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Russian and Ukrainian Film Industries Speak Out Against Conflict

An anti-war activist holds a sign calling for peace at a protest in Crimea.

On March 8, more than 100 cinematographers, directors, and other people in the Russian film industry signed an anti-war message expressing solidarity with their Ukrainian counterparts and a desire for open communication between the two nations.

The letter, which was placed on the website of the Union of Cinematographers and Cinematographical Organizations of Russia, was made in response to a letter authored by Ukrainian cinematographers on March 5 calling on their Russian counterparts for aid and understanding.

"We wish to tell you, friends, that it is impossible to understand and accept the motives behind the decision of the leadership of the Russian government," the Ukrainian cinematographers wrote. They remarked on the many years of cooperation with their Russian colleagues, saying that "we call on you to say 'no' to the plans to divide our nations and create enmity, which could have a catastrophic effect on our great and glorious art."

The Russians responded that they had read the letter "with pain," writing that "you speak fairly of an unprecedented anti-Ukrainian campaign, let loose by Russian state channels." The Russians closed by saying that "we are on the side of truth, and we are with you!"

Numerous intellectuals and artists have spoken out against the Russian government's involvement in the current crisis over the status of the autonomous region of Crimea in Ukraine; Gogol Center in Moscow was forced to cancel a series of performances after a Latvian actress, Guna Zarinya, in an anti-war protest refused to perform the main role in a play.

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