Attempts by the West to “cancel” Russia with economic and cultural sanctions have failed and were always doomed to fail, President Vladimir Putin said on Friday.
Speaking at the International Culture Forum in St. Petersburg, the Russian leader accused the collective West of seeking to “cross out” everything that does not fit into its “falsified history.”
“Entire layers of history – the art of Western Europe, Asia, Africa, Latin America – are being silenced, as if they never happened, and lately they have been trying to cancel our culture in general,” Putin declared.
“I say ‘trying’ because we understand that this is by definition impossible,” the president added. “But still, they are trying to abolish culture, which is based on true freedom, mercy, love of fellow man and spirituality. The policy of canceling Russia is by itself inherently anti-cultural, neo-colonial, and racist.”
In reality, Putin argued, the attempt to cancel Russia’s culture and destroy its economy with “so-called sanctions” did not work out as its authors intended.
“One of many examples of this is the huge interest in the Tchaikovsky Competition, for example,” the Russian president said. “Its online audience has exceeded 50 million people. In the modern world, it is impossible to undo such things, simply impossible. It’s strange that people who try to do this don’t understand it. By the way, of these 50 million people, more than half are Europeans who do not want anyone to decide for them what music to listen to, what to watch and what to read.”
According to Putin, some of the principal reasons for the current tensions in the world are “the claims of certain forces to exclusivity – including cultural exclusivity – their disdain for other customs, spiritual values, the desire to subject everyone and everything to unification, and according to their own template, which they consider the best and most universal.”
He described this as “vulgar globalization” and “cultural conquest,” which has resulted in the suppression and impoverishment of cultures and “multiplied the potential for conflict many times over.”