Nina Kraviz and Nastia‘s ongoing social media feud over the Russian invasion of Ukraine has cost the former artist a distribution deal and multiple festival gigs. The latter has now pulled out of her Awakenings performance out of refusal to appear on a lineup “with Russians who are tolerant to war in Ukraine.”
In the earliest days of the invasion initiated by Russian President Vladimir Putin on February 24th, Kraviz shared a video of herself writing the Russian word for “peace” on Instagram with the caption “I am praying for peace!” Nastia (real name Anastasiia Oleksandrivna Topolska), a Ukrainian, was among the most outspoken critics of the gesture. She called on Kraviz to clearly denounce the Russian government in a volley of social media comments and posts, accusing her of harboring pro-Putin views.
On May 16th, Clone Distribution in the Netherlands announced that they had discontinued their business relationship with Kraviz’ трип label on the grounds that she “ignored personal requests to talk” and clarify her position on Putin and the invasion. Shortly thereafter, The Crave Festival in Hague and Pollerwiesen Festival in Dortmund shared in statements that they had chosen to remove her from their lineups. Movement Electronic Music Festival in Detroit simply wrote that she was “unable to play” in a statement of their own.
Topolska did not specifically name Kraviz in her post about Awakenings, although Kraviz is currently slated to perform at the Dutch festival. “As Ukrainian DJ I cannot play in the same lineup with Russians who are tolerant of war in Ukraine,” she wrote. “Those who can’t call war a war. Those who don’t realize the crimes that Russia is doing in my homeland: raping, killing, stealing, torturing and destroying.”
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The post continues: “I am a Ukrainian citizen with clear position. My position is much stronger and important than my business and career, so I will go to the end until the war is over. Representing Russia in silence or ignorance means representing its ideas and image.”
Putin authorized the use of military force in an invasion of Ukraine’s Donbas region that he called a “special operation” following Russia’s 2014 invasion of the region that resulted in the annexation of Crimea. According to the Ukrainian government, over 2,500 soldiers and 4,600 civilians have been confirmed dead with tens of thousands more estimated. Russia reports having suffered over 1,300 military personnel deaths.
Defenders of Nina Kraviz argue that Russian censorship laws prevent her from safely speaking out against the invasion. According to Human Rights Watch, journalists and activists have been arbitrarily detained thousands of peaceful protestors since early March.
Topolska argues that a number of other Russian celebrities have spoken out against the war. The website Human-Nonhuman.info cites TV presenter Ivan Urgant, actor Danila Kozlovsky, and singer Valery Meladze among a long list of the war’s open critics. In an April Instagram post, Topolska wrote, “I expect her to say that she is ‘scared for her parents’ and ‘they are in danger’ which is the main excuse for those Russians who try to escape from responsibility … There is not even one case when parents of those who made a statement got arrested.”
The organizers of Awakenings have not publicly addressed to Topolska’s announcement at the time of writing.