We are utterly appalled and concerned about the war against Ukraine. Nobody can gauge the full extent yet, but we are all touched by the human suffering. The Russian invasion is a crime against a sovereign Ukraine, against the values of mankind as well as freedom and peace in Europe.
We grieve with everyone who has lost family members and friends, think of those who defend their independence and turn our deepest sympathies to the Ukrainian people, women, men, children living in permanent fear of rolling tanks and rocket attacks or fleeing from war. People are dying every hour, hundreds of thousands are forced to seek protection, because Putin wants to punish Ukraine for its desire for democracy and a self-determined future. That fills us with dismay and disgust.
Disgusted we also see how Putin without any shame is lying to his own people and thereby bringing need and trouble to them. We feel solidarity with all men and women in Russia who courageously resist and express their protest against war.
Over many years our festival has been a byword for an open and tolerant attitude, for cultural exchange and understanding. Also against that background we renewed our partnership with European Broadcasting Union EBU and like in 2019 two Russian radio stations were going to participate. But that will not happen. When Putin recognized the Donbass region’s independency it was out of the question for us to invite the two bands planned to represent Russia in Rudolstadt. The decision was made because we do not want in any kind to provide a forum for official, government-funded institutions. Meanwhile Russian members have expressed their intent to leave the EBU.
These are dark times, it looks like nothing remains unaffected thereby. We hope for peace and an end to violence as quickly as possible!