Dmitry Kiselyov, one of
the most influential people in Russia's state media
and a popular TV host, is
reviled by liberals and the LGBT community, but
clearly has the ear of
Vladimir Putin. Here he answers critics, and asserts
that Russia has taken America's
place as a beacon of free expression.
Kiselyov: Russia Has Taken West's Place as Beacon of Free
Expression (Izvestia, Russsia)
"The West simply doesn't like seeing Russia on the upswing.
That's the heart of the matter. There is a clear upward trajectory, even if the
economy is not as solid as we would like. ... All Western news agencies impose their own point of view. Take Reuters or the Associated Press. Both are in fact propaganda agencies. They shape the dominant narrative and talk of what their audiences ought to think. ... If there is a television program
that supports Russia's progress and helps it recover from the injuries incurred
in the 20th century, the West imposes sanction on its host. Yes - they have
labeled me a homophobe and anti-Semite who wants to see America burn, etc. It
isn't very sophisticated." -- Russian media chief Dmitry Kiselyov
chief Dmitry Kiselyov
Margarita Simonyan Simonovna, the hard charging editor-in-chief of the Russia Today television network, is just as unapologetic as Mr. Kiselyov in defending state-funded media. Do they have a point when they argue that Western corporate media is just as prone to error and propaganda - if not more so?
Dmitry Kiselyov, director
general of the RossiyaSegodnya
news agency and host of TV program VestiNedeli (News of the Week), is the only journalist in the
world to be targeted by political sanctions. The European Union included the
prominent TV journalist on a list of Russians barred from traveling, owning
property, or banking in the E.U. The World Press
Freedom Committee, a leading organization on the rights of journalists, has
come to his defense.
interview with Izvestia, Kiselev
says that the imposition of sanctions against him are not just a threat to the
voice of one journalist, but journalists around the world. He also says that
Russia and the West have switched roles, with our country now the chief
defender of democratic principles and free speech.
IZVESTIA: You are the only journalist to be
targeted by sanctions. Does that make you the Yuri Gagarin of modern
journalism? Did you expect this?
DMITRY KISELYOV: This applies to
all journalists. In my memory, this is the first time international sanctions
have been imposed against a journalist. I'm just a journalist X [an ordinary
journalist]. It is telling that Europe has initiated such sanctions, which reflect
a blatant disregard for the freedom of speech said to be so dear to E.U.
officials, and which create a dangerous and disturbing precedent. In fact, this is a betrayal
of European values. If this precedent is normalized, and if the journalistic
community in Europe, America, or any other country, fails to respond, it would
mean that journalists consider this legitimate. To say that we no longer need
freedom of speech or believe it is a core value, represents a major turning
point in Western civilization. Moreover, the E.U. is not alone. It has the
backing of the Norwegian Storting
IZVESTIA: Even Norway, which is so dear to you,
given that you have a degree in Scandinavian philology, has supported these
DMITRY KISELYOV: Yes, I studied the
subject at Leningrad State University and broadcast in Norwegian for ten years
at Moscow Radio. So a man who is wholly a friend to Norway is being targeted by
Norwegian sanctions which seek to restrict freedom of speech. Incredible! While
I believe they aren't fully aware of what they're doing, it does represent a turning
point in Western civilization.
accused of disseminating propaganda - of being a propagandist. The word
“propaganda” in Greek means dissemination of information, ideas, and concepts. It
is interesting how in the West the word is used as an insult. ... But
propaganda, unlike freedom of speech, is not a an official category under
international law and the constitutions of all countries. Whereas these
sanctions are formalized. Although illegitimate in character, these are state,
interstate, supranational bureaucratic sanctions that are legal in the sense
that they were passed into law. They are directed at freedom of speech.
IZVESTIA: It was an odd formulation by the
European Union that you are prohibited entry as a Russian citizen. Does that
mean that as a journalist, you are free to visit E.U. countries?
