MOSCOW (AFP) – Actor Sergei Bezrukov says the world has had enough of “liberal values” and hopes Moscow’s intervention in Ukraine and foreign sanctions can help Russian culture chart its own path.
Mr Bezrukov is among artistic figures who say Moscow should leverage the country’s growing isolation to purify Russian culture of Western influence and promote conservative values, including patriotism and the Orthodox faith.
“We must take advantage of the isolation to reconnect with our traditions,” Mr Bezrukov, one of Russia’s most popular artists, said in an interview.
Instead of looking up to Hollywood, Russia should build its own cultural space, he said.
“For 30 years, we have lived in the Marvel universe,” the 48-year-old actor and artistic director at Moscow’s Gubernsky Theatre, said, referring to the American film industry. “It’s time to create our own.”
“Returning to the USSR is impossible, but we can try to restore faith in Russia,” added Mr Bezrukov, who has recently been slapped with European Union sanctions for his support of the Kremlin’s military campaign in Ukraine.
A ‘conservative revolution’
Over the years President Vladimir Putin has cast himself as a guardian of traditional Russian values such as heterosexual marriage and religion, and repeatedly said Western liberal values have become obsolete.
Since the start of Moscow’s offensive in Ukraine, the authorities have redoubled efforts to break with Western values, and many artists say that art should be the main conduit of those attempts.
“Russia is on the cusp of a conservative revolution,” said theatre producer and director Eduard Boyakov, who is a supporter of what he calls Russia’s “sacred war” in Ukraine.
After the start of the assault on Ukraine, numerous artists, including director Kirill Serebrennikov and actress Chulpan Khamatova, left Russia.
Those still in the country are under mounting pressure to back the intervention in Ukraine.
Several fiercely pro-Kremlin figures, including Mr Sergei Mironov and Mr Zakhar Prilepin, co-chairmen of the political party A Just Russia, have launched what they dubbed a fight against the “anti-state position” of Russia’s cultural elites.
They have demanded that the head of the Bolshoi Theatre, Mr Vladimir Urin, sack 30-year-old director Alexander Molochnikov over his allegedly unpatriotic position or be dismissed himself.
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