The world is gradually opening its eyes to what Russian culture really is. Enthusiasm for the “land of Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky and ballerinas” is replaced by horror of massacres in Bucha, Irpen, Borodyanka and Mariupol. And these crimes were committed not by mythical aliens from Mars, but by the same Russians who were brought up on ballet and Tolstoy. At the same time, the Kremlin’s current cultural products are resembling the harshest propaganda of Nazi’s Germany and are intended to justify the Putin regime’s war crimes against Ukraine. This leaves no place for the “Russian world” in the civilized world.
At the same time, the Kremlin is hunting for any opportunity to get to Western platforms. For this, he even disguises himself as something Ukrainian. For example, The Ukrainian Way (an exhibition of Ukrainian contemporary art accompanied by an auction) had been scheduled in London from 3-11 September.
However, the management of the world-famous Saatchi Gallery managed to find out in time that among the organizers of this event are Igor Tsukanov and Marat Guelman. The first is a Russian banker and collector with links to state oil company Rosneft, the second, in addition to art manager, once was the deputy director of the First Channel in Russia.
In such a cunning way, Russians try to maintain their influence on the foreign world of art. That it is not because of the love of beauty. Auctions, exhibitions and other cultural events open up access to the most influential people in the West, businessmen and politicians – a most wanted target for Russian intelligence and subversive operations. And also – an alibi for numerous trips around the world (remember how the killers of Sergey Skripal from the GRU claimed to be sports nutritionists who had gone to Salisbury merely to see the sights?).
As long as Russia’s aggression against Ukraine continues, the entire civilized world should watch extremely carefully to see if the ears of FSB or GRU spies are sticking out of yet another seemingly innocent project. So the Saatchi Gallery’s move is extremely wise. Today Russian culture is only a cover and justification for Kremlin’s war crimes. Cooperation with the Russians means sharing responsibility.