The Russian violinist has issued a thunderous denunciation of the Belarus leader Alexander Lukashenko, one of Putin’s old associates. Lukashenko has just rigged another election and Spivakov, 75, is throwing back a national honour he awarded him.
Here’s the text:
In 2014, you awarded me the Order of Francisk Skaryna for special merits in the field of humanitarian and charitable activities, success on the basis of national-state revival, in protecting human dignity and the rights of citizens of Belarus. Apparently, at that time these concepts were still close to you. Today, I still share these values, but not with you, the ruler, who created living conditions for his people incompatible with humanism and democracy.
Today, your “holiday” is dominated by obscurantism, tyranny, violence and endless examples of extreme cruelty, with which the authorities suppress the will of many citizens throughout the country.
Over the decades of active concert activity, I was fortunate enough to perform many times both in Minsk and in other cities of Belarus. Recently, the 10th anniversary of the Vladimir Spivakov invites festival, which I created, was celebrated, thanks to which outstanding artists of the world, renowned ballet troupes, and unique choral groups came to your country.
Today my heart beats in unison with the people of the Republic of Belarus, rightfully demanding the observance of elementary rights and freedoms, including the right to peaceful protests. Therefore, in this situation, I am forced to give up the order that you previously awarded me. I am ashamed to wear it, as it is related to your rule. Your “black” strength is your great weakness. People are born to be loved, not humiliated, and even more so, maimed.
You’ve probably heard that “those who weep will be comforted”? And so it will be!
People’s Artist of the USSR
Artist of Peace (UNESCO)