DMITRY KISELYOV: I don't know
how that works. Nowhere has this been officially announced. If we proceed under
the assumption that I can only visit Europe on a business trip, that means the E.U.
is backpedalling because it realizes the barbarity of restricting the work of
journalists. Europe has put itself in an awkward position and will have to
explain what motivated its own decisions. But if we assume that I can travel to
the E.U. in a professional capacity, even though E.U. officials have called
what I do propaganda, Europe has put itself in a ridiculous, paradoxical
position: If I can come and go for the purposes of work, but not take a
vacation, does that mean that they don't want me to interrupt my propaganda by
taking a vacation? Doesn't that seem schizophrenic to you?
IZVESTIA: If it's so obvious that the chain of
logic has been broken here, then what do you think is the meaning of these
DMITRY KISELYOV: I don't get the
meaning. This is ludicrous, simply absurd. These sanctions don't affect me as a
person, yet their purpose is aimed at changing my behavior. They threaten to
seize my property and bank accounts, but I don't have any in the West. These
sanctions target not only my freedom of speech - but freedom of speech in
general. I'm just a symbol, or rather an example.
IZVESTIA: The imposition of sanctions has become
something of a trend, with the United States and European Union regularly imposing
them. You're the only journalist they have gone after. Do you find that perplexing?
DMITRY KISELYOV: It's a strange
story. They say I am the chief propagandist. This us either madness or an
ignorance of the realities on their part.
IZVESTIA: If the United States and E.U. don't in
fact understand the reality, and yet the list includes powerful statesmen, perhaps
someone advised them on who the candidates for blacklisting should be - which included
DMITRY KISELYOV: I know who
exactly advised them. Sergei
Parkhomenko and Alexei Navalny
created these lists. They don't hide it. But if Europe is going to rely on the
opinions of a vanishing minority in Russia, it will find it difficult to form
informed decisions in this world, especially when it comes to Russia. There are
many issues in the world that will be difficult to resolve without Russia's participation,
including on questions of war and peace in different regions.
behavior on the part of the West borders on schizophrenia. There's that word
again. Schizophrenia is when consciousness is split into two parallel worlds,
drawing in secondary signs and secondary factors. When we follow the opinions
of insignificant people, and even cultivate and inflate their opinions, we are
entering a hall of crooked mirrors.
my opinion, the great powers that form the backbone of the E.U. cannot afford this,
because their status demands a certain level of responsibility. Otherwise they
get themselves into absurd situations that eventually harm their own nationals.
What does freedom of expression in European countries mean, now that they have
imposed sanctions on a journalist? Will they legalize taboos or put limits on
the work of journalists? If they adopt a such a position toward a foreign
journalist, why not apply the same standards within the E.U.?
IZVESTIA: A journalist who works for state media
is automatically branded a "propagandist." Your show's ratings are
high and everyone has an opinion about you. Are you the leading propagandist?
DMITRY KISELYOV: Vladimir Putin,
the president of Russia, on Dec. 9 by executive order, appointed me director
general of a new international information agency, RossiyaSegodnya. Sanctions against me and the
agency have been imposed during a period
of reorganization, when RossiyaSegodnya hasn't
yet had the capacity to do propaganda. We hadn't introduced any new brands,
while our main product, the English, French and Spanish news wires, appeared
only on April 1, after the sanctions were announced.
could one say that the sanctions are preventive? Are they meant to discourage
me from producing propaganda? The fact is that all Western news agencies impose
their own point of view. Take Reuters
or the Associated Press. Both are in
fact propaganda agencies. They shape the dominant narrative and talk of what
their audiences ought to think. They interpret history, the present and future,
and try to lay out a system of values, ideological positions, and a political
IZVESTIA: Will your agency will also have a dominant
DMITRY KISELYOV: Of course, but
we haven't had time to develop one. All news agencies do this, and each has a
leader engaged in legitimate professional activities. Perhaps it makes sense to
sanction them as well. After all, they are engaged in propaganda. ... In today's
world, information - how it is gathered, analyzed, interpreted and processed,
its formats ranging from social media to feature films, pushes a system of values,
views on good and evil, and shapes attitudes on different events. It turns out
that E.U. countries are allowed to have such agencies, but by no means may
Moscow. Russia, of course, wants to compete in the field of international
information, because information warfare has become a standard practice in the
modern world. Today, the bombers are sent in after the information campaign.
