Questions about Canada’s National Ballet Tour in Russia

Questions about Canada’s National Ballet Tour in Russia

UCC disappointed by National Ballet of Canada’s partnership with Gazprom, Russian government

October 18, 2018. OTTAWA. The Ukrainian Canadian Congress (UCC) is disappointed by the National Ballet of Canada’s partnership with Gazprom, Russia’s state gas monopoly, and Russia’s Ministry of Culture in the Context.Diana Vishneva ballet festival in Russia.

In June 2015, the Government of Canada imposed sanctions on Gazprom OAO and Gazprom Neft OAO. Gazprom subsidiary Gazprombank OJSC was sanctioned by the Government of Canada in July, 2014.  Gazprom and the Russian Ministry of Culture are listed as “supporters” of the Context.Diana Vishneva ballet festival, at which the National Ballet of Canada is participating.

“It is disappointing that the National Ballet of Canada has seen fit to partner with the Russian government, which is responsible for the invasion of Ukraine and the death of thousands of people,” stated Paul Grod, National President of the UCC.  “The UCC calls on the National Ballet and all taxpayer-supported organizations in Canada to exercise greater discretion in seeking appropriate partners and venues for cultural events.”

The National Ballet, which receives grants from the Department of Canadian Heritage, is touring Russia October 15-19. On February 27, 2018, the National Ballet of Canada Endowment Foundation received $659,575 from the Government of Canada through Endowment Incentives – Canada Cultural Investment Fund.

For more than four years, Russia has waged a brutal war of aggression against Ukraine. Russia’s armed forces are killing Ukrainian soldiers almost daily. Russia illegally occupies Crimea, and has illegally imprisoned over 70 Ukrainian citizens.

The UCC calls on international artists and cultural figures who choose to tour Russia despite Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine and horrendous human rights record, to ask the Russian government about the plight of Ukrainian citizens illegally jailed by the Russian regime, such as Oleh Sentsov, Volodymyr Balukh, and dozens of others. A list of Ukrainians jailed by Russia is available here


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