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Kiev Conservatory sticking with Russian composer’s name

Ukraine’s culture minister says he’s “disappointed” with the decision

The Kiev-based Pyotr Tchaikovsky National Music Academy of Ukraine (UNTAM) once again postponed the decision on dropping the name of the iconic Russian composer from its title on Monday, angering Ukraine’s culture minister, Aleksandr Tkachenko.

Tkachenko took to Facebook shortly after the announcement by the conservatory to say that the ministry is “disappointed” with the decision.

According to the official, the UNTAM has ignored recommendations from the Ukrainian authorities, including the Expert Council, “on overcoming the consequences of Russification and totalitarianism.” This comes at a time when “all our theaters refused to perform” Tchaikovsky’s works, and Russian President Vladimir Putin “openly says that it’s his cultural weapon,” Tkachenko stated.


The minister urged the UNTAM to speed up the decision, arguing that “the markers with which we mark our educational and cultural spaces” are of prime importance.

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Pyotr Tchaikovsky National Music Academy of Ukraine in Kiev. © UNTAM
Kiev conservatory refuses to give up Russian composer’s name

A campaign to remove all links to Russia has been underway in Ukraine since Moscow launched its military operation in the country in late February. It includes the renaming of streets and various entities and dismantling statues and monuments associated with the time when the country was part of the Russian Empire, and later, the Soviet Union.

The UNTAM has been under pressure to drop Tchaikovsky from its name for months, but it has so far been reluctant to do so.


In July, a prominent Ukrainian songwriter and member of UNTAM’s supervisory board, Yury Rybchinsky, argued that “Tchaikovsky, like Shakespeare, like Joan of Arc, like Christ, doesn’t belong to one specific people, he belongs to the whole world.”

He also claimed that the composer of the music for the ballets ‘Swan Lake’ and ‘The Nutcracker’ “was not Russian” by nationality because his father came from a family of Zaporozhian Cossacks, while his mother was French.
Tchaikovsky visited Ukraine, which was part of the Russian Empire in the 19th century, on many occasions. He was also among the founders of the Kiev Conservatory.

On Monday, a monument to one of the most famous Soviet writers, Maxim Gorky, who founded socialist realism, was brought down in the Ukrainian city of Dnepr as part of the ‘de-Russification’ drive.

READ MORE: Ukraine dismantles monument to iconic Soviet author


Moscow has decried the actions of the authorities in Kiev, saying that attempts to cancel Russian culture and the “forced Ukrainization” of the country infringe on the rights of around a quarter of Ukraine’s population who are Russian-speaking.

December 27, 2022 at 04:53PM

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