In response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the Western world has been very united in supporting Ukraine and condemning Russia for its unjust and brutal war.
There have been new examples of anti-Russian sentiment in the United States. People have vandalised Russian restaurants in the United States and have boycotted people who have criticised their own government for the war.
Russian Samovar, a piano bar in Manhattan owned by a Russian and Ukrainian couple and their family, says that reservations have dropped 60% since the bar opened in 2010. This is just one example. When you walk in, there’s a sign that says “Stand by Ukraine, NO WAR.” They say they’re having a fundraising event for Ukraine this week.
There is a lot of talk about how this backlash is racist and reminds people of the “Freedom Fries” episode from nearly 20 years ago.
They changed the name of french fries on their menus to “freedom fries” because France did not support the Iraq War.
A lot of things have a lot in common, and they all work out. The French restaurant Maison de la Poutine, which has locations in Paris and Toulouse, said last weekend that people who mixed up its name with that of Russian President Vladimir Putin were making threats. Poutine is a Quebec-based dish of fries, gravy, and cheese curds. It’s best to eat it after 3am.
But the boycott goes far beyond silly misinterpretations of what it’s all about.
Cultural groups are cancelling works by Russian artists who don’t seem to be linked to the Russian president.
The Cardiff Philharmonic Orchestra in Wales decided not to play any works by the Russian composer Tchaikovsky on its next show because they thought it would be “inappropriate at this time.” A long time ago, Tchaikovsky didn’t talk about the war.
Alexander Malofeev, a 20-year-old Russian pianist, was supposed to play in Vancouver. The Vancouver Recital Society had to cancel the show. She told the CBC that even though she felt bad for Malofeev, she had no choice but to stop the show when Putin invaded Ukraine. “It’s not something I’m proud of or excited about.”
Every Russian will feel guilty for a long time because of the terrible and bloody decision, but Malofeev said that “people can’t be judged by their nationality” because “everyone is different.”