The Russian DJ Nina Kraviz is no longer playing at three music festivals this summer following criticism over her political history and recent rhetoric about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Kraviz, one of the most famous Russian pop musicians on a global scale, has been called out by Ukrainian and Russian electronic music artists over the past couple months for previous social media posts that appear to support Vladimir Putin, as well as her public silence once the invasion began. (Many of these criticisms were surfaced in a May 18 TIME article.) Earlier this month, the Rotterdam music company Clone Distribution announced it would sever ties with Kraviz’s record label Trip Recordings, citing “different views on ethical and moral matters.”
The language used in each festival’s announcement was vague, and made it unclear whether the decision was primarily made by the festival or Kraviz. Movement simply tweeted that Kraviz was “unable to play Movement this year.” The festival had been receiving calls for Kraviz’s removal from local groups, including the Ukrainian-American Crisis Response Committee of Michigan, who put out a letter and a petition. “We cannot stand by while our community, Ukrainians and non-Ukrainians alike, mobilizes to help those suffering in Ukraine, yet welcomes someone whose behavior has helped enable Putin… Silence only breeds more injustice,” their letter reads.
The Crave wrote on Instagram that the decision was made “after long and intensive discussions both internally and externally.” Pollerwiesen wrote on Instagram that the “decision was made by us following a process of open dialogue with all parties involved.”
Much of the criticism of Kraviz stems from a few social media posts, including one of her holding a cardboard cut-out of Vladimir Putin at Coachella shortly after Russia’s invasion of Crimea in 2014. (A representative for Kraviz says that the cut-outs were supplied by the festival itself, and that many others at the festival took photos with them.) When Russia’s current invasion of Ukraine began in late February, Kraviz posted a video of herself writing “peace!” in Russian. But the short, vague message was criticized by some on Instagram, most notably by the Ukrainian DJ Nastia, who felt the message only underscored Kraviz’s implicit support of Putin.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky weighed in on the impact of cultural boycotts against Russian artists in the aforementioned TIME article, saying: “It’s their country, and they can’t keep silent. They say what they think, and I believe that’s the right thing to do.”
This week, Kraviz attempted to clear the air in an Instagram post, writing, “I am against all forms of violence. I am praying for peace. It pains me to see innocent people die.”
As of publication, Kraviz remains on several upcoming festival bills, including CORE Festival in Belgium on May 27-28 and Junction 2 in London on June 18-19. Representatives for those festivals did not immediately respond to request for comment.
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