For instance, America lost the war in Syria and achieved nothing. They also
lost the information war over Crimea and achieved nothing. In the past, an
attack was preceded by artillery fire; now that has been replaced with
IZVESTIA: So the sanctions were targeted at you
specifically, and weren't related to the nascent agency you lead?
DMITRY KISELYOV: I am absolutely
certain that the main irritant here was VestiNedeli(News of
the Week). It is an important news and analysis program on which I offer my
weekly take on events, it is popular and well-known. People love it. This was
confirmed last year by an analysis TV channel data by the Public Opinion
Foundation. We came in first in a number of categories. VestiNedeli is an influential program. It
promotes, or rather propagandizes - I'm not afraid to use this word, healthy
values, healthy patriotism. I'm sure the sanctions are related to VestiNedeli.
IZVESTIA: Other countries certainly have similar
news programs, but no sanctions are imposed on their hosts. Can it be something
you said, specifically, to provoke this?
DMITRY KISELYOV: Notable pundits
are, as a rule, people of advanced age like me - I will soon be 60 - with
extensive experience and impressive backgrounds, and a long record in
journalism. These professionals have a perfect right to express their own
opinions on these programs, and they do. After watching them for many years, the
public tends to listen to them. People follow their evolution and form a stable
opinion. People trust them - and public trust in this case is a sociologically
measureable characteristic. The higher the public trust, the greater freedom
these pundits have, and the greater their responsibility. In any case, all of
the world's leading powers have such people, and there are only a few dozen.
They aren't mass produced. All of them are engaged in the same process of
presenting and interpreting news, and they all emphasize national interests in
the process. So, some countries can have them, while others cannot? Is that
what the E.U. thinks?
Dmitry Kiselyov on a
sting ray hunt in Crimea.
IZVESTIA: Meaning that other countries are held
to a different standard. Can it be that they were annoyed by your statement
about burning or burying the hearts of gay people killed in traffic accidents?
DMITRY KISELYOV: But this is a complete
betrayal of freedom of speech. As for gays, I have a very clear position. Gay
culture certainly has a right to exist in Russia, and it does de facto exist.
Yet it is a minority culture, and that is all it will ever be. A minority
culture should not be imposed on the majority, especially not through
aggressive propaganda. I don't believe that this non-traditional sexual
orientation is a disease. I'm not even saying it is outside physiological
norms. But it is certainly outside accepted social practices, and for me this
is a strongly held belief. Each country has the right to define its own social
norms. We have a social norm - the traditional family. The Russian government
is obliged to encourage this social norm, because it is crucial to society. A
family means children. Russia is experiencing a demographic crisis. To support the
spread of gay culture in Russia is the equivalent of self-elimination. That is
what they propose. But do we have to agree?
IZVESTIA: Do you thinks this is being imposed on
DMITRY KISELYOV: Yes - and it is
something absolutely alien to us. The examples are legion. For instance, my
line about burning the hearts of gays is now being used as a hostile meme.
Alright, let the critics continue their attacks. I won't take back on what I
said, but let me clarify what I meant.
needs to understand the context. I was being deliberately provocative. It was a
controlled flame that I used to ignite a discussion. I was after a dramatic
conflict of opinion; it was part of the script. The discussion focused on plans
to introduce fines for promoting non-traditional sexual relations among adolescents
- in effect for molestation. One has to understand that since gay people cannot
reproduce among themselves, they have to recruit new members into their ranks.
