FreeWestMedia spoke with Hans-Joachim Frey, German cultural manager and former Director at the Semperoper in Dresden, about the effects of the anti-Russian sanctions in the field of culture.
Mr. Frey, the EU has been trying to prevent any European activities including tourism and cultural exchange with the Crimean peninsula since 2014. You work as a cultural manager in Germany, Austria and Russia – how do you see the attempt by Brussels to isolate Crimea?
Frey: Cultural exchange is very important and should be sacrosanct. It shouldn’t be affected by political turbulence. The historical and cultural importance of Crimea is outstanding, the peninsula stands in the center of Russian history. If there is no cultural exchange, it would be fatal. Cultural exchange and cultural engagement also in Crimea are a humanitarian topic. I am promoting that notion despite of the political problems between EU and the Russian Federation.
What does a total cultural boycott of Crimea mean for us Europeans?
Frey: It should be an essential premise also for the EU that such cultural boycotts shouldn’t be tolerable. The “frozen conflict” around Crimea should come to an end. The truth is always in the middle – so all conflict partners have responsibilities! We need a stable political solution for the future which allows for Europeans to visit and to enjoy Crimea again too – one of the most beautiful regions of Europe by the way.
The organisers of the Yalta International Economic Forum are not just engaged in the field of business but also in presenting Crimea as a cultural and historical hub. What do you think about such initiatives?
Frey: I absolutely support that idea of the YIEF organisers. We have the obligation to preserve our common European historical heritage. Such initiatives deserves all our support.
There is the idea of rebuilding the Yalta movie studios …
Frey: My uncle is the popular German actor Armin Müller-Stahl, who was working in studios in Berlin and Potsdam but also in Yalta in his younger years. Yalta used to be a very important spot for the film industry and I absolutely support the idea of restoring the Yalta studios. We shouldn’t forget: The film industry too is an element of the cultural landscape.