Legendary ballet dancer and choreographer Mikhail Baryshnikov has decried Vladimir Putin’s “world of fear” in an open letter to the Russian president after Russia banned the website of a charity he co-founded to benefit Ukraine.
Baryshnikov, 74, along with detective fiction writer Boris Akunin and prominent economist Sergei Guriyev in February founded the charity True Russia. The project says it has raised nearly $1.3 million.
“People like us brought more honor to the Russian world than all your not-very-precise precision-guided munitions,” said Baryshnikov, who famously defected to Canada in 1974.
“Your Russian world, the world of fear, the world in which they burn Ukrainian textbooks, will not live on as long as there are people like us — the true Russians immunized in childhood against this plague,” he added.
“And our world will live on despite all your bans,” said Baryshnikov, who was born in Latvia to Russian parents.
“We know how to keep the values of a true Russian world. And yours will die from its own fears unless it wakes up.”
Baryshnikov posted the letter after Moscow blocked the website of True Russia on May 24 at the behest of the Russian Prosecutor-General’s Office.
He said the civil servants who carried out the decision were afraid, adding: “Their fear is understandable. It gives us confidence that we are right.”