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Russia: Ombudsman says event restrictions are “unsystematic”

Russia’s regulation of its cultural events industry has been dubbed “unsystematic and often excessive” by a public ombudsman.

“In a number of regions (for example, in the Voronezh and Irkutsk regions), additional restrictions are introduced exclusively for the non-state cultural sector,” says Olga Shpigalskikh, the ombudsman for the protection of the rights of entrepreneurs in the field of organising cultural events.

In the last couple of months, a number of non-state festivals, including Chernozem in the Voronezh region and Wild Mint in the Tula region, have been called off by local government at the eleventh hour.

“Such decisions finally kill the last chance for our industry to recover,” says Russia’s leading live music association, KTiBO, which warned that the sector is “on the brink of collapse”.

“In a number of regions, additional restrictions are introduced exclusively for the non-state cultural sector”

The ombudsman echoed the association’s concern, adding that, for 17 months, the non-state branch of cultural events has been “practically paralysed”.

“Since the beginning of the announcement of the high alert regime and the complete closure of the industry, at least 10,000 thousand events across the country have been postponed and cancelled. The industry’s revenue fell by more than 90%,” Shpigalskikh explained.

“The heads of these subjects of the Russian Federation were sent appeals to equalise the possibilities of the activities of touring organisations [compared to that of state activities], to prevent discrimination of concert and theatrical touring activities,” she told Russian news agency Tass.


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