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Russian ministry calls Ukraine’s lists of welcome/unwelcome cultural figures puzzling

July 30, 2015, 18:56 UTC+3 MOSCOW
The Russian Culture Ministry treats everyone on an equal footing
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Russian First Deputy Minister of Culture Vladimir Aristarkhov

Russian First Deputy Minister of Culture Vladimir Aristarkhov

© ITAR-TASS/Artiom Korotaev

MOSCOW, July 30. /TASS/. It is highly counterproductive to classify arts professionals into ‘whitelist’ and ‘blacklist’ ones, or into friends and foes, and it is simply strange to compile such lists at all, Russian First Deputy Minister of Culture Vladimir Aristarkhov said on Thursday.

Earlier reports said the Ukrainian Ministry of Culture had begun to compile a ‘whitelist’ of Russian cultural personalities who were to be given maximum assistance inside the country. At the moment, it ostensibly contained 34 names - singer-songwriter Andrey Makarevich, actors Liya Akhedzhakova, Valentin Gaft and Oleg Basilashvili, film director Eldar Ryazanov, rock musician Yuri Shevchuk, and others.

"A list of this sort looks weird, to mention but one thing, as culture and arts can’t be divided along the black/white principle and a governmental department working in the sphere of culture doesn’t have the right to be motivated by political bias," Aristarkhov said.

As for the Russian Culture Ministry, it treats everyone on an equal footing, he said.

"Each of us has a personal opinion that you might agree or disagree with but to divide people along the whitelist/blacklist principle - or into friends and foes - is a highly counterproductive thing," Aristarkhov said.

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