Lithuanian Minister of Culture Šarūnas Birutis has commented on the decision of Visaginas Culture Centre to cancel a performance by the Alexander Ensemble, the official army choir of the Russian armed forces, saying that there is no place in Lithuania for Moscow's divisive policies.
Šarūnas Birutis
© DELFI / Tomas Vinickas

"There are obvious signs that the concert would have been one of the well-paid instruments for Moscow to divide the Lithuanian society," the minister said. According to him, Visaginas was chosen as the venue for the concert because of the town's predominantly Russian-speaking population. Moscow, according to Birutis, is trying to create cultural and information background adverse to Lithuania and favourable to Russia, especially in regions with sizeable ethnic minority communities.

"Moscow is looking to take advantage and is taking advantage of ethnic minorities in order to increase exclusion between communities," the minister said and urged other municipalities to follow the example of Visaginas Culture Centre and not to give in to provocations.

"I am pleased with how active the centre is and with its public decision which proves that we are a civic and united society, irrespective of our ethnicities," said Birutis.

The Alexander Ensemble performs a song "The Polite People" which was composed last year. The lyrics of the chorus proclaim that "the polite people will preserve the glory and the honour of the motherland". The song is interpreted as an homage to Russian soldiers who turned up in Crimea before its annexation last year.

According to the Lithuanian culture minister, there is no information about who was organising the Alexandrov Ensemble's concert in Lithuania, which is worrying.

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