Gay pride parades are aimed at luring new members - everyone marching in bright
feathers and laughing to show how much fun it is to be gay. However, the
reality of being gay is very different.
show that the average life expectancy of gay people is much lower. According to
statistics, they encounter more violence in their relationships. They are more
likely to seek psychological help and are more prone to suicide. The gay
community is recognized as greatly at risk of AIDS and hepatitis. Since even
modern methods cannot confirm with 100 percent accuracy that donated blood or
organs are HIV free, gays are prohibited from donating under U.S., Canadian,
and E.U. law. In the U.S., there is a lifetime ban on anyone who has had sex
with a gay man since 1977. In other countries a moratorium on donating has been
imposed on people who have had homosexual contact. The rationale is provided on
the Web sites of such venerable institutions as the FDA, which is the U.S. equivalent
of the Rospotrebnadzor.
At this point,
Dmitry Kiselev opened a book by Sigmund Freud entitled
to a bookmarked page, and read out a highlighted line: “A person's final sexual
attitude is not decided until after puberty…”
DMITRY KISELYOV: This statement
is grounds for banning homosexual propaganda among minors, because their
identity is still being formed. I don't deny that some may be predisposed to
homosexuality. We are talking about how to save the others.
IZVESTIA: Do you think Russia should also ban sexual
minorities from donating [blood and organs]?
DMITRY KISELYOV: In Russia,
donations by gays are not prohibited. Why not borrow from U.S. policy in this
case? The bodies of gay people who die in car accidents are buried and
cremated, including their presumably healthy hearts. They aren't even
considered as suitable material for prolonging someone else's life. Yes - different
countries require different quarantine periods according to the last homosexual
encounter. But gays may have upwards of 1,500 partners throughout their lives,
so 500 would surprise no one. Such data comes from respected American and
European studies. Homosexuals have a different lifestyle, a different pace. So they
are de facto banned from donating. In Russia, the state is responsible for
ensuring that HIV is not transmitted through blood donations. The risk is about
the same as dying in a plane crash. I don't think it's right. I would rather
Russia look to other countries that have studied the problem in greater depth
than we have. Gay hearts are turned to ash in these countries because they
cannot be used to prolong lives. I support that policy. But not, as they claim,
cutting the hearts out of live people and setting them alight.
IZVESTIA: Do you have any gay friends? How would
you characterize your relationship with them?
DMITRY KISELYOV: I do have gay
colleagues. Most are peaceful, quiet people who keep to themselves. They don't
flaunt their sexual orientation. They have never been hostile toward me
personally. And I am not a homophobe. The West simply doesn't like seeing Russia
on the upswing. That's the heart of the matter. There is a clear upward
trajectory, even if the economy is not as solid as we would like. But the
economy is cyclical. Every recession is followed by an upturn. If there is a
television program that supports Russia's progress and helps it recover from the
injuries incurred in the 20th century, the West imposes sanction on its host. Yes
- they have labeled me a homophobe and anti-Semite who wants to see America
burn, etc. It isn't very sophisticated.
IZVESTIA: So who do you think it trying to draw
the Iron Curtain now? Which side?
DMITRY KISELYOV: We have swapped
roles. Russia is the one promoting freedom of speech, not the West. There has
been a great tectonic, civilizational shift. In Russia you can say anything. There
is a range of TV channels, the Internet is not blocked, and there are
newspapers and radio stations to suit every taste. Books are never banned and
anything can be published. Everything not explicitly forbidden by the
Constitution. There are all kinds of Russians with a wide range of views. Some
even use the word "patriotism" as an insult.
