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Invasion sparks global disapproval of Russia with Cold War echoes

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Invasion sparks global disapproval of Russia with Cold War echoes

LONDON – In Switzerland, the Lucerne Music Festival canceled two symphony concerts featuring a Russian maestro. In Australia, the national swimming team said it would boycott the World Championships event in Russia. At Magic Mountain Ski Area in Vermont, a bartender pours bottles of Stolichnaya Vodka down a creek.

From culture to commerce, from sports to travel, the world is turning Russia away in myriad ways to counter President Vladimir V. Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. Since the cold days of the Cold War have so many doors closed for Russia and its people – a worldwide rejection, fueled by an impulse to show solidarity with besieged Ukrainians, out of any hope that it will leave Mr. will force you to leave. Soldier.

The boycotts and cancellations are stacking parallel to sanctions imposed by the United States, Europe and other powers. Although these grassroots gestures do less damage to Russia’s economy than sweeping sanctions on Russian banks or mothballing of a natural gas pipeline, they carry a powerful symbolic punch, leaving millions of ordinary Russians in an interconnected world. get separated.

Among the most visible targets of this protest are cultural icons such as Valery Gergiev, the conductor and longtime supporter of Mr. Putin. He is ousted by Lucerne and Carnegie Hall, and faces imminent dismissal by the Munich Philharmonic, where he is chief conductor, unless he rejects the invasion of Ukraine.

Russia has been banned from this year’s Eurovision Song Contest, which it last won in 2008, with Dima Bilan performing his power ballad, “Believe”. Russia’s Formula One Grand Prix in Sochi in September has been cancelled. St Petersburg has lost the Champions League football final, which was transferred to Paris.

Russia’s World Cup hopes were dashed on Monday after a dozen countries refused to play their national football team in the qualifying round with Poland. Under intense pressure, football’s two main governing bodies, FIFA and UEFA, ruled that Russia was ineligible to play in their tournament. In Germany, soccer club Schalke broke a sponsorship deal with Russian oil giant Gazprom. The National Hockey League also suspended its business deals in Russia.

Also on Monday, Greece announced that it would suspend all cooperation with Russian cultural organizations. A French former ballet star, Laurent Hilaire, resigned as director of the Stanislavsky Theater Company in Moscow, saying that “the context no longer allows me to work with peace of mind.”

“The cancellation of all these cultural exchanges and sporting events will be felt by the Russian population,” said Angela E., a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and author of the book “Putin’s World.” Stant said. “Unfortunately, at the Kremlin level, this will be seen as another example of the West trying to paint us a corner.”

“It will become part of the story of suffering that we have heard in spades from Putin over the past few weeks,” Ms. Stant said. “The boycott affects the people involved in those incidents, but we’re talking about Putin and some of the people around him. I’m not sure it’s going to make him change his mind.”

The last time the country’s leaders provoked such a global backlash was in 1980 when the United States, West Germany, Japan and Canada boycotted the Olympic Games in Moscow to protest the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan. The Soviet Union retaliated with the exception of the 1984 Games in Los Angeles.

That was during the depths of the Cold War, when Hollywood released jingoistic movies like “Red Dawn” about a fictional Soviet invasion of Colorado, and more than 100 million Americans called “The Day After” a television movie a disaster. About the atom. Exchange between the United States and the Soviet Union.

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According to experts in Russia, the Olympic boycott had a major impact on popular sentiment, as the then Soviet leader Leonid I. Brezhnev presented them as an imitation of Soviet power and influence, as Mr. Putin designed the invasion. Ukraine in terms of reclaiming Russian greatness.

“The Soviet government had to explain why the United States and other countries weren’t there,” said former US ambassador to Russia Michael F. McFaul said. “It began to affect the way Soviet citizens saw themselves in the world.”

Although Russian villains remained a Hollywood staple, the country’s black hat image faded after the fall of the communist regime. The younger Russian grew up in a relatively open, if one way or another, society. Those with the money had access to foreign education and European holidays, where the hosts spent free Russians.

In Jerusalem, Russian-speaking Israelis flocked to the popular Putin pub, where the name sounded a lark—and neither is more problematic than the bar’s late-night Russian karaoke. On Thursday, Russian-origin owners stripped the golden “Putin” letters from its mask and announced they were looking for a new name.

