the internet and in the media. The conversation is about Her Majesty Culture. Last year I wrote about the play Three Sisters at the Old Theatre in Krakow…. Chekhov never left the stage and never will. He’s back and straight from the ship to the ball to the theatre – “Platonow” at Stanislaw Wyspianski Theatre, directed by Małgorzata Bogajewska. All the actors, including Anna Kadulska, the leading lady of the play, are citizens of EU, Poland, the country whose authorities and people were among the first to support the President and citizens of Ukraine on 24th of February 2022. On the day when Russian brutality unleashed its aggression on Ukraine. The premiere took place on 10 June 2022! The auditorium is practically full!

I will not parse the excellent performance; maybe someone will be lucky enough to see it and judge it for himself. It certainly does not leave one indifferent. As much as possible, it attempts, with all the colourful palette of the Great Chekhov’s work, to uncover and understand the problems of Russian society, which have allowed greyness to saddle the country. Chekhov, of course, is by no means the only representative of Russian culture to remain on the world stage. There are operas, ballets, plays, hanging canvases and concerts. Certainly not the musicians who, though sometimes talented, have traded their talent for the favours and handouts of greyness. Turning into its purses, living off its handouts, or even by the principle “my house is on the side”. There is no place for such people on world stages! Gradually their names are now stained not only with grayness and filth but with the blood of innocent victims of their masters’ despotism. I don’t think they can be laundered. Gone into oblivion, as well as the names of their grey-blooded masters cursed by mankind.

Russian culture is alive and will live on, just as German, Japanese, Italian, Jewish, Tatar and Georgian culture is alive. It is alive because it is not against it; it is at one with the culture of Ukraine. They are standing side by side with the greyness that occupied the biggest country in the world.

Maybe someone will think that I am exaggerating? Well, here are the events of the last week to conclude this article. The Sovremennik Theatre died. They denied genuinely folk actress Liya Akhedzhakova the right to appear on their stage. Why did it die? Because at one time, it tried to stage A.Galich and even A. Solzhenitsyn, and now it has turned into a recluse in the mouth of some Kravets…. I’m wrong, though. He is, of course, as a real re-educated and trained, turned into a “contemporary” of the criminal regime. Someone writes the actress will be paid a rate and pension. When everything is priced in Russian roubles only, one can forget about Culture. Here is another criminal, corrupting influence of greyness. An artist without roles cannot create and cannot turn into a pensioner on a bench…. What is happening is a slow, elaborate murder – a crime both against the actress and against the audience, who tried to keep themselves safe from greyness with her help.

Zemfira Tregulova has been sacked! What can not happen? So what if the director of the Tretyakov Gallery was fired? This is indeed not ordered in a state of aggressive drabness. One of the best museums of world culture – REAL WORLD – Russian culture – was headed by a native of Riga, not the titular nations, and even interned at the best Museums of World Culture in the United States ….. It’s even strange that grey-haired people, who have never seen anything sweeter than “the girl with peaches” and generally prefer to “near a pole”, tolerated so long… And also absolutely next to the Embassy of the European Union, opposite the Kremlin! It is an outrage.

Especially telling, as they say – look who’s here! A real “director” was pulled out of the sandbox, perhaps even with the rank of FSB lieutenant. Such, of course, is more in line with greyness and the time when it is time to replenish the country’s military budget. Apparently, Dad hinted to his former director in the rank of major that the military-industrial complex of the USSR was forged through the illegal sale of works of art. The very thing is called CULTURE. Everything is going according to plan in the country of greyness, and what goes the other way is a matter of taste.

Finally, I repeat that a state without CULTURE is doomed and will cease to exist. But as long as man is alive, WORLD CULTURE will exist in memory and in creation.

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