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Putin says Russia's culture being 'canceled,' compares it to J.K. Rowling's controversy

Putin J.K. Rowling
Posted at 6:30 PM, Mar 25, 2022

In a televised speech Russia's President Vladimir Putin said on Friday that the West is trying to cancel Russian culture in the same way that he says others tried to cancel "Harry Potter" author J.K. Rowling.

As Reuters reported, Putin mentioned Russia's rich music and literary history and noted composers like Pyotr Tchaikovsky and Sergei Rachmaninov in his remarks on state TV.

Putin said Rowling was canceled because she “didn’t satisfy the demands of gender rights,” according to a translation reported on by Variety.

“They are now trying to cancel our country. I’m talking about the progressive discrimination of everything to do with Russia,” Putin said. He also compared “cancel culture” to Nazis trying to burn books.

“We remember the footage when they were burning books,” Putin said. “It is impossible to imagine such a thing in our country and we are insured against this thanks to our culture. And it’s inseparable for us from our motherland, from Russia, where there is no place for ethnic intolerance, where for centuries representatives from dozens of ethnic groups have been living together,” he said.

Author J.K. Rowling responded on Friday on Twitter writing, "critiques of Western cancel culture are possibly not best made by those currently slaughtering civilians." Rowling made reference also to jailed anti-corruption campaigner Alexei Navalny, slamming Putin's government for "jailing and poisoning critics."

As Sky News UK reported, Putin was appearing on a televised meeting on state TV with cultural figures.

In a pinned tweet on her Twitter account, J.K. Rowling told followers that she would "personally match donations," up to just above $1 million, to her children's charity Lumos which she says is helping vulnerable children in Ukraine.

Putin, in using Rowling as a reference in talking about his interpretation of "cancel culture," appeared to be referencing the aftermath of comments made by the "Harry Potter" author on June 6, 2020. As Glamour reported, Rowling retweeted an op-ed piece discussing menstruation and appeared to take issue with the article not using the word "women."

In her tweet at that time Rowling wrote, "‘People who menstruate.’ I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?"

The backlash came after the initial tweet, to which Rowling responded by writing on Twitter, “If sex isn’t real, there’s no same-sex attraction. If sex isn’t real, the lived reality of women globally is erased. I know and love trans people, but erasing the concept of sex removes the ability of many to meaningfully discuss their lives. It isn’t hate to speak the truth.”