Sanctions on Russian Culture Condemned by the Uffizi Gallery Director

The calls to demolish Russian sculptures or ban Russian exhibits as a reaction to the war in Ukraine are absurd, Eike Schmidt, director of the Uffizi Gallery in Florence has stressed, expressing hope that the numerous calls for peace from around the world will have an effect.

According to the museum’s press service, Schmidt added that the museum was forced to comply with the Italian government’s rules halting contact with Russian institutions.

Expressing total opposition to the war in Ukraine, he noted that the Uffizi Gallery posted the image of “Consequences of War” by Peter Paul Rubens on its social media the day the conflict broke out.

Schmidt’s comment came in light of the Florence mayor Dario Nardella revealing on Twitter on Wednesday that there had been calls to demolish Russian sculptor Aydyn Zeynalov’s monument to Russian author Fyodor Dostoevsky which had been installed in the city last year.

In his post on social media, Nardella urged people not to get confused, underscoring that this mad war is of a dictator and his government, not of one people against another, so one should think before erasing centuries of Russian culture.

Milano-Bicocca University has previously decided to cancel a course on Dostoevsky as a response to Russia’s attack on Ukraine, which has provoked controversy and indignation of its author and lecturer, Paolo Nori, after which the course was reinstalled and returned to the schedule.

It was not the first case in which the Ukraine war has impacted the arts in Milan after the city’s mayor Beppe Sala decided to refuse the return of the Russian conductor Valery Gergiev to the La Scala podium after the world-renowned conductor’s refusal to condemn the invasion of Ukraine.

Gergiev has recently been dropped from leading the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra in three concerts at Carnegie Hall and could also lose his prestigious positions at the Munich Philharmonic and the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra after he was also dumped by his manager Marcus Felsner.

Felsner said it’s impossible for him to defend Maestro Gergiev’s interests in light of the criminal war the Russian regime wage against Ukraine.

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