Reaction of Russian intelligentsia to the 2014 annexation of Crimea

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Russian intelligentsia expressed various reactions to the Russian annexation of Crimea.

Support for Russia's position[edit]

First letter of support[edit]

Director Nikita Mikhalkov, winner of the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, was among those blacklisted by Ukraine for supporting the annexation.

Over 100 cultural figures signed a letter supporting Russia's return of Crimea.[1] Among those who signed it were conductor Yuri Bashmet, film director Fyodor Bondarchuk, director Stanislav Govorukhin, film director Karen Shakhnazarov, actor Sergey Bezrukov, singer Lev Leshchenko,[2][3] sculptor Alexander Bourganov, sculptor Zurab Tsereteli, and actor Dmitry Kharatyan.[4]

The letter was kept open to add signatures and eventually reached 511.[5]

Reaction to the letter[edit]

The name of the famous theatre and film director Mark Zakharov appeared on a petition opposing Russian accession of Crimea, however, he himself denied ever signing it. He stated in an interview that he opposed Russian soldiers being deployed to Ukraine as it reminded him the start of the Afghanistan conflict, however, he also couldn't imagine Russia without Crimea.[6] He also stated that had he been offered to sign a letter supporting the accession, he would've signed it.[7]

Director and actor Vladimir Menshov, winner of the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, expressed support of the annexation by stating, "Finally Russia has moved from words to actions."[8] He was blacklisted in Ukraine as a result.[9]

Other prominent figures to support the annexation of Crimea and as a result getting blacklisted in Ukraine were actress Irina Alfyorova, singer Yuri Loza,[10] actor Valentin Gaft,[11] comedian Mikhail Zadornov,[12] and winner of the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film director Nikita Mikhalkov.[13]

Director Alexander Mitta expressed support of the return of Crimea to Russia; however, Mitta also said that he didn't like the fact that it was used as a way to distract the Russian population of the internal problems Russia was facing.[14]

Rock musicians in support of the annexation[edit]

Konstantin Kinchev was one of the musicians to express support of the annexation.

The annexation of Crimea divided the Russian rock community to supporters and opposition to the move.[15] Former Aria leader and current leader of the band Kipelov, Valery Kipelov, expressed support of the annexation, and stated that it should've been done in 1991.[16][17] He performed at music festivals celebrating the event in Crimea.[18][19]

Konstantin Kinchev and his band Alisa, considered to be among the pioneers of Russian rock, expressed support of the move, and cancelled all of his concerts in Ukraine.[20] Kinchev had already expressed views supporting the return of Crimea to Russia in 2008.[21]

Among the other prominent figures in Russian rock who expressed support of the move included Chaif,[22][23] Chicherina,[24][25][26] Alexander F. Sklyar,[27][28] and Vadim Samoylov (ex-Agatha Christie).[29][30]

Many rock concerts have been organised in Crimea following the annexation.[31]

Support for Ukraine[edit]

First letter of protest[edit]

Russian scientists and artists who disagreed with Russian government policy in Crimea, announced their opposition in an open letter:[32]

"Our country has been plunged into a dangerous adventure. Under the slogan "Defend the Russian in Crimea, as well as all Ukrainians from the new illegitimate, fascist government in Ukraine!", an actual annexation of the Crimea has already happened. International law was heavily violated and principles of European security and stability were destroyed. Russia is rapidly slipping into a new Cold War with the West and there are dangerous consequences that cannot be predicted."

"There is unrestrained flow of lies and disinformation in all Russian state media resources, as well as deafening propaganda campaign against anyone who tries to doubt the legitimacy of the authorities' actions or indicate their disastrous consequences for the country and people. All who disagree indiscriminately get called a "fifth column" and "fascists". There are a lot of people who disagree. It is enough to read uncensored media or numerous judgments in social networks to see that political scientists, economists, people who are professionally related to foreign policy, or just people that are endowed with any social intuition are warning that Russia is coming to a real catastrophe — economic, political, humanitarian."

The letter was published in "Echo of Moscow", "Novaya Gazeta" and "Russian PEN Center".

"Do not cave in. Do not succumb to lies"[edit]

Another open letter headlined "Do not cave in. Do not succumb to lies"[33] was signed by 180 representatives of different professions, including: Yuri Ryzhov (of the Russian Academy of Science), Andrey Makarevich (musician), Yuri Shevchuk (musician), Andrey Zvyagintsev (film director), Marietta Chudakova (writer, literary historian) and Vadim Zakharov (artist).

