Relations with Russia: Ottawa threatens to cut off funding for artists

We ask you to review and evaluate your current programs and potential links with Russian or Belarusian state partnersreads the letter sent Tuesday to all organizations that receive Canadian Heritage funding.

If there are activities in which the governments or representatives of these countries are involved, we ask that you suspend them until further notice. »

Quote from Excerpt from the letter sent by the Canadian Heritage Minister, Pablo Rodriguez, to cultural organizations

Cultural organizations that will maintain these links are warned: Hmm You will not receive the Ministry’s funding. The goal is to punish Russia and Support the Ukrainian people in every possible way.

Indirect links are difficult to determine

The message indicates that the relevant activities Program partnerships include direct and indirect financing of tours and co-productions, as well as participation in festivals or other events in which the Russian or Belarusian government participates..

In Ottawa, we were told that an artist who receives subsidies from the Russian state falls into this category.

For me it is not clear. How will they check? asks Anna*, a Russian artist who has lived in Montreal for six years and has curated contemporary art exhibitions in Moscow.

She explains that the funding system for Russian culture is different from that of Canada. For example, in visual art, which you know well, it is often the oligarchs who provide funding as patrons. Are you considered close to power? She asks.

On the one hand, I understand this situation. On the other hand, I find it sad for the Russian artists I know who are against it [la guerre]. »

Quote from Anna, a Russian plastic artist founded in Montreal for six years

Anna is concerned that due to difficulties in verification, Small organizations, even large ones, prefer not to take risks He distances himself from any Russian artist.

But she says that since the beginning of the war, many artists in Russia have refused state funding.

“On February 24, 2022, the Russian Armed Forces launched an unprovoked and unprovoked invasion of Ukraine,” reads the introduction to the letter from the Canadian Heritage site.

Photo: Reuters/Alexander Ermoshenko

Russian Canadians were not affected

Canadian Heritage states in its letter that Canadian citizens and permanent residents of Canada, including those of Russian and Belarusian descent, remain eligible for grants and contribution programs offered by the Department.

It is not about targeting law-abiding citizens and permanent residents who want peace, and it is not about attacking Russian or Belarusian culture. »

Quote from Excerpt from the letter sent by the Canadian Heritage Minister, Pablo Rodriguez, to cultural organizations

In the cultural organization where Anna works, we are considering the possibility of doing business only with Russian artists who have Canadian citizenship or permanent residence. We don’t take risksShe explains, for fear of losing vital support.

Canadian athletes holding Canadian flags.

Louis-Philippe Oyeme reports

The boycott of Russian art divides the world of culture here

The Ottaway Film Festival excluded the three shortlisted Russian films, but on the contrary, the Rigaard Festival, in Sagueni, maintained a screening of a short Russian animated film for children.

I think that Russian filmmakers should not be forced to pay for what is happening, the decisions of the Russian government are not theirs.Explained Melissa Bouchard, Director of Programming at the Short Film Festival.

However, the festival removed the logos of Russian public institutions indicating that this work had the support of the public.

The ideal is to allow artists to express themselves and speak. The history of mankind shows that despite crises, wars and all the horrors, art always remains a link between peoples. »

Quote from Anna, a Russian plastic artist founded in Montreal for six years

clown show Slava’s Snowshow is It has been preserved, these days, at the Théâtre Saint-Denis in Montreal, even if it was created in Russia by the originally Russian director Slava Polunin.

Blond young man playing the piano.

The Montreal Symphony Orchestra banned Russian pianist Alexander Malofeev, 20, from attending concerts earlier this month.

Photo: Facebook / Alexander Malofeev

Earlier this month, the Canadian Council of the Arts (A new window) (Canadian Council of the Arts) to freeze the funding of activities in which artists or cultural organizations from Russia or Belarus participate.

We want to make sure that Canadian public money does not support the Russian and Belarusian economies, thus prolonging the invasion of Ukraine، explained Canadian Council of the Arts on his site.

Montreal Symphony Orchestra (Montreal Symphony Orchestra) The Vancouver Recital Society canceled scheduled concerts with Alexander Malofeev, a young Russian talented piano player, because he was criticized for not strongly condemning the war in Ukraine.

According to Anna, many Russian artists, like her, do not support the regime of Vladimir Putin, but they cannot say it out loud, because their families are in Russia. They fear retaliation. Many Russian artists suffer from this situation.

She gives an example of young Russians whose applications to participate in international art competitions were rejected It is these young people who have taken to the streets to demonstrate and end up in prisons.

On the one hand, they risk their freedom by opposing the regime, and on the other hand, the international community does not want anything to do with them. I think that’s not really fair. »

Quote from Anna, a Russian plastic artist founded in Montreal for six years

In Ukraine, a group of seven prominent filmmakers recently wrote a letter requesting that Dropping an iron cultural curtain on Russia Based on Stop all forms of cultural cooperation with representations of a terrorist state that threatens to destroy the world.

It is necessary to limit the influence of Russian culture in the world. Culture has prepared the ideological basis for this warWritten by Ukrainian director Roman Bondarchuk.

* Anna asked us to withhold her name so as not to harm the safety of her family in Russia.

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