Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky has promised to unilaterally step up the contacts with Polish artists and groups as an “asymmetrical” reply to Poland’s decision to withdraw from the Year of Culture project.
“If the Polish government approves such a decision, we, the Culture Ministry would make an asymmetrical reply. Not only we will not block contacts with Polish groups and artists - we will unilaterally strengthen them. We will invite more Polish artists to perform in our country; will definitely invite some good Polish theater for a tour. And if our artists would like to go to Poland we would offer them our help,” the RIA Novosti news agency quoted Medinsky as saying on Tuesday.
“This will be a unilateral Year of Culture,” the minister added.
"Nothing can be worse than mixing politics and culture," he said.
According to Medinsky Russian authorities will definitely hold a festival of Polish cinema in 2015.
The decision to hold the Russian-Polish Year of Culture in 2015 was taken last year by the countries’ foreign ministers, Radoslaw Sikorski and Sergey Lavrov as a part of a mutual initiative called the 2020 Program of Russian-Polish relations.
In late July this year the Polish government announced that it was cancelling all festival events. Warsaw authorities said it was because of the current crisis in Ukraine.
Earlier this month Russia’s state agriculture watchdog Rosselkhoznadzor banned imports of all Polish vegetables and fruit. The official reason for the move was a breach in health and safety standards, but Polish officials presume the measures were introduced because Poland supported EU sanctions on Russia.