Anti-war Congress[edit]

Professor Andrey Zubov at the Anti-war Congress

On March 19, 2014 an "Anti-war Congress" took place at the M.I. Rudomino State Library for Foreign Literature. An appeal, adopted by resolution of the Congress, stated:[34][35]

"We, the representatives of the Russian intelligentsia, must warn the government about the historical mistake that is happening — the desire of taking under control part of another, recently brotherly Ukraine, by using Russian armed forces."

Sergei Markov, a member of Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation, commented on the results of the congress and called its participants "representatives of a "Russophobic" subculture that do not pose any danger to the country".[36]

KinoSoyuz letter[edit]

March 12, 2014 KinoSoyuz (an organization of the Russian film industry) published an open letter of support for their Ukrainian colleagues on its website. By 13 March 2014 the letter had been co-signed by more than 200 people.[37]

Individual opinions[edit]


Support for Russian policy[edit]

After an open letter of support for Russian policy in Crimea was published, on March 11, 2014 a response from Ukraine appeared.[42]

Opposition to Russian policy[edit]

See also[edit]


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  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-03-11. Retrieved 2014-03-11.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-03-11. Retrieved 2014-03-11.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
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  32. ^ Обращение инициативной группы по проведению Конгресса интеллигенции «Против войны, против самоизоляции России, против реставрации тоталитаризма» и письмо деятелей культуры в поддержку позиции Владимира Путина по Украине и Крыму ‹See Tfd›(in Russian). Novaya Gazeta. 13.03.2014
  33. ^ Не прогибаться. Не поддаваться лжи ‹See Tfd›(in Russian). Echo of Moscow. 14.03.2014
  34. ^ В Москве прошло заседание антивоенного Конгресса интеллигенции ‹See Tfd›(in Russian). 19.03.2014
  35. ^ Антивоенный конгресс интеллигенции (video). ‹See Tfd›(in Russian). 19.03.2014
  36. ^ Оппозиционная интеллигенция провела антивоенный конгресс ‹See Tfd›(in Russian). RBC TV. 20.03.2014
  37. ^ Мы с вами! ‹See Tfd›(in Russian). KinoSoyuz. 08.03.2014
  38. ^ Андрей Зубов: Это уже было ‹See Tfd›(in Russian). Vedomosti. 01.03.2014
  39. ^ Как крымский вопрос расколол российское общество? Мнение подписавшего письмо за украинскую политику Путина и против неё ‹See Tfd›(in Russian). Dozhd. 12.03.2014
  40. ^ Война и мир. Андрей Макаревич — против, Владимир Бортко — за ‹See Tfd›(in Russian). Vesti (Ukraine) №10(28). 21—27.03.2014
  41. ^ Служенье муз ‹See Tfd›(in Russian). 11.03.2014
  42. ^ Гастрольная война ‹See Tfd›(in Russian). Radio Liberty. 09.05.2014
  43. ^ У Києві скасували концерт Мацуєва ‹See Tfd›(in Ukrainian). Espreso TV. 13.03.2014
  44. ^ Львів'яни забрали в Башмета почесне звання ‹See Tfd›(in Ukrainian). Espreso TV. 13.03.2014
  45. ^ Из МГИМО уволен профессор Андрей Зубов ‹See Tfd›(in Russian). BBC Russian Service. 24.03.2014
  46. ^ Відомі діячі культури Росії просять Путіна припинити цькування Макаревича ‹See Tfd›(in Ukrainian). iPress. 28.03.2014
  47. ^ Если Андрея Макаревича лишат звания народного артиста — это будет к лучшему ‹See Tfd›(in Russian). Moskovskij Komsomolets. 28.03.2014
  48. ^ Страсти по Макаревичу: решил стать собой и получил по полной ‹See Tfd›(in Russian). Moskovskij Komsomolets. 31.03.2014
  49. ^ Поэта Бывшева привлекли по 282-й статье за стихи в поддержку Украины (‹See Tfd›(in Russian)). Грани.ру. 14.05.2014
  50. ^ В Госдуме хотят сажать в тюрьму за нарушения на митингах ‹See Tfd›(in Russian). BBC Russian Service. 01.04.2014