“It was our initiative,” said Yulia Kaplan, one of the three owners, who moved from St. Petersburg to Israel in 1991. “Because we are against war.”

Israel, in its own way, serves as an example of the limits of this type of exclusion. Over the years, critics of its occupation of the West Bank have tried to pressure the government through boycott, disinvestment, sanctions movement. Although it has found success, it has opposed people on both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian divide and failed to pressure Israeli leaders to change policy toward Palestinians.

“Such a boycott certainly won’t change Putin’s mind,” said Martin S., former US ambassador to Israel. Indyk said. “But it will raise the morale of Ukrainians to know that people around the world are on their side. And it will put the oligarchs in a way that I suspect will not lead to financial sanctions.”

Nevertheless, the reaction will hit even ordinary Russians hard. Already, they can’t fly to London and large areas of the European Union because of restrictions on Russian flights. Canada closed its airspace to Russian aircraft on Sunday and announced that it was investigating the Russian carrier, Aeroflot, for violating sanctions.

“Middle-class Russians have been going to Turkey on vacation for a decade,” said Mr. McFaul. “Now they have to wonder: Will their credit cards work? Will their money have any value?”

In the capitals from Madrid to London, tens of thousands of people marched in solidarity with Ukrainians and against Russian aggression. In Ottawa, the Peace Tower on Parliament Hill, the backdrop of three weeks of truck driver protests in the Canadian capital, was illuminated in the colors of the Ukrainian flag.

In Rio de Janeiro, where the invasion coincided with the start of the annual Carnival festival, people wore costumes and carried signs related to the conflict. “No bombs, drop the acid,” said a sign in English.

“The totality of this – the ban, the ardent football fans for Ukrainians, the marching crowds in Berlin and Prague – I think it matters because it makes the Russians feel isolated,” Mr McFaul said.

The invasion is likely to deepen some Russians’ opposition to the invasion, he said, particularly among the urban, educated elite. These people have access to the Internet and are aware of Mr. Putin’s outrageous reaction to the aggression. But for those who live in more provincial areas where the government has tighter controls on the media, the backlash against Russia could spark even more outrage.

Some cultural institutions have prepared their own actions against those known to have close ties to Mr. Putin. For example, the Metropolitan Opera said it would no longer work with “artists or institutions that support or are supported by Putin,” Met general manager Peter Gelb said in a video statement.

This has led to a display of defiance from some Russian artists. Star soprano Anna Netrebko, who is due to perform at the Met in April in Puccini’s “Turandot,” has tried to distance herself from the Russian invasion. But she also posted on her Instagram account, “It is not right to compel artists, or any public figure, to publicly voice their political opinion and denounce their motherland.”

Not all cultural exchanges have taken place. A blockbuster show of French and Russian paintings remains open at the Louis Vuitton Foundation in Paris.

The exhibition – showcasing 200 works collected by two 20th-century Russian textile magnates – evolved from high-level discussions between Mr. Putin and LVMH’s chief executive, Bernard Arnault. Both signed contributions to the exhibition’s catalogue, and Mr. Putin signed a loan for the paintings.

However, for many, the idea of ​​supporting Russia is unbearable. Pennsylvania, Utah, Ohio, New Hampshire and other states, as well as Canada, have pulled Russian-branded vodka from the shelves of liquor stores.

In some cases, the gesture is incorrect: Stolichnaya, although historically a Russian brand, is manufactured in Riga, Latvia. In Brazil, the So Paulo bar has renamed its Moscow Mule – a drink that was made in the United States and is made with vodka, ginger beer and lime – as the United States Mule.

“We’re not very happy with what Moscow has done,” said the bar’s co-owner, Mauricio Meirelles, a well-known comedian and television host from Brazil. “And then we thought about changing the name,” he said. “The UN Mule: The Drink That Isn’t Attacking Anyone.”

Reporting was contributed by jack out Andre Spigariol in Brasilia, in Rio de Janeiro, Aurelian Breeden in paris, Raphael Minder in Madrid, carlotta gallo in the city of Istanbul, Nikki Kitsantonis In Athens, Vojosa Christian in Ottawa, Livia Albeck-Ripka in California, and isabelle kershner in Jerusalem.

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