Rustaveli Theater's tour to Moscow sparks controversy in Georgia
Rustaveli Theater’s tour to Moscow
A wave of outrage has been sparked by Georgia’s Rustavi Theater’s announcement of its appearance at the upcoming international Chekhov Theater Festival in Moscow on June 30 as well as July 1 and 2. Various media outlets and social media users refer to the theater’s decision of performing at the “country-occupant” as a “betrayal”.
“It is important for us to show the Moscow audience one of our last performances. This is an unusual play of an unusual author”, theater director Robert Sturua said in an interview with one of the Russian TV channels.
The play in question is called The End of the Game, directed by Robert Sturua himself and with the main cast including Nana Pachuashvili, Goga Barbakadze, David Uplisashvili, Levan Berikashvili.
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Robert Sturua: “You sold Georgia and now you chase after the theater?”
Responding to criticism in society, the theater staff made a statement in which they said that “many countries participate in the Chekhov Festival, including Spain, Argentina, France, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Israel, Italy, India, Japan”.
Robert Sturua’s response to public criticism was much harsher:
“You yourself sold Georgia – David Gareji [an ancient monastery complex, around which there is a territorial dispute with Azerbaijan – JAMnews], Abkhazia, Gali [an area in Abkhazia where predominantly ethnic Georgians live – JAMnews], Samachablo [South Ossetia – JAMnews]! But now you are trying to stop Rustaveli Theater? “
Is it necessary to separate art from politics?
Culture Minister Tea Tsulukiani said that “she has no right to and will not interfere in the activities of creative people”.
MP Irakli Kadagishvili supported the theater troupe and said that “art is also a visiting card of the country, and sports, culture and education should be separated from politics”.
However, opposition politician Khatia Dekanoidze recalled that “after the occupation of Crimea and Donbas, not a single Ukrainian troupe has ever come or performed in Russia, in an occupying country. I do not understand how people with normal state thinking can perform such actions”, Dekanoidze said.