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Punish Russia, Not Russians

Innocent Russians are being shunned in an effort to express solidarity with Ukraine. Such cancel culture serves no one.

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As the world watches President Putin's brutal military advances in Ukraine in horror, Western governments have promptly responded with a tranche of sanctions. In a policy reversal, Germany announced $113 billion in funds one-time to spend on defense and a commitment to spend more than 2% of its annual GDP on defense. This is the same country whose diplomats had mocked President Trump when he demanded that wealthy European nations do more and adequately foot NATO's bill. Crises sure have a strange way to prompt action.

Government responses to a bully, who placed his nuclear forces on high alert on Sunday to further add to global anxiety, are one thing. But, private Western sanctions mushrooming rapidly across sports, music, and culture to ensnare innocent Russian civilians are another.

For months, Russia had been preparing to host the UEFA Champions League contested by top-division European soccer clubs. Although the event was scheduled in St. Petersburg on May 28, three months away, UEFA organizers quickly punished ordinary Russians by moving it to a grateful Paris that was ever ready to play as a backup host. Although they had nothing to do with the conflict, millions of Russian fans, hundreds of thousands of vendors, businesses, and employees were forced to suffer. In truth, many Russians have vociferously protested the invasion, and over 3,000 have even risked arrest by Russian security forces.

Formula 1 crazy Russians saw with despair that the Russian Grand Prix, scheduled in Sochi for September, was canceled. The rationale was that athletes and support teams ought not to be exposed to dangerous security situations while visiting Russia. How a rapidly-changing international news story in Kyiv could impact a sports event located 900 miles away seven months into the future beats all rationale.

As we learned from Major League Baseball, an event boycott when it abandoned Atlanta's chance to host the All-Star Game on a woke sense of morality hurts those that can least afford it. The western private world is perfecting its latest lethal weapon - Cancellations - at places thousands of miles away from the conflict zone.

The Royal Opera House in London announced that it canceled Russia's Bolshoi Ballet tour. Not to be outdone, a Northampton theater canceled the Russian State Ballet of Siberia, which has been performing in the UK since 2007. So ballerinas are responsible for those T-72 tanks that rolled into Ukraine?

The Eurovision Song Contest first started in 1956 and holds the mantle as one of the world's longest-running television programs. The competition will now bar Russian performances, although Russia has been sending contestants since 1994. Since when did the West decide that vocalists and lyricists, probably among the most progressive members of society, should be punished for aggression by their country's leader?

New Hampshire Governor John Sununu announced that state liquor stores would no longer carry Russian vodka. Some Canadian regions quickly followed suit. So grain farmers in Russia are to blame for the conflict in Kyiv?

We have seen how such movies play out before. After 9/11, we assumed that any Arab male wearing a long beard and no mustache in a public setting was a potential threat. The United States government even popularized a slogan, "If you see something, say something," prompting millions of tips that resulted in racial profiling. Hollywood was quick to adapt and made it part of our pop culture. Dozens of movies based on terrorism played dramatic music in the background as cameras zoomed in on similarly-attired fundamentalists.

After Covid hit, President Trump, always clever in coining slogans that stick, came up with a term to describe it: "China Virus." Media organizations and Big Tech squirmed - the administration had already banned flights from China - arguing that the idea of using such phrases could encourage bias.

Days into the Russo-Ukraine conflict, the same organizations appear to not care about how ordinary Russians are being canceled. Doing so is discriminatory and should stop.

Related tippinsights Editorials:

Putin’s Outrageous Nuclear Threat
5 Factors Behind Putin's Aggression And The Possible Endgame
SWIFT: Europe Can't Have Its Cake And Eat It Too
It’s Time To Walk The Talk To Defend Ukraine
Anti-Fossil Madness Funds Putin's Ukraine Aggression
Putin’s Nonsense Peacekeeping Mission
Nord Stream: A Lesson In Energy Dependence
Cracks Among Ukraine's Allies
Countering Putin’s Brinksmanship
Thirty Years Since The Collapse Of The Soviet Union
Who Will Prevail- Russia Or NATO?

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