Should Artists Boycott Putin’s Russia?

In a recent interview, according to the Guardian, ‘the choreographer Matthew Bourne stated that he wouldn’t, under present political circumstances, consider going to Russia with his celebrated production of “Swan Lake.” Given the precarious legal status of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community in Russia, Bourne says he would be afraid for the welfare of his dancers, several of whom are openly gay. And he would presumably be nervous of the reception given to his production, considering the way it retells the original ballet as the story of an insecure young prince in thrall to a charismatic male swan.’ The Guardian’s writer goes on to argue that artists should not boycott Russia, lest we return to the Cold War days of isolation for Russian artists. I tend to agree with Bourne’s position, though I don’t think Russia should be singled out: the U.S. engages in plenty of human-rights violations and many countries around the world are much worse than Russia in this area.

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