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NGOs called on Atlas Weekend to forgo inviting Russian artists - statement

02.07.2021, 15:52

NGOs have called on “Atlas Weeken” organizers to forgo inviting Russian singer Valery Meladze in the festival, as Meladze had performed at private concerts for Aleksander Lukashenko's family and aides. They cited some other Russian artists serving the authoritarian regime.

NGOs also refused to take part in the festival and to speak about the importance of civic activism, reforms and their activities within the project "NGO Town".

This statement was signed by the NGOs " Detector Media ", the "Institute of Mass Information", StopFake (NGO "Center for Media Reform"), the Information Campaign "On the Other Side of the News", Euromaidan Press, "Internews Ukraine", "Suspilnist Foundation" and Independent media council.

The Institute of Mass Information publishes the full text of the statement.

NGOs call on “Atlas Weekend” to forgo inviting Russian artists serving authoritarian regime

Many well-known Ukrainian public organizations took part in previous “Atlas Weekend” festivals, within the "Town of NGO" site, where they spoke to the festival guests about perspective and examples of civic activity.

This year, “Atlas Weekend” is coming back after the pandemic and plans to deploy the "NGO Town" location again. However, we were impressed by the announced participation in the festival of Russian singer Valery Meladze, who distinguished himself by performing at private concerts for the family and supporters of the self-proclaimed President of Belarus Aleksander Lukashenko.

Lukashenko's authoritarian regime exterminates and puts in jails Belarusian citizenshijacks plane, and cracks down on civil society and independent media . We support the Belarusian people in their quest for democracy, as well as in their demands for free and fair elections.

We consider it impossible to talk at the “Atlas Weekend” about the importance of civic activism, reforms and our activities, if the same festival invites artists who serve the authoritarian regime. It also damages the image of the festival and the whole country, which is now serving an example for Belarusian society in terms of civic activism and democratic evolution.

We urge the organizers of “Atlas Weekend” to forgo Russian artists who serve the authoritarian regime to be invited, and the festival partners to pay attention to these reputational risks and follow the response of the festival organizers.

Long live Belarus!

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