‘Russophobia’ has long been an empty propaganda term, flung out reflexively by the Kremlin to distract from its sordid record of murderous repression. The reaction of some in the West to the invasion of Ukraine, however, threatens to give those same propagandists some entirely unnecessary ammunition.
Sticking it to Putin’s ghastly regime is one thing, but in some quarters that has extended to a no-holds-barred attack on Russian culture itself. We have seen an Italian university threatening to stop teaching a course on Dostoevsky, the Cardiff Philharmonic taking Tchaikovsky off its programme and the Polish Opera scrapping its production of Mussorgsky’s Boris Godunov.
Nor is this crusade against all things Russian limited to long dead writers and musicians.
Here in the UK, some of the cast of Strictly Come Dancing reportedly think it’s inappropriate for dancers Katya Jones and…