Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Ukraine today.
In recent years we have been privileged to have had the chance to hear about the deteriorating human rights situation in Russia and its former territories, Belarus and Ukraine – through having Russian art-agitators Pussy Riot in residence with us in 2018, Ukrainian act Balaklava Blues with us in 2019, and in talking to Belarus Free Theatre’s co-founder Natalia Kaliada on our podcast in 2020.
We know that the struggle against the pervasive power of Putin’s autocracy is being made so bravely and creatively by artists, activists and believers alike. We stand with these incredible poets, prophets and priests – and with the millions of ‘ordinary’ people in Ukraine (and in Belarus, under Lukashenko, and in Russia, under Putin) who just want to ‘enjoy’ the same freedoms, rights and privileges we enjoy. Without the threat of violence.
And we also want to recognise again the precious fragility of democracy and to remember how easily it can be eroded over time or trampled in the blink of an eye.
Meet the Pussy Riot Collective – an interview with members of Pussy Riot by Martin Wroe
Riot Days the Book – an interview With Maria Alyokhina by Rhian Roberts
For a wider view of the way in which art and faith has always played a part in countering fascism, this talk by Dr Debbie Lewer from Greenbelt is really helpful.
For more on the religious dimensions of the Russia/Ukraine conflict…
Pictured: Balaklava Blues performing at Greenbelt 2019.