Ukraine to restrict Russian books and music in latest Moscow culture break

Misha, 5, who lost her mother weeks ago and was injured in a Russian strike, reads a book while staying in a basement of a hospital on March 26, 2022 in Mykolaiv.

Bulent Kilic | AFP | Getty Images

Ukraine’s parliament passed two laws on Sunday that will impose severe restrictions on Russian books and music as Kyiv seeks to sever many cultural ties between the two countries after Moscow invaded.

A law will prohibit the printing of books for Russian citizens, unless they give up their Russian passport and take Ukrainian citizenship. The ban will only apply to those who held Russian citizenship after the collapse of the Soviet regime in 1991.

It will also prohibit the commercial import of books printed in Russia, Belarus and occupied Ukrainian territory, while requiring special permission for the import of books in Russian from any other country.

Another law will ban the broadcasting of music by post-1991 Russian citizens in the media and public transport, while increasing quotas on voice and music content in Ukrainian on TV and radio broadcasts.

The laws must be signed by President Volodymyr Zelensky to come into force, and there is no indication that he opposes them either. Both received broad support from across the chamber, including lawmakers traditionally seen as pro-Kremlin by most Ukrainian media and civil society.

Ukrainian Culture Minister Oleksandr Tkachenko said he was “happy to welcome” the new restrictions.

“The laws are designed to help Ukrainian authors share quality content with the widest possible audience, which after the Russian invasion does not accept any physical Russian creative products,” he said on the website of the Ukrainian cabinet.


The new rules are the latest chapter in Ukraine’s long road to shed the legacy of hundreds of years of Moscow rule.

Ukraine says this process, previously called “decommunization” but now more often called “derussification,” is necessary to undo centuries of policies aimed at crushing Ukrainian identity.

Moscow disagrees, saying Kyiv’s policy of entrenching the Ukrainian language in daily life oppresses Ukraine’s large number of Russian speakers, whose rights it claims to be defending in what it calls its “operation special military”.

This process gained momentum after Russia’s 2014 invasion of Crimea and support for separatist proxies in Ukraine’s Donbass, but took on new dimensions after the full-scale invasion began on February 24. .

Hundreds of places in Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, have already been slated to be renamed to shed their associations with Russia, and a Soviet-era monument celebrating the friendship of the Ukrainian and Russian peoples has been torn down in April, drawing cheers from the assembled crowd.

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