Sunday, May 19, 2024

Some Russian Museums Not Changing Exhibits Lest They Be Forced to Carry Propaganda

Paul Goble

            Staunton, May 16 – Putin’s expanded war in Ukraine has hit museums in the Russian Federation hard. Long-planned foreign exhibits have been cancelled, and the Kremlin has insisted that Russian museums carry more propaganda about the war. But some curators have come up with a strategy to resist, although it is costing them dearly as well.

            That strategy is to avoid changing existing exhibits because official pressure to introduce propaganda messages is greatest at a time when an exhibit ends and another must replace it. By extending current exhibitions, museums can avoid having propaganda forced upon them – but only at the cost of Soviet-style stagnation when museums seldom changed their exhibits.

            In a new article for The Insider, journalist Irina Kordonskaya surveys how various museums are falling victim to Kremlin pressure while others continue to resist, often using such delaying tactics, and how this combination is changing the face of museum life in the Russian Federation and leading to a new stagnation in the museum life (

            In government museums, censorship is spreading rapidly; but pressure on other museums continues to grow. And it is even possible that the strategy of not changing exhibits in order not to be forced to insert propaganda may prompt the Kremlin to adopt new more invasive ways of forcing the museums to become its propaganda vehicles.

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