Russia pushes back against cancellations of ballet shows in Seoul

By Kim Joo-heon Posted : April 22, 2024, 16:49 Updated : April 22, 2024, 16:49
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova   Courtesy of the Russian Embassy to Seoul 
SEOUL, April 22 (AJU PRESS) – Russia has criticized South Korea over the recent cancellations of Russian ballet performances in Seoul amid Moscow's ongoing war against Ukraine. 

Last week, a Bolshoi Ballet show scheduled for April 16-18 was called off one day before the opening. In March, the performance by Russian star ballerina Svetlana Zakharova, scheduled for April 17-21, was abruptly scrapped at the last minute.

In an Instagram post on Friday (local time), the Russian foreign ministry labeled the cancellations as "unfriendly actions" and threatened to take "firm countermeasures." 

"Both projects would have been remarkable events in the cultural life of the Republic of Korea's capital. Performances by Russian artists posed no threat to its national security," Maria Zakharova, ministry spokeswoman, wrote.

Despite "such unfriendly actions," she said Russia has no intention of restricting Korean culture in the country. If Korea's rejection intensifies, Moscow will need to come up with firm measures, she added.

The Bolshoi dancers were set to perform at the Sejong Center for the Performing Arts in central Seoul. The center canceled the event after the number of performers was halved and the program was modified.

The performance by Zakharova, a vocal supporter of Russian President Vladimir Putin, was scheduled to be held at the Seoul Arts Center in southern Seoul. Its local organizer withdrew the event citing safety reasons.
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