instance, KseniaLarina from the Echo
of Moscow radio station said the term made her “throw up worms and cherry
pits.” But no one questions her right to say these things. Keep it up, Ksenia. The E.U.'s selective imposition
of sanctions starkly reveal what Europe supports and what it doesn't. For
example, Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina
[of Pussy Riot] have been
received at the European Parliament where they called for the sanctions list to
be expanded. Their blasphemous dancing in a major Russian cathedral is seen as
good and productive behavior, while the personal freedom of speech of a journalist
like Dmitry Kiselev, host of a very popular news
show, is considered a bad thing that should be discouraged. “Vomiting worms” is
good, but telling people what our reporters saw in Kiev and providing examples
of fascism in Ukraine is bad. That is quite a surprising value system, isn't
it? Yet this has been good for Russia. We can see clearly now who supports
IZVESTIA: Russia's Foreign Ministry says it isn't
planning to deny entry to Western journalists. So we are not mirroring their
DMITRY KISELYOV: Of course not.
Russia is morally above that. We have been through periods when freedom of
speech was violated in the Soviet Union. During the Stalinist period, for
example. We have lived through the Iron Curtain. Now, strange as it may seem,
we have switched roles. That is, Russia has become a beacon of free speech. One
may ridicule everything like KseniaLarina, and do so on the air without fear of sanctions from
the government - or the European Union, for that matter. Because we can fully
exercise and even abuse freedom of speech in a way that hurts the government
and the country. That is why E.U. sanctions don't actually harm me or anyone
else in Russia. They have harmed Europe's own values. The E.U. has declared
that freedom of speech is no longer valued there. That's what this is about.
IZVESTIA: Are you planning to visit Europe in the
DMITRY KISELYOV: After Europe
imposed sanctions against me, I recieved a call from
Japan, and an invitation to visit. I was flattered. But actually, I had been
planning to travel to northern Norway, driving from Murmansk with my kids. We
booked a fishing cottage in Gjesvaer, the
northernmost Viking village in Norway, home to just 150 people. I wanted to
show them how the sun never sets, the bird colonies, northern fishing and
seals. We even paid in advance. But now the landlord, Bjorn Jensen, and his
wonderful family, have been but in a difficult position by the sanctions. They
may have trouble renting out the place now, as reservations are usually made up
to a year in advance. Perhaps they will still be able to find new tenants, but
it is an unnecessary headache. The whole this is completely absurd. It's a pity
my children will not get to see Norway - but now they can see Japan.
Putin, Dmitry Kiselyov is something of a biker.
IZVESTIA: The United States has not sanctioned
you. What do you think that means?
DMITRY KISELYOV: No, the
Americans have not. They would rather let the Europeans do their dirty work. It
is all part of their policy to destroy Europe, same as the wiretapping of Angela
Merkel's phone and industrial espionage, because Europe is America's rival, and
everyone knows it.
IZVESTIA: What is journalism in your view? Is it
propaganda? Some claim that journalism is dead.
DMITRY KISELYOV: Journalism is
more than just a profession. It's an entire environment within society. It's an
environment for circulating information, ideas, values, perceptions of good and
evil, and it cannot die. Particularly professional journalism. Don't confuse
bloggers who tap away at their keyboards in the comfort of their own homes with
professional journalists. Professional journalists operate within accepted
ethical norms. They don't lie and always check the facts. Mistakes? There may
be mistakes. How you feel about them is what matters. For example, on the Dec.
8 VestiNedeli program,
I mixed up the Ukrainian presidential building with the Ukrainian government
building. So I mistakenly gave the impression that the first act of violence
perpetrated by militants involving bloodshed and broken helmets occurred during
an assault on the administration, whereas in fact it was during an assault on the
Government House on Nov. 26. Now, in hindsight, we know this was the work of
Right Sector (Kiselev holds up a damaged Berkut helmet).
the very next program, aired on Dec. 15, I apologized for the confusion,
correctly laid out the course of events, and arrived at the same conclusion: that
the Berkut police unit didn't start the violence.
