Mikhail Piotrovsky, director of the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, was recently added by Canada to the list of people close to the Putin regime sanctioned for supporting the invasion of Ukraine. He was already on the Ukrainian long list.
According to the text published at the beginning of August in the Official Gazette of Canada, “Russia is using its cultural celebrities to promote Kremlin propaganda about the invasion of Ukraine. Russia is systematically destroying Ukrainian culture as part of its ongoing violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and integrity”.
Last June, Mikhail Piotrovsky described the Hermitage Museum’s exhibitions abroad as a “powerful cultural offensive” comparable to a “special operation”, the term used by the Kremlin for the war. He views the conflict between Ukraine and Russia as a “means of cultural exchange”.
Since the annexation of Crimea in 2014, Canada, which has a large Ukrainian diaspora, has been a central player in imposing international sanctions against Russian and Ukrainian individuals and entities supporting or enabling the violation of Ukrainian sovereignty by Russia.
The new Canadian list of sanctioned individuals includes Olga Lyubimova, Russian Minister of Culture, also on the list of the European Union and the United States. Alla Manilova, the former Russian deputy culture minister who was named director of the Russian National Museum in April, is also on the list, as is Oscar-winning director Yaroslav Dronov.
These additions aim to denounce “the destruction and theft of priceless works of art in the area, seized by Russian forces [qui] are not random or spontaneous acts committed by Russian soldiers, but [qui] part of a systematic effort to eradicate Ukrainian culture and identity”can we read in the Canada Gazette.