Vladimir Putin is pretty upset that the United States and other Western nations have taken issue with him invading Ukraine and killing thousands of people. The murderous authoritarian took a page from the American right wing to air his grievances on Friday, comparing retaliation against the war to “cancel culture.” He even likened Russia to Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling, who has been widely criticized for expressing anti-trans sentiment — but still, lest we must remind you, continues to publish books and make millions of dollars.
“They canceled [J.K.] Rowling recently, the children’s author,” Putin said after complaining that the Red Army doesn’t get enough credit for defeating fascism in World War II. “Her books are published all over the world, just because she didn’t satisfy the demands of gender rights.”
Rowling, who has tweeted about her support for Ukraine, responded on Friday. “Critiques of Western cancel culture are possibly not best made by those currently slaughtering civilians for the crime of resistance, or who jail and poison their critics, #IStandWithUkraine,” she tweeted along with a link to a story about Alexei Navalny, the Putin critic who has been jailed and poisoned.
"It's impossible to imagine such a thing in our country"
President Vladimir Putin uses J K Rowling as an example of Western cynicism and "cancel culture", which he says is currently being aimed at Russia.
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Putin went on to compare Western nations “canceling” Russian “writers and books” to Nazis burning books 90 years ago. He did not mention reports that Russians are literally burning Ukrainian books, or the nation’s state-run media and longstanding suppression of free speech. He went on to claim there is “no place for ethnic intolerance” in Russia, where “cultural diversity is the pride of our society.” Putin did not mention that the Russian government has been trying to snuff out LGBTQ rights for years, most recently in a lawsuit arguing that an LGBTQ rights group is engaging in activity that goes against “traditional values.”
This isn’t the first time Russia has blamed the West’s retaliation against its invasion of Ukraine on cancel culture. Russian Director of Foreign Intelligence Sergei Naryshkin earlier this month said that the “masks have been dropped” from the U.S. and its allies since they started to impose sanctions on Russia. “The West is not just trying to surround Russia with a new Iron Curtain,” he said. “We are talking about attempts to destroy our state — its ‘cancellation,’ as it is now customary to say in a ‘tolerant’ liberal-fascist environment.”
Russia has spent the past month laying waste to Ukraine. The death toll is unknown, but it’s been estimated that anywhere from 3,000 over 15,000 Russian soldiers have died in the war. Thousands more are injured or missing, while countless Ukrainians have died as a result of the invasion.