Anyone can make a mistake. Last week, speaking at a U.S.-E.U. summit in
Brussels, Barack Obama said that Kosovo became an independent nation after
holding a referendum. In reality, Kosovo never held a referendum on
independence. I still haven't heard Obama apologize for the error. It's about
how you deal with your mistakes: you either recognize them or not. That's why
professional editors and professional media are more trusted. Their role will
only expand. After all the injuries Russia suffered in the 20th century -
reprisals, war, terror, the destruction of the church, the collapse of our
county, and the catastrophic annihilation of our nation - there is an
atmosphere of suspicion and a lack of values. They must be restored. A vacuum
of values is called an anomie.
For a man, this condition is considered a prelude to suicide. As for us, we are
living in a social anomie, out of which we are just beginning to crawl.
However, we are being told not to crawl.
IZVESTIA: So is Ukraine, using your words, now in
DMITRY KISELYOV: Yes. Or the
vacuum is has been filled with something poisonous. The mission of a journalist
is to promote healthy values. This can also be done by the church, the family,
and education, but professional journalism bears enormous responsibility. After
all, a professional editorial office always has a goal. State media is bound to
have a constructive rather than a destructive purpose. That's why journalism as
a profession is in demand. I'm talking about normal journalism, the creative
and meaningful type of journalism where society isn't undermined for sport.
IZVESTIA: Can I infer from what you said that,
for example, the television channel Dozhd is a case of unprofessional journalism?
DMITRY KISELYOV: It shows. Yes -
they don't really seem to position themselves as journalists. What journalism
is there? What are you talking about? It isn't a hospital, but a make-believe
game of hospital. Their work is openly biased and destroys values. I'm not in
favor of shutting Dozhd
down. There must be niches for different people. Everyone is entitled to have
one. But we aren't losing when it comes to news, because 88 percent of the
people still get their news from the main TV channels which are generally
associated with the state. Take Izvestia, an independent newspaper which in the people's
minds is still associated with the state, with the normal values supported by
the state and society, and is thus regarded as more trustworthy. We aren't
losing. If we were losing the information war, we wouldn't be a nation. There
would be no social peace. We would be going down the same path as Ukraine. We
can't afford to lose - and we are winning the competition fairly.
IZVESTIA: Have you devised a strategy for RossiyaSegodnya? The
Kremlin has in the past collaborated with American PR firm Ketchum. In your
opinion, is it appropriate for Western experts to be in charge of promoting
DMITRY KISELYOV: I don't know if
we have such a contract or not. I suppose we do. First, I cannot evaluate the
effectiveness of the contract, but let's assume that it's effective. We live in
a global world, and Russia shouldn't isolate itself. We're not in favor of
autarky, are we? Many foreign journalists work for Russian channels. They understand
that the dominance of the so-called Anglo-Saxon perspective in media is
detrimental to their countries. Openly totalitarian states will emerge unless
there is a counterweight, like Russia, to represent alternative views.
have colleagues who worked at the BBC for 25 years and now want to come to work
with us because they can no longer endure all this anti-Russia nonsense, hatred
and censorship. I get calls from Paris telling me that there is a stop list for
people banned from French television - people who used to be frequent guests in
the past and were prominent cultural figures in France.
IZVESTIA: Can you put them on the air?
DMITRY KISELYOV: Certainly.
Western journalists often admit to me that they work under real censorship. So
it's quite normal that people want to work with Russia, which they see as an alternative and a
source of balance and parity - not just nuclear parity, but information parity.
That's their way of defending their freedom. Total self-reliance and isolation
is not an effective strategy for a country. Russia doesn't aspire to this. We
are an open country. For example, Russia says it's ready to switch to visa-free
travel with the E.U. tomorrow, but the E.U. isn't willing to reciprocate. We
have switched roles. In the past, Soviet people required exit visas. That was
how the USSR shielded itself. Now we realize that we live in the greatest
country in the world.
IZVESTIA: And all other countries envy us?
DMITRY KISELYOV: That may be the
case! Yes, we have many issues and problems, we aren't hiding them - e show
them. But even under these conditions, even during a recession, our country is
IZVESTIA: Are you going to hire employees for
your agency based on certain criteria, or is just about anyone able to work for
DMITRY KISELYOV: Everyone unwilling
to work with me has already quit. I already said that if someone is going to
engage in subversive activities, that doesn't suit my plans.
IZVESTIA: Some believe the former editor-in-chief
of RIA Novosti, Svetlana
Myronyuk, paid for being excessively liberal.
DMITRY KISELYOV: The issue is
not Svetlana Myronyuk, but our liberalism in general.
There is liberalism and then there is subversion. Western liberals don't
condemn their country or their people. But when I read a newspaper (I think it
was MoskovskiyeNovosti) with
the headline They Knew Not What They
Fought For, about Russian soldiers who fought in the first Chechen war, that
's what I call subversive activity! Even if a soldier said he didn't know what
he fought for, that is evidence of psychological trauma, what they call post traumatic
stress disorder. It makes it seem as if our society, and particularly MoskovskiyeNovosti, has
abandoned him. Instead of giving his life meaning, it takes diminishes all that
he has left. The article could have been given a different headline, such as Hard Times for Heroes, and then could
have explained why the soldier said he doesn't know what he fought for. I'm not
in favor of covering up facts, but I'm also against people who take to the
Internet to rub salt in wounds, speculate, and diminish a soldier's genuine
accomplishments on the battlefield. These soldiers need our support. The
newspaper should have explained that PTSD is common,
that soldiers often need psychological help, and that their relatives and
friends should be more attentive and think about what they can do for them.
IZVESTIA: So in your opinion, is it fair to say
that KseniaLarina is too
DMITRY KISELYOV: She doesn't
tolerate other people's views, particularly mine. I put up with her and I don't
think she should be sanctioned for her views. While they, Parkhomenko,
Navalny and the like, don't tolerate other points of
view and make lists. What kind of liberals are they? They are absolutely
totalitarian creatures. Absolutely. That makes me a liberal, because I tolerate
them. I say let's hear them out, let's take a look at what they have to say. No
one should be shut down. But there is no need to turn everything on its head,
especially when a media outlet is funded by the government.
DMITRY KISELYOV: Yes, we are
going to hold the 12th festival this year.
IZVESTIA: As far as I know, your partners in the
festival are from Ukraine. How are arrangements for the festival going?
DMITRY KISELYOV: The Culture
Ministry of has announced its support of the festival. The situation with the
organizers from Kiev is difficult, because the VerkhovnaRada [Ukraine's
parliament] introduced a bill that makes visiting Crimea a criminal offense
punishable by three to five years in prison, and if done by prior agreement and
by a group of people, the prison term is even longer. Just doing business in
Crimea, even from a desk in Kiev, is also subject to criminal prosecution.
There's only been a first reading of the bill. I'm not sure whether it will
pass after the second reading, but in that case, my friends won't be able to
organize the festival in Koktebel. I organized the
first three when I lived in Kiev, but then I stepped back from running things,
retaining only the title of founder. This festival has become the largest jazz
festival in the former Soviet space. People come all the way from Japan,
Canada, Hungary, and Norway to attend. A traditional throat singer from Tuva came once, because this type of singing is popular among
jazz musicians. Someone asked him what he thinks about when he sings like that.
He said he remembers his father who burned to death in a tank during the Great
Posted By Worldmeets.US
IZVESTIA: Given that Russians and Ukrainians, and
people of other ethnicities, fought fascism together, it is painful to see what's
happening in Kiev.
DMITRY KISELYOV: We won. We are
proud of it. People who deprive themselves of this heroic past live in
negativity. They turn into a nation of losers. They only remember the famine
and the fact that their land was once occupied.
IZVESTIA: Many people say "we defend
freedom," but aren't people supposed to defend their families and
DMITRY KISELYOV: Of course. When
we are asked to abandon the family by accepting non-traditional values, we are
essentially being asked to allow our country to be destroyed.