Ukraine bans Russian music in response to war

Kyiv, Ukraine - Music by artists with Russian citizenship will be banned in public in Ukraine after a measure to that effect was passed by a two-thirds majority in the upper house on Sunday, lawmaker Yaroslav Zhelezniak announced on Telegram.

Ukraine held a gala concert at the Opera House in Odessa, Ukraine, on Friday, amid the ongoing Russian invasion of the country and the decision to ban music by Russian artists in the country. The music concert was the first event of this kind since the Russian invasion began on February 24, and was dedicated to the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
Ukraine held a gala concert at the Opera House in Odessa, Ukraine, on Friday, amid the ongoing Russian invasion of the country and the decision to ban music by Russian artists in the country. The music concert was the first event of this kind since the Russian invasion began on February 24, and was dedicated to the Armed Forces of Ukraine.  © Collage: OLEKSANDR GIMANOV & JOHN MACDOUGALL / AFP

The bill's explanatory statement says the "musical product of the aggressor state [could] influence separatist sentiment in the population."

Russian music would make the adoption of a Russian identity more attractive and aimed at weakening the Ukrainian state, the text read.

Exceptions would only be made for artists who have publicly condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine, with the SBU secret service to draw up a special list of exemptions.

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The music ban applies to the works of artists who are or were Russian citizens after 1991. Russian musicians who want to apply for an exemption reportedly have to agree to a list of beliefs about Ukrainian sovereignty.

In parallel, the import and distribution of books and other printed products from Russia, Belarus, and the Russian-occupied territories has been banned. Books from Russia had already been subject to censorship since 2016.

Peace negotiations between the two countries have come to a standstill, since Russia has waged war on and devastated Ukraine.

Heavy fighting has continued in the east, as Ukraine said it plans to resume peace talks with Russia by the end of August, after counter-attack operations have been carried out.

Cover photo: Collage: OLEKSANDR GIMANOV & JOHN MACDOUGALL / AFP

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