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The Russia File

Apr 18, 2023

The relationship between the artist and the state has always been fraught in Putin’s Russia, where government remains the primary funder of cultural institutions and censorship of cultural production has been on the rise for at least a decade. But Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine has posed new existential questions for those members of the artistic community who do not align themselves with the Kremlin’s agenda. In a wide-ranging conversation, Nina Rozhanovskaya and journalist Sophia Kishkovsky discuss the impact of the war and the growing domestic pressure on the Russian arts and culture scene. What changes have been on view in Russian museums? Why does the state target theaters in particular? Which anti-war voices manage to break through the prohibitions? And what does the emerging “Z culture” look like? Since the conversation was recorded on March 17, 2023, a number of individuals mentioned in it have faced new repercussions for their anti-war stance. For more details on that, as well as institutions and individuals mentioned, please see show notes at