12 March 2021
by Aleksei Agranovich, artistic director of the Gogol-Centre
I was greatly surprised twice in recent days. The first time was when we learned that Manizha was going to Eurovision. A performer was chosen, for the first time, whose work is in the context of the contemporary world. And never mind Eurovision itself, an artificial television bubble, it was the choice that was important.
The second time I was not so much surprised as astounded, overwhelmed by the reaction on the Internet.
Yesterday I opened the page of “Evening Urgant” with the announcement of an interview with Manizha (an excellent interview, by the way) and was stupefied… my respected State, President, Presidential Advisors, Minister of Culture, Minister of Health, Roskomnadzor, Prosecutor’s Office, Leaders of all Faiths, please, read those comments! Pay attention to their unanimity and their number!
Are you sure that, by conducting mass events, filming heroic epics about the patriotic war, about the victory over fascism, the state is getting the historical event’s essence through to the consciousness and souls of the citizenry? The essence of fascism?
How can it be that today, in the twenty-first century, we, the victorious people, write despicable, offensive slogans about a talented woman of non-Slavic origin?
People are up in arms that our country will be represented by an artist of Central Asian origin! A citizen of the Russian Federation, who has lived practically all her life in Russia! People, come to your senses! It is еxactly the very thing meant by ORDINARY FASCISM!* It is SHAMEFUL to think it, to say it, to publish it…it is exactly what extremism is!
Manizha, dear one, we hardly know each other, but I want to ask your forgiveness for that dirt and vileness! Believe me, not everyone thinks like that. Far from everyone. I believe that the majority think totally differently.
Compatriots, we also are to blame. We have to right it, or else it will become horrible.
*Ordinary Fascism [Обыкновенный фашизм] is a 1965 Soviet documentary about the rise of Fascism in Europe.
Translated